Sunday, October 4, 2009

Road Work & Road Blocks

It's been a bit chilly the last couple of days. Still no major rain, but overcast and cozy blanket weather in the evening when we're watching TV. Today dawned warm and bright however, and even poor Fredi was panting big time by the end of our daily walk. Shelley is still into "stick close to home" mode and Brian even offered to take Fredi for her walk and let Shelley stay at home and read. Shelley demurred however, insisting she should get out just because it's the right thing to do. We took Fredi to her second favourite place in the whole world and let her free walk. We then walked up the hill and around our neighbourhood spending almost two hours wandering around more or less aimlessly.

"What did we do in Vancouver on Sundays when it wasn't raining?" Shelley asked Brian.

"Well, we'd go for walks and sometimes hop on the bus and go for an adventure and quite often the kids would visit. It's just that every day is Sunday for us now." Brian told her.

Downtown, this time on a quest for slippers for Shelley, we encountered about a dozen men working on the roads. Apparently, they're lifting up the cobble stones and setting them on the side of the road, and then re-laying the ground underneath (putting in cement & sand & stones & then pressuring it down with small road work equipment). After that they're putting the cobble stones back again and cementing it together. It's a huge job. They cordon off one block and finish the whole thing and then go on to the next block. By the way, although we looked in about 5 stores, we did not find any slippers satisfactory to Shelley. We even checked out the place at Borrero 8-35 entre (between) Bolivar y Sucre for "Toasty Toes" like Brian got, but they didn't have any small enough to fit Shelley. That's a paradox for you: usually we're looking for something big enough for Brian. On the way home we stopped at the 10th of August market and picked up a large papaya, 8 tomatoes, 10 apples & an avocado for $4. Shelley made apple sauce when we got back to the apartment.

The next day on our walk with Fredi we stopped in at the Fybeca (local drug store) on Crespo where Shelley remembered seeing slippers in the past. They had exactly one pair of slippers that fit & they were exactly what she wanted!

Sunday had us downtown as usual looking for the entertainment in the gazebo that doesn't appear to be coming back. We've read that they now have got a new tourist entertainment schedule in that on Thursdays they'll have live bands at the airport greeting people coming off the airplanes and later on in the evenings on Thursdays they'll have musical and dance events in various parts of town. Fridays apparently there'll be walking and bus tours and on Sundays museum tours. This, of course, is all very well for the genuine tourists coming into town for a week or two but we miss the Sunday afternoon entertainment. In any case, we sat in the park for 45 minutes and people watched. At one point a Dad & his 3 year old daughter came over to inspect Fredi and were quite pleased to get Brian's enthusiastic welcome. Shelley wandered off to visit a wash room and when she came back found that the little girl had brought over a friend; the Dad benignly watching from a bench several feet away. They left after petting Fredi and telling us their names. A few minutes later the 2 girls returned with a little boy in tow. After they left Shelley suggested it was time to go.

"I'm not going until 8 of them come all at once" Brian teased.

Passing one of the many churches downtown, we inspected the food stalls they had set up outside the church obviously in a fund raising effort. Brian's now on the lookout for empanadas. (Which incidentally we were told didn't freeze well; but they did for us.) In any case, we got roped into buying a ticket to win a microwave (2nd prize is a pig!) Brian got so caught up talking to the young people he actually started to walk away without picking up Fredi who he had given to a young man to hold while he filled out the ticket. Shelley shook her finger at Brian and startled, he turned back to get Fredi. The young people all thought this was hilarious!

Just got a telephone call from a friend of ours suggesting we might want to go shopping today (Sunday) as they're running out of things in the SuperMaxi. Apparently the indigenous people have been protesting by blocking the roads through to Quito & Guayaquil. We had known this was happening but didn't think much about it, figuring it wouldn't affect us as we weren't planning any trips. However, we never stopped to consider the supply chain. Trepidatiously, Shelley woke from Brian from his regular nap and discussed the situation with him. We decided to shop on our regular day and go to the indigenous markets for our food and produce if that's what we had to do. Fortunately, we've done a fair bit of shopping at the people's markets and aren't put off by the overwhelming colour of it all.

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