Thursday, we took Fredi for a walk in the neighbourhood and then Brian & Shelley split up. Brian was off to the airport to pick up tickets for the in-country flights relative to our daughter's visit in February, 2010. Brian will fly to Quito & pick her up and take her back to Quito on her return. While he was in the area, he was going to drop into the large hardware stores there and see if he could pick up a rather special lightbulb. Since Fredi is welcome at neither the airport nor the hardware stores, Shelley & Fredi went home and puttered around the apartment. Well...Shelley puttered and Fredi stared at the front door willing Brian to be home.
Earlier in the morning we'd received a telephone call inviting us over for dinner that evening and were rather thrilled to say "yes" because our power was due to be out. It was a lovely evening. Our hostess fed us home made Thai food with rice and mango sorbet for dessert. The conversation was easy flowing & we all seemed to really enjoy ourselves. As Brian had been restricted from alcohol for a couple of weeks due to taking antibiotics, he really enjoyed himself and had several glasses of wine. He got quite garrulous & Shelley had to drag him away from his fun in the end.
The next day we both headed off to the airport to exchange one of the sets of tickets Brian had purchased the day before. He'd got them for the wrong day! Shelley was somewhat worried about the situation but there was absolutely no trouble changing the date. We then caught the bus to where we can free walk Fredi beside the river and then dropped into the place where Brian gets his empanadas. He picked up a dozen, warm & wonderful smelling on the trip home. We're feeling quite light hearted these days after a couple of weeks of concern.
While we send a cheque to the Grandkids & a few cards out, we don't get presents for each other any more. What do we want or need? We did however, think it was somewhat important, to really feel the season, to go shopping at Coral. Coral of course, does not accept Fredi, so we had to take turns sitting at the front of the store, on the benches very courteously provided. This in itself is a good Christmas experience as you watch the young families coming out of the store, children trailing behind, with multiple and awkward packages. There is inevitably a small child that will make friends with Fredi, and at least while Shelley was doing guard duty, the occasional older gentlemen. In any case, Shelley was the first into the store seeking some liqueur glasses. She wandered around the store, eyed longingly a small food processor but ultimately decided it was something she'd use only once a year, and finally asked for "vasos?". During the course of her wandering she also managed to pick up a container of coco butter cream which, although you'd think in a hot country would be sold everywhere, is hard to find. Six shooter glasses and a bottle of cream cost $5. Coming out of the store, Fredi did her "OMG! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN! I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOUR FOREVER! I THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER COME BACK" dance. We then traded places and Brian went into the store on a fruitless search for our special lightbulb. We bought this camp lamp that has a four prong socket on the light bulb which we can't find a replacement for. Coral did not supply either. The store of course, was decked in artificial trees & decorations & was selling Christmas plates & wrapping paper & everything you can think of for Christmas. We were there about an hour altogether and that was just about right for our Christmas shopping experience.
Sunday the main square downtown was fair bustling with activity. In the gazebo they had a fellow signing karaoke style to canned music and between his performances they had beauty queens wearing sashes giving speeches. We noted somewhat wryly that the 2 beauty queens we saw were both blonde. In a country where 99.9% of the population has dark hair, this seemed to be a bit of an oddity. On the other side of the park they had a street play going on in which live actors interacted with puppets. On the street just beyond the park, there was a stage set up. We don't know if this was for an act to come or something put on the night before that hadn't been disassembled yet. From now until the end of January there will be all sorts of entertainment forthcoming. The giant children's parade is put on the day before Christmas and small parades continue throughout January. Before hitting downtown we stopped at a display of Peruvian handcrafts that will probably be set up for the season as well. At the Tourist Centre we noted that a series of guitar concerts were being put on in different venues throughout the City and at the edge of the park is a giant artificial Christmas Tree decorated with oversized ornaments.
We've been spending a fair amount of time semi-angsting about what we should do about Christmas Day. We're definitely getting a turkey and will spend the day cooking but are somewhat unsure whether we should invite a couple of people over or not. We don't have the facilities to invite all our friends and feel a bit funny about singling any two or four out. Last year we went to Vilcabamba with Brian's friend Jan and had Christmas Dinner at a huge long table with a bunch of semi-stranger ExPats. It was fun but not something for us to make a tradition out of. We ultimately decided not to decide and will wait and see if something spontaneous happens. If not, we'll cook all day, stuff ourselves with turkey & pecan pie and make up enough TV dinners to last us a couple of weeks.