Monday, on the way to do our weekly shopping, we ran into one of our oldest friends in Cuenca. We stopped in the street and talked about Christmas and both confessed we hadn't anything really planned as yet. That evening, that same friend phoned us up and invited us for prime rib, yorkshire pudding & plum pudding for dessert. We were thrilled!
"I'm not sure if what I got is really a prime rib" our friend told us "But they told me it was."
It'll be the first prime rib (?) we've seen since coming to Ecuador.
We made sure Fredi could come: "Of course!" was the answer and our Christmas Day plans became written in stone.
"What about turkey!" Brian wailed.
"We'll cook turkey on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day" Shelley placated him.
Some friends have been raving about this ceramics place called Artesa at Av. Isabel La Catolica 1-102 y Av. de Las Americas. We'd listened but weren't all that interested because we already had our place settings, etc. but did admire their settings and a few other pieces they'd picked up. However, things changed when Brian decided he wanted to have some nice serving bowls. We took the No. 28 bus out to just past the second river (going towards Coral). Isabel La Catolica is the second street past the river. You have to ring a bell (sticking your hand through the fence) from the dusty street and eventually someone comes out to open the gate for you. Don't be put off thinking the place is closed. There is a show room where a selection is on display but there is also a factory outlet where they sell seconds. We had to ask to be taken to the "seconds" section. In this section they have even more of a selection and we easily were able to pick out 3 medium sized serving bowls. We'd brought $60 with us figuring that would be enough and were more than pleased when the total bill came to $12.30! All the pieces having bright designs on them, are quite delightful & would do well gracing any home.
The powers that be had promised that the power outages would discontinue December 15th. They lied. OK - they didn't lie; their crystal ball was simply a bit cloudy. We have just been advised the outages will continue until the foreseeable future (presumably until it rains enough to fill up what needs to be filled). Monday our power was out 10 am - 1 pm, Tuesday 1 - 5 pm, Wednesday 7 - 10 pm, Thursday 10 am - 1 pm, Friday 8 - 10 am. We seem to do just fine adjusting our days for all of the outages except the 7 - 10 pm one. That one's just a little harder, but of course we get through it; we've re-discovered the games on our computer (which we can operate by battery) not to mention of course, our crib games.
Brian started his "famous" beef & kidney stew in the slow cooker and then we realized half the potatoes we'd purchased the other day were rotten. Off we took ourselves to the Feria Libre market to pick up some potatoes and whatever else we could see. Fredi got her free walk on the way there and on the way back, and we actually picked up the new movie 2012. It seems to be a pretty good copy; we got to see a piece of it on the TV at the place where it was sold. For $1.50 for a movie, one can't really complain too much but some of the copies are terrible: people walking in front of the screen, the sound quality is awful, everything is too dark, etc. so, we have learned always to pre-screen the movie at the store. The market is always quite crowded on Wednesdays, the biggest market day, but it was even more crowded than normal. Christmas season shopping we suppose? Incidentally, Brian's stew will keep him going for several days as Shelley's still eating salad ~ she's getting tired of salad ~ but she's still eating salad.
Downtown filling up our cards (bus cards & phone card) the power was out there too. After doing our chores, we stopped at the Nice Cream (generators running outside), had a lime tea & cappuccino and semi-shouted conversation to each other. Leaving the restaurant, we passed by the square where the main flower market is and an army band, decked out in their dress greens, were playing rather upbeat latin music. We sat down and enjoyed a few songs before continuing on our way to the 10th of August market to pick up a papaya. Not being burdened too much, we walked home (often we'll walk downtown & take the bus home) and legs a bit rubbery were happy to reach our door.
It's hard to get that pensive, thoughtful, arms wrapped around yourself, end of the year, Christmas thing going when you're looking out the window at hummingbirds, eucalyptus trees & green grass. That must be a Northern thing, unknown to those in the South. When you're in a warm place, looking out to frigid rain or snow, it's easy to contemplate your year when you've got a visual demonstration of the end of that year before your eyes. Brian's been telling Shelley about his forum visits and that several people on the forum are complaining about being bored in Ecuador/Cuenca after the initial flurry of getting settled.
"Well let them leave" Shelley tells Brian not the least bit sympathetic to the plight of these poor bored souls.
Boredom is largely in the mind, but there are practicalities to consider when moving to a different climate. A change in the weather often brings a change in your attitude. When the weather largely stays the same, you have to take care of your attitude on your own. Cuenca/Ecuador provides endless entertainment in the form of travel, cultural differences, music & art displays, a parade every second day, special meetings & outings for ExPats, shopping experiences, parks, hiking, bars & cabarets, horse back riding and the list goes on and on. We may not get that Northern pensive, contemplative thing going at the end of the year, but we're very grateful for the year we've had.