Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Friends & Broken Dreams

There was a notice that there would be indigenous dancing in the main square downtown from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm and then again in the evening from 8 pm until 11. In the course of doing a couple of chores, we stopped by the square around noon but it was obvious they were still setting up. We ventured our way home and decided we'd come by in the evening after stopping in at ExPat night at Zoe's. Best laid plans of mice & men time: we did manage to make it to ExPat night and enjoyed seeing all the people but didn't manage to make it to the square to see the dancing or fireworks.

Downtown on Saturday on our fruitless quest to get Brian a replacement head for his electric Philishave razor, we stopped in at La Victoria on Mariscal Lamar. Although La Victoria seems to have everything that plugs in, they did not have replacement heads. On our way there, we passed by a square where restaurants had set up various booths and were selling empanadas, cakes, tortillas, etc. Brian spied a booth selling chilean empanadas and bought himself 6 for lunches at home. We'll freeze some. We then wandered over to the main square where we were treated to a parade of school girls. Hundreds of them, some in their school uniforms, some in skimpy cheerleader type costumes playing xylophones or drums. There was a reviewing stand set up at the side of the road and dozens of nuns were seated, presumably watching their students with great pride. At the end of the parade, was a horse and carriage carrying 2 princesses.

A birthday, a chance to rally around, an opportunity to meet new people; we shared a cab ride up into the hills of Cuenca and partook of finger food & fried chicken & birthday cake and had a wonderful time watching a 4 year old lord it over Fredi. The people we'd gone to visit had suffered a real tragedy. They'd been the victims of a home invasion. Tied up, pepper sprayed continuously, scared, guns put to their heads, possessions ripped from their home, the party was a last goodbye to a dream broken. They hadn't lost faith with Ecuador (home invasions happen in the United States & Canada too) but their dream home vision was shattered and new plans were required. We sang happy birthday & talked of esoteric things and in the end tried only to provide comfort.

Still in our spring/or is it fall (?) malaise, we decided to get Brian a haircut and that would be our "exciting" outing. We started out with the intention of walking downtown and noticed a hair salon only a block away from where we live. Despite the sign on the door saying no pets, Brian asked and obtained permission for Fredi to wait while he had his hair cut. There were 2 delightful young women who giggled and chatted with Brian, making him feel gosh darn special, and cut his hair for the grand fee of $3. Shelley perused a gossip magazine written entirely in Spanish and found to her surprise it was much like perusing a gossip magazine written only in English. Fredi anxiously watched Brian, 20 feet away, but it may as well have been miles, until he was finished and licked him and was SO HAPPY to be in his arms again. We continued on a mild walk after the haircut for several blocks and got back to the apartment somewhat early for reading and quiet time.

That evening we had one of our "blog people" as a guest for dinner. He's been reading the blog almost from the very beginning. Originally from England, he's spent 30 years in Texas and we had a wonderful evening listening to each other's stories. At one point, Shelley asked him, sitting across from her on the couch, if there was anything he was allergic to. He then mentioned that he was a vegetarian. (We'd planned beef steak for the main course and pecan pie for dessert.) Going on, he described a condition whereby he couldn't eat nuts, tomato skins, etc. After much flustering and "I'm so sorry's" we fed him a feast of asparagus, mushrooms & zucchini with several croissant buns for dessert. Later on in the evening he admitted to never being able to abide pumpkin pie. Shelley hooted as she'd originally been planning squash pie for dessert before she settled on pecan pie. In the end, all was well and we had a delightful evening.

The next day was bill day and we set upon our rounds of paying electricity ($6.94), cold water ($4.35) and internet ($39.20). This entailed 2 different stops. We also paid rent ($300). In about a week, we'll pay maintenance for our apartment ($70) and hot water ($6.00) and gas ($6.00). We'd started out early, deciding Spanish lessons could be waived on bill day, and arrived home to find water all over the kitchen floor. We'd left a load of clothes in the dryer and thought perhaps somehow that was the source of the water leak but soon discovered that the drain pipe under the sink was loose. Shelley squeegeed out the water into a bucket and then Brian had a look at the situation. Remember: we've lived on a boat for 14 years or so, it's not unusual for us to come home and discover a disaster in the making. We were calm. Brian sized the whole situation up and advised Shelley "We don't need a plumber!" He fixed the piping and all was well. Fredi thought the whole situation was quite exciting and bounced around the kitchen until the floor was mopped dry!

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