We'd heard that because of the El Nino, Cuenca would likely have drought conditions this season. The river outside our window is the lowest we've ever seen it. In many places the rocks rise so high it would now be quite easy to venture over to the small island. Another couple told us they'd heard that there might be rotating power outages because of the lack of water. These haven't happened yet and it may just be a rumour but it certainly is dry right now. We ran into a Cuencano who had spent some time in New York and had a smattering of English and we all practiced our second language on each other. Talking about the weather in Cuenca, New York & Vancouver was a large part of our conversation. His perception was that it was cold in Cuenca at night. To us it's cool but never even gets close to our definition of cold even during the "rainy" season of July & August. In any case, it's warm & dry & absolutely wonderful these days ~ except for the possible threat of drought of course.
In an effort to get a new pair of pants for Brian, we hopped on the #7 bus headed West and went to the Mall del Rio. Shelley & Fredi settled in on the grassy patch near the river & Shelley read her book while Fredi spent most of her time trying to persuade Shelley to play. Brian wandered the Mall fruitlessly asking if they had any pants mas grande for a hombre gordo. To accompaniment of many giggles he finally did chance upon a Lee store that had exactly one pair of pants that fit him. He of course bought them. They're a jean style but a buff colour and of a light weight cotton so pretty perfect for Ecuador. Meanwhile, after much persuading Fredi managed to get Shelley to play. After about 10 minutes of frantic batting back and forth Shelley grabbed Fredi and held her in her tightly in her arms in an effort to calm Fredi down. Fredi panted and looked out at the traffic in doggy joy and the people driving by all smiled at that little dog's delight.
That afternoon we had one of Cuenca's spectacular thunder & lightning storms. Unfortunately, although it rained it didn't rain that much. The river is hardly up at all. The next morning Shelley woke up with diarrhea, nausea, clamminess & lethargy. Having either food poisoning or the flu, we spent the next 24 hours watching TV, reading in bed and sleeping. (Brian, of course, took Fredi out for her walks.)
Being the nice guy that he is, Brian did Shelley's sweeping while she was laid out on the couch. Bending over the broom (in that freak way that can sometimes happen) gave Brian a back ache which kept him wincing for several days.
Early that same afternoon we had a good tropical rain and the river rose just a little bit.
Day 2 of Shelley's flu had her feeling much better but she still wasn't up to doing much. We took Fredi for a free walk to her second most favourite place in the whole world, came home & then were both quite content to read & watch TV & spend the rest of the day being quiet.
Saturday dawned wet. Not wet enough to make the river rise in any perceptible way, but wet enough to make us wonder if we'd venture out. We dawdled in our morning routine and by the time we were ready to leave the house the wet had left the ground and it had warmed up. Once out however, the black clouds in the sky made us wonder if we'd be taking a taxi home. Shelley was feeling much better and Brian's back was OK as long as he didn't have to bend to pick up the dog or rise from a chair.
We were on 2 missions: to pick up our monthly coffee allotment and to find replacement blades for Brian's Philishave electric shaver.
"I don't know Brian?" Shelley tried to get him attuned to the possibility of failure regarding the blades. "You know it's Ecuador."
As it turned out, the first shop we ventured into had shavers but not replacement blades. The fellow in the store pointed across the street and told us to go there. That store had various replacement blades but we (of course) didn't know the model number of Brian's shaver. We got a card from the store (so we'd find it again) and advised we'd return.
We picked up 5 pounds of coffee ($12.50) and wandered down to the People's Market and bought a huge bag of baby potatoes for $1.00 and then with our various burdens, tromped down the stairs to Doce De Abril and caught the #7 bus home. No sense straining ourselves too much on our first real day out after being in seclusion.
There were 2 clowns putting on a performance in the main square downtown on Sunday. If our Spanish was better we probably would have enjoyed it more. There was quite a crowd watching and ripples of laughter were pushed from the crowd from time to time. We met a couple of friends in the park and took some pictures and sat in the shade and reviewed our week with each other. Later we parted company and picked up a cantaloupe & Brian's roast pig lunch at the market. It's been a pretty quiet week for us and that was just fine. Fredi got her walks and you know when you're appreciating your quiet time that means you really needed it.
The river's still low. When we set out on our day today we passed a Mom & Dad & 3 small children crossing the stones to the island. It's a small thing but nevertheless it brings a thrill as evidenced by the smiles on the kids faces. We'll have to wait and see what the weather brings but we're hoping the river will rise soon.