We ended up going downtown 2 days in a row because there was a small package waiting for us at the Post Office. Shelley hadn't brought any identification with her and they wouldn't give us the package without it. We'd originally ventured out to pick up our bi-monthly coffee supply & some more batteries for our camp light. The power outages have now been reduced to 2 hours and on Thursday our particular area doesn't even have one. Our friends who had invited us for dinner on Thursday had to beg off because that was their evening for an outage. Although their electricity continues, their generator doesn't power their water pump so they don't have water during the outages. Having no water and hosting a dinner party is a tad difficult. We arranged another day and told them we completely understood. When we had guests last Tuesday, we sat in the semi-dark candle light for two hours; our water however, worked. It rained yesterday for about an hour and as we're typing this, it's raining now. If this keeps up, things will get back to normal pretty soon.
Our bank in Canada had changed their bank card system to use chips (as well as the strip) and as a consequence all bank cards were being re-issued. This was the small package we picked up at the post office; our new bank cards forwarded by Shelley's daughter. Fortunately, they gave us 60 days to activate our cards before the old ones were de-commissioned. Shelley's daughter has power of attorney over our account and thus she also has a card. Unfortunately, the card for Shelley's daughter doesn't come in her name but in Shelley's name. As fate will have it, they originally mailed 2 cards and then about a week later mailed another card. Of course the card we received in the mail was the card intended for Shelley's daughter, not Shelley's card. (Following this so far?) There's a bit of a gut wrenching anxiety that comes every time you have to do banking thousands of miles away from your home branch. We're not without other options; things can be taken care of; we'll not be left high and dry, moneyless in Ecuador, however, one does feel better when all is settled and working well.
Friday Brian set out to see if he could set-up his Doctors appointment and Shelley ventured to the bank with her daughter's card to see if she could make it work. The bank machines were out of order and Brian found out our Doctor was in Quito until the end of the week. Thus, both our days were unsuccessful. Brian set up an appointment for next Tuesday & Shelley came home to make sure her attempt to use the card didn't result in any money being pulled from our account. (This happened to us once and took 6 weeks to straighten out.) All was well.
The next day, despite our resolve never to use our bank cards when the bank wasn't open, we attempted to test the card one more time. This time there was success (sort of). Her daughter's card's daily limit is lower than Shelley's and thus with the Canadian-U.S. exchange, she was unable to withdraw $500. The $400 she was able to withdraw will do for now until her daughter comes to Ecuador in February and they can exchange cards. We've had mild anxiety about the change over to these new cards for the last 6 weeks. It's nice to finally be able to put the whole issue to bed (sort of).
The other day there were 20 or so boys across the river on the road that passes by the school with the demented school master. They were all playing drums & trumpets. There seems to be a pretty big "drum thing" here in Ecuador. It's not unusual to pass a group of 6 to 10 young people, standing in a circle, playing synchronistic drums and generally having a good time. Some times they wear costumes, sometimes top hats, some times they're in street clothes, but always they have big smiles on their faces and their shoulders are bouncing to the rhythm of their drums. We have to admit the trumpets, when they joined in were lacking a bit, but the drums were wonderful and we enjoyed the display.
Saturday evening we went to the newly furnished apartment of some friends who are relatively new to Ecuador. They have a wonderful 2 bedroom apartment with 2 sitting areas, a large dining room & a huge kitchen. All rooms have views to die for and their furnishings & art work were stunning. We had fun talking about our experiences riding the city buses in Cuenca, discovering wonderful shops & setting up housekeeping in a new country. Fredi, as usual, came along with us and was heartily fussed over and petted even after she ate half the cheese off a snack plate on a rather low coffee table.
Downtown on Sunday there was a Punch & Judy type puppet show. It's getting easier to follow this type of thing, particularly when it's puppets screaming & flirting with each other. At one point there was a wolf & a young girl puppet in a red cloak and Shelley wondered if it was a Latin Little Red Riding Hood. We couldn't quite figure that out. We bought a pot full of strawberries and Brian's usual roast pig lunch at the market and headed home where Shelley cut & cooked strawberries to make a fruit compote.