Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year 2010!

Took our usual trip downtown on Sunday, met up with a couple of couples and had tea etc., saw a passing parade, picked up some fruit and caught the bus home. Monday was shopping/chore day and Tuesday morning we spent prepping finger food for several guests we'd invited over Tuesday afternoon. We made humus & set out Shelley's home made salsa. We cut Shelley's home made cheese log and put together a special savory vegetable appetizer dish. We dished out crackers & olives & pickles & pita bread and generally set out a small feast. Why is it that all entertaining seems to centre around food? From time to time Monday & Tuesday a smaller version of the Children's parade would pass us by. We could usually tell because a band would be playing or music would be blaring from a loud speaker system on one of the floats.

There were 4 couples that came over and we just barely had seating for 10 people. The food mostly turned out; some of it very good, some just OK and we talked the usual talk about our feelings here in Ecuador, learning to speak Spanish & overcoming small hurdles.

"It went well?" Brian asked Shelley after everyone had left.

"Sure Brian" Shelley agreed. "It went well..."

We did a bit of research but never did find out what you call a soiree when it's in the middle of the afternoon, but by the time everyone left it was getting dark so we'll settle on soiree. About the middle of the event, it started to rain & thunder & lightning and as the storm was very close & it actually rattled the building a couple of times. We're still getting regular power outages and so all agreed the rain was a good thing. Our party broke up as a matter of fact because one of the couple's power was due to go out in their building and they didn't want to walk up the several stories to their suite. There's no generator in their building at all and so even their elevator doesn't work during the outages. The next day we found out that the outages would be suspended again for awhile; at least over the New Year's weekend. If the rains keep up, a while may turn into something more than a few days. We can only wait and see.

Wednesday was our bill day and we'd arranged to meet some people to have lunch with them and see their new short term rental apartment afterward. They'd spent quite some time renovating it and were almost finished. We all met at the new Kookaburra Cafe where some of us had a North American type breakfast and others of us had an absolutely wonderful grilled sandwich and still others a tasty looking spaghetti dish. The owners are Australians (who would have thought from the name) and are very personable & friendly. It was a nice experience and we settled in to the point where the proprietor was thinking of charging rent. Afterwards we walked to our friend's rental apartment and were absolutely charmed. It's a bright & airy two bedroom apartment (2 twins in one room & a queen in the other) in a heritage building, with rustic but tasteful furnishings, plus WiFi internet, TV and small & large appliances in the kitchen (not to mention washer & dryer) and, to top it off, it has fascinating views of the river and colonial Cuenca. We'd heard so much about the apartment as they'd (1) gone through the process of renovating it (2) complying with Cuenca heritage building regulations & (3) furnishing it, we really appreciated the opportunity to finally see the place.

By Wednesday evening the river was so high, it was flowing over the tip of the island just outside our window. The large branch the indigenous women were using as a drying line was long gone. The water was creeping up the bank, consuming all the lower portions. Only the highest stumps were still visible at the edges of the island and only the hugest boulders stood up to the onslaught. We could hear the river even with the television on. We both stood by our window and looked out for at least 20 minutes and listened to the thunder and marveled at the variety we were experiencing in our environment. By 9:30 in the evening it had long stopped raining and although the river was still rushing, it had gone down a bit and wasn't threatening any more.

There's been a flurry of e-mails and we're trying to get together with several people for a New Year's Eve dinner. The restaurant we collectively first picked closes at 3:30 pm...so that's no good. We're waiting to hear the results of the next survey. We'll undoubtedly find a suitable place and gather and talk and marvel at our arrival in Ecuador and the simple fact we're sharing this New Year's Eve meal together. Brian & Shelley are probably socializing more now (that we're retired and in Ecuador) than we have for many years. It's somewhat of a sociological experiment in that this is true (we are told) for many of our friends. Some of us find work projects, some of us keep busy with travelling & visitors, some of us delve into the internet & hobbies and the list goes on...wethinks however, the secret remains...be kind; whether you're with others or alone by yourself...be kind. Be kind & forgiving of foibles, be kind and be generous with yourself & on behalf of others...be kind. To all the people who may read this blog...be kind. Happy New Year!

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