Thursday, October 29, 2009

For the Birds

Although they have Halloween stuff in the stores, Halloween is not as popular here as in North America. The stuff in the stores is a start, and in a few years the popularity of it all may come to South American, but for now it's a few pathetic spider web designs in windows, a couple of plastic pumpkins with faces, a witch here and there and the odd Spider Man costume. Artificial Christmas trees, however, are on display along with Christmas ornaments & a multitude of toys & dolls & plastic trucks & Christmas pillows & aprons and Creche scenes & what have you's.

There's a new award system happening at SuperMaxi (the local mega grocery store). We only have to collect 230 stickers and then we MAY win $100,000 or an SUV. So far we have 10 stickers. The last time we did an award system thing with SuperMaxi we got a half price trip to the Galapagos. Somehow (?!) we don't think we're going to win $100,000. Still...we'll continue to collect the stickers.

Having looked in the Mall del Sol in Guayaquil & all around Cuenca, and not having any success in finding shirts big enough for Brian, we finally set out downtown Cuenca searching for a particular store where Brian thought he might be able to get one custom made. Almost ready to give up, trudging up and down the streets, we finally stumbled upon it. They however, did not make custom shirts as we thought. Extremely helpful though, one of their staff had us follow her and she took us about 4 blocks out of her way and introduced us to a tailor. This tailor in turn introduced us to another tailor just down the block. Brian had himself measured and we picked out fabric for 2 shirts; total cost is going to be $44! We advised the fellow if we liked the shirts we'd get several more made for Brian and would tell all of our friends. He thought this was wonderful! We're picking them up 4 days from now and will provide more information, if in fact the shirts turn out nicely.

Shelley has herself fully stocked up on clothes for Cuenca's winter (North American summer). During the "winter" she usually wears a long sleeve shirt and capri pants. From time to time a rain coat or a sweater is needed but certainly not anything like everyday. She's also fully stocked up on clothes to wear when they holiday at the coast; shorts, tank tops, sleeveless dresses & sandals. However, now that Cuenca's summer is upon us, she realized she needed some more short sleeved shirts. Although many of the women in Cuenca wear tank tops in "summer" Shelley prefers a more modest dress. In any case, off we went to Feria Libre to see if they could supply anything. It was Wednesday and that is the big day at Feria Libre. We meandered amongst the stalls & eventually found a lovely short sleeved silk blouse together with a sleeveless under-blouse for $12. They can both be worn separately as well. This, of course, won't stock her up, but it's a start.

Note: Shelley can find things off the shelf to wear in Ecuador (unlike Brian; whose big & tall) but she does have to purchase size "large". In North America, she'd be a medium. All women reading this blog will understand how difficult purchasing "large" is when you KNOW you're a medium. (We won't talk about the weight she's gained since she quit smoking.) A lot of clothes in Ecuador come from China and thus the sizes are geared differently. There are certainly "large" women here in Ecuador but we have no idea where they buy their clothes. If you're a size 4 or 8 in North America, you'll find lots of clothes here, although they do tend to have a sameness about them. There's the pregnancy (or just had a baby look) with a low cut top but voluminous under the chest & there's the scrunched waist (with low cut top) look that's super if you're 21 and rapier thin. Shelley looks mostly for the tops sold by the indigenous to the tourists that are light cotton & loose fitting. These are very similar to the crushed cotton shirts you might buy in India.

Having chores to do downtown Friday, Saturday & Sunday, on Thursday we decided to go for a walk in the neighbourhood and perhaps stop at a garden centre and see if they had any new cactuses or succulents for our collection. We never made it. Just past the University on Av. 12 de Abril is a small, quite upscale artisan mall, one of the stores there being an outlet for the Vega families' art (Artes de la Tierra Galeria; www.artesdelatierra.com). We stopped in, just to have a look, and were lucky enough to meet Ernest Jaramillo in the store. He's an architect who designs woodwork; beautiful cabinets and stunning wall plaques and mirrors. Shelley started talking to him when he commented in English that Fredi was "cute". Interestingly, Fredi continuously low growled the whole time Shelley was talking to him until Brian came over. In the end, we bought a set of ceramic table coasters; all depicting different birds of Ecuador. Having now spent way beyond our budget (a cactus or succulent would have been $1 or $1.50) we caught a bus home, prizes in hand.

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