The hummingbirds are back! They come and do a hootchy-koochy dance at our living room window and then dart over to the feeder for a bit of lunch or dinner. We've decided, after doing research on the internet, they hadn't actually gone to Florida or even Canada, but had just hunkered down for a few weeks when it was cooler here in Cuenca. The weather has improved considerably the last few days! All the hummingbirds are back; the small ones (they're so cute!), the medium sized ones (they're so busy) and the larger ones (they're so entitled). All feeding, squabbling and generally entertaining us (as they should). We're quite pleased!
OK ~ we're still on our non-social week and off we go downtown to ostensibly to look for a new blouse for Shelley but mostly for just something to do. We look in several places and Shelley actually finds something she tells Brian she may pick up later.
(Brian doesn't understand but has learned over the years not to question too deeply.)
We found ourselves only a few blocks away from the CB Carolina Bookstore so we decided it was probably time we put in an appearance. When we arrived, as per usual, there were several people in the store gabbing up a storm & one of them even actually bought a book! Carol & Fredi got reacquainted, Brian & Lee chatted about various Ecuador forums & Shelley (head bent) checked out the newest "learning Spanish" books on the shelf.
In any case, we were invited to lunch by new friends we had met last week and had a lovely meal at the El Jordan restaurant on Calle Larga. They too have a lunch special for $2.50 which includes juice, soup, rice, meat & a small dessert. They also have a wonderful view & white linen table cloths; it's all very nice!
"For a non-social week, we're being pretty social" Shelley commented to Brian.
Brian merely smiled.
We have several trips & a visit coming up within the next few months. We got a half price air fare deal from SuperMaxi (by collecting coupons) and are attempting to make arrangements to go visit the Galapagos this fall. Our friend from Holland is going to Peru around Christmas & wants us to visit him there just after Christmas or in the new year. Shelley's oldest daughter has just announced she's coming for a visit in February. As well, a friend from Vancouver is coming sometime in October (maybe). It's nice to have these things to look forward to but we're in our retirement, we don't want to be overwhelmed by obligations either! Shelley's very reluctant to leave Fredi although we will have to, to visit the Galapagos. We have a couple of friends who have offered to take Fredi on for a few days and the vet where we purchased her also offers boarding. Shelley knows Fredi can manage without us; it's us managing without Fredi that has her worried (sort of). More than anything she's looking forward to her daughter's visit. Parents should encourage their children to fly (in more ways than one) and this trip for her daughter will enable that (in more ways than one)!
We can't find frozen potatoes (home fries, hash browns) so these days we make our own. Down to the people's market where we buy a bucket of baby potatoes for $1.00 from a street vendor. At home again, we boil the potatoes and then fry them in 2 woks & a frying pan. Mixed with mild chili pepper flakes, pepper, garlic & olive oil the end result is wonderful! Then we freeze them in 2 people portions for a breakfast meal or to have with trout. The bucket of potatoes fried up usually makes about 12 portions so the dollar is well spent and the time (heck we're retired!) not begrudged.
On our usual Sunday stroll downtown we dropped into the Tourist Bureau just off the main square and asked about the entertainment in the gazebo. The young woman in there, who spoke wonderful English, advised the new mayor was putting together his annual budget and as soon as this was done, there'd be entertainment in the gazebo again on Sundays. "Maybe as soon as next week" she told us. "Tourism is important to Cuenca!" She also advised she didn't know anything about the office closing down or the monthly cultural agendas being discontinued. Perhaps the rumour we heard about budget cuts re the Tourist Office and the Sunday entertainment were just that ~ rumours.
While at the Tourist Bureau we ran into a fellow from Holland and stood outside and talked with him for 20 minutes or so. We of course told him about Brian's friend Jan and he told us about cheap flights from Spain to Bogota, Columbia. "Amsterdam is the centre of the world" he advised us but he was very enamoured with Cuenca and Ecuador in general. "The people are so sweet" he said. He felt a lot more people were going to end up retiring in South America and when we tried to discourage this theory he laughed, understanding where we were coming from.