Friday, August 28, 2009

Never Could We Have Imagined

There's an island in the river across the street from our apartment building and Brian's been eyeing the passage to the island for the past year. Mondays (our regular shopping day), Brian takes Fredi alone for her walk while Shelley packs the groceries away and cooks up a storm. The river was down quite a bit and Brian eyed it carefully and then decided "now" was the time to attempt the crossing. We've seen any number of people on the island over the past year: boy/girl scouts (or the Ecuadorian equivalent) making camp fires and chopping wood; indigenous people cutting the tall grass for their cuy (guinea pigs); young lovers thinking they're hiding but quite open from our balcony window.

Brian picked up Fredi and deftly crossed from rock to rock making it to the island without getting wet feet. Fredi was NOT impressed. She did NOT like being carried over the water. She thought it was NOT a good idea. Nevertheless, poor Fredi didn't have much of a choice.

Later Brian & Fredi came home and talked about their adventures. Fredi was full of burrs from bouncing in the tall grass on the island and Brian spent a good 20 minutes picking them out.

"Serves you right" Shelley told them both, smiling at their adventure.

Two couples came over for one of our Tuesday Dinners. Brian made trout with home made hollandaise sauce. Until this point, Brian had always made his hollandaise sauce from the McCormick's Magic (add only 1 egg & water) package. He dutifully printed out a 2 page recipe from the web and it must be said, the sauce was absolutely perfect 5 minutes before he was able to serve it. Alas, such is life (and cooking). Our guests were magnanimous and purported not to notice the curdled sauce on their fish & vegetables. For those with good memories, we talked about Vladimir the Impaler once again (this has to be note worthy). We also talked about learning Spanish, connecting with the Ecuadorians, how cute Fredi is, how happy we all are to have made the decision to live in Ecuador and good wine. Shelley disappeared for a few moments and when Brian came to check on her she was farming (Farmville).

"The pumpkins have to be harvested at 8:00 p.m. or they'll die!" she told him, moving her fancy new tractor about the farm. (Once again ~ is this any way for a grown woman to act?)

When Brian tried to reassure our guests that Shelley was "just fine", she shouted at him "Don't tell them!" and he explained she had "a computer application that was time sensitive and needed to be taken care of".

Not one of the guests questioned this explanation.

We all hugged (so un-Canadian and so Spanish/Ecuadorian) at the end of the evening and when Brian asked, "Did it go well?" Shelley answered in the affirmative.

Wednesday took us once again to the Feria Libra market where we bought a bunch of chicken livers and came home and made Fredi her "special" cookies. Fredi followed Shelley "heel to toe" while she mixed & baked until finally Brian took her away for their nap.

"Do you think she'll come?" Brian asked Shelley.

"What choice does she have?"

But she settled down to her nap just fine, probably smelling liver cookies baking and dreaming absolutely wonderful doggie dreams.

Thursday & Friday we spent wandering around downtown & near the airport trying to make arrangements for our fall holiday to the Galapagos. We've decided on a package but have to co-ordinate our pre-paid flight through AeroGal/SuperMaxi plus our flights from Cuenca to Guayaquil. We thought we almost had this done on Wednesday and then we realized we'd not brought our passports and cedulas; these documents are required to book a flight in Ecuador. (Details....details) In any case, not wanting to leave Fredi for very long, we're only going for 5 nights; 2 nights on Santa Cruz Island and then a boat trip to Isabela Island where we'll spend 2 nights there. For half a day on Isabela we'll go to the Tintoreras to see some of the wildlife (including penguins ! we're so excited) and for the next full day we'll visit the Volcano. After that, it'll be back to Santa Cruz for a day; mostly because we couldn't co-ordinate the trip between the 2 islands and catching our flight back to Guayaquil. It sounds like fun though, doesn't it? The total trip is going to cost us about $1,500 and will include the odd meal here and there. Brian being over 65 means that the flights are half price (not including taxes) & having our cedulas means that the National Park fees are reduced. (Ecuador wants residents to be able to afford to go there) Not bad for a Galapagos trip! We still have some details to put together but the whole thing is pretty much in the bag at this point. "Wow!" we say to ourselves. "In our past lives, never could we have imagined living in Ecuador, not to mention the prospect of going to the Galapagos and walking where Darwin trod."

"We live in Ecuador but we're not good travellers" Shelley told Brian.

After spending 2 hours with AeroGal on Friday, both of us were vibrating, plus the wonderful young woman helping us was vibrating too.

Brian said, "It's not that we're not good travellers! It's that we have such a low stress level in our lives (being retired) that conducting negotiations as complicated as this (primarily in Spanish) is exhausting for us.

Shelley merely smiled.

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