We'd been invited out Tuesday evening for dinner at a friend's place. Fredi got her feet washed, Brian ironed a clean shirt, Shelley put on perfume and off we went. We had humus & toast as a pre-nibbly, an avocado & shrimp appetizer, coq au vin was the main course & an absolutely to die for chocolate dessert with fresh fruit topped off the meal. Needless to say, we ate far too much, enjoyed the company immensely and had a very pleasant evening talking about our adventures in Ecuador & our plans for the future.
The next day was dentist day (oh boy!) Brian's on a 3 month recall as it's very important he keeps the few teeth he has left and Shelley goes every 6 months to get her teeth cleaned. As it was, we both had an appointment. The dentist gave us a thumbs up regarding our teeth and we were both quite happy to have the event behind us for several months again.
Scouting out one of the walks Shelley wants to take her daughter on when she arrives, we set out on Thursday from home and walked down Doce de Abril to the Millennium Mall. Taking this walk we passed the University of Cuenca with it's marvelous Vega mural, the wonderful artisans' mall just beyond the University & the Medical Museum. All along the walk is magnificent old architecture (el Barranco) perched on the hill on the town side of the river. Every so often there's a different kind of bridge crossing over the river and almost all of them are quite photogenic. At the Millennium Mall, the Cafe & Compañía provides what could arguably be considered one of the best cappuccinos in Cuenca. We sat and enjoyed our coffee, watched people walking by and chatted about this and that.
For a special treat on Brian's birthday, we walked downtown to the Kookaburra Cafe and combined several things off their breakfast menu to make a wonderful brunch. The place was hopping ~ all Gringos ~ and even though we've only been there once before, the proprietor remembered Brian's name. That morning he'd talked to his friend John in Holland on Skype and received a number of birthday greetings from friends and the kids. Shelley had made him a birthday card (which is all we do for each other these days) and placed it on top of the computer so that he'd see it first thing in the morning before she got up. The day was warm & sunny and Shelley teased him, pretending to think he was actually 2 years younger than his now 69.
"You just don't want me to be almost 70 because then that'd make you old" Brian told her.
Shelley laughed, neither agreeing nor disagreeing but continued to tease him throughout the day. "You'll always be 67 to me!"
The river was up quite a bit and the roadway was wet when we woke up Saturday morning. It had rained a little in Cuenca and obviously quite a bit in the hills. As we had been invited to a dinner party that evening, we only took Fredi for a short walk in the wetness outside and then gave her little feet a bit of a wash when we got home. That evening we packed a towel in Shelley's bag to wipe Fredi's feet with and set off for our dinner engagement. It continued to rain, sometimes just drizzling, sometimes biblical, all evening. We had a wonderful dinner with absolutely delightful people. For appetizers there was bruschetta that was so tasty it was tough not to eat too many before our meal. Dinner presented us with marinated chicken, asparagus & a kind of scalloped potato, plus a stupendous salad with strawberries topping it & a home made dressing. A scrumptious carrot cake rounded out the meal and for the 2nd time this week we ate far too much. Good company, good food, a warm interior and rain outside; a cozy, comfortable, charming evening.
Downtown in the main square on Sunday once again there were dancers. They announced next Sunday would be the last occasion for what has been an indigenous dance festival lasting several weeks. Their costumes are always dramatic and quite often they'll hoot and holler while they move around. Sometimes there seems to be someone "calling" the movements like they do for square dancing. In any case, we quite enjoy it and every Sunday there's something new for us to see. While we were downtown this time we ran into 3 different childrens' parades; the consistent motif this week seemed to be horses.
These days, Shelley & Fredi sit on a bench at the 10th of August market while Brian goes upstairs to get his roast pig. Every time she's there one or two Fredi admirers come by and a stilted conversation about Fredi & Cuenca always ensues. Brian's been going to different roast pig ladies lately and has hit on one that consistently gives him a bit more pig than the others and knows he likes a fair bit of crackling for Fredi. Fredi knows when we've got crackling in the house; ever vigilant in the kitchen until it's all gone. Can dogs get high cholesterol?