Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ExPat Night & Banana Bread

ExPat night has been moving around lately and we sent off an email trying to determine where it was to be held but didn't get any answer. We therefore headed off to Zoe's with two other couples and had a mini ExPat night all to ourselves. One of the waitresses at Zoe's was born in Canada and was then brought back to her parents' mother country when she was 4 months old. Later on, she spent 7 years in her birth country. We got a real chance to talk with her about her experiences as we were the only guests there. It was a nice evening and one of the bonuses was that we could hear everyone talking.

While we were at Zoe's another friend walked in just for a couple of minutes. He handed out cards advertising his website: www.EcuadorCentral.com "Your Total Help Center for Ecuador". Perry's a real go-getter and the site offers Online Classifieds & Auctions, Ecuador YouTube & MySpace, immigration to Ecuador help, Real Estate help, Buying or Renting Heavy Equipment help, Shipping & Container information and the list just goes on and on. Check it out!

The next day we finally got an email back telling us where ExPat night had been held. Apparently there'd only been about 25 people there as opposed to the usual 60, so we weren't the only ones confused as to where it was to be.

On one of our usual walks downtown, we sat on one of the forward benches in the central park and just people watched for about half an hour. We've decided we have virtually become natives as this entertainment is common and not one we were used to until now. Either that, or it's a retirement thing. (Incidentally, we've now passed our one year anniversary living in Ecuador.) In any case, we would have sat and watched longer but the rain drops started to fall and we hip hopped to the bus and made it home before it deluged.

Several weeks ago we started going to the peoples' market downtown on Sundays to pick up our fresh fruit for the week. It gave us an outing and the cost of the fruit was half that charged at SuperMaxi. As has a tendency to happen with Brian & Shelley, it's now firmly gotten out of control. This week we picked up a farm chicken & vegetables to go with a chicken dinner, plus all our fruit for a week (bananas, papaya, peaches), plus a bunch of tomatoes & avocados. We have two cloth carry bags that we stuffed half the fruit in, plus Fredi in her pack, plus we picked up a roast pig meal with potatoes to bring home for Brian's lunch. Burdened down like mules, we trudged off across the river to pick up the No. 7 bus home. Ecuadorians are used to people burdened down but Fredi in the pack amongst the other carry bags always brings smiles wherever we go.

Oh...we also picked up a new sweater for Shelley ($12) as she'd washed her other one and shrank it. She has several alpaca sweaters, 2 of which she's washed previously and they haven't shrunk, but we're blaming the particular large weave of the offending sweater, figuring it tightened up and made it grow smaller. Note: We never put any of the sweaters in the dryer; always line drying them.

Because poor Fredi has to sit waiting for us, with her legs crossed, not knowing if we'll ever come home when we go to do our big grocery shop, we've changed the routine so Shelley puts away the groceries upon returning home while Brian takes Fredi for a walk right away. We used to put the groceries away together but poor Fredi found the waiting interminable. This new routine seems to make everyone happier. Shelley doesn't have to listen to Brian bemoan the fact that there's not enough room in the refrigerator to put everything away & she gets a head start on the giant cook she usually does on grocery day; Brian gets some time alone with Fredi, in the fresh air, exercising and Fredi gets to uncross her legs and be with the alpha male. It's seems to be a win/win situation for everyone. Once again, even though we're approaching our dotage, we've demonstrated we can change and adjust!

As one can appreciate, bananas are plentiful and cheap in Ecuador. They are one of Ecuador's chief exports. In any case, Shelley's been trying banana bread recipes from the web lately; none of which compared to her Mom's old recipe. She finally broke down and asked her daughter to send her the recipe from the old Purity Flour Cookbook Shelley's Mom had given to Shelley and Shelley had passed on to her oldest daughter just before coming to Ecuador. Oldest daughter dutifully scanned the recipe and e-mailed it to Shelley, complete with stains on page from past mixings. See http://planetirony.blogspot.com/2008/01/banana-nut-bread.html if you want a great banana nut loaf recipe.

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