After grocery shopping on Monday, Sammy & Shelley went downtown to finish the last of Sammy's searches for souvenirs for friends & family back home. The entire trip was a resounding success in that she found everything to finish up her lists plus a penguin wall hanging for herself. We ate at Sankt Florian; the lunch special ($3) was potato soup, fresh squeezed pineapple juice, a pork chop with rice & salad and a home made banana pudding for dessert. At the end of all our shopping however, Shelley's feet were very sore & we almost caught a cab home but our bus came along just when we were talking about it. Meanwhile, back at home Fredi & Brian napped. Fredi is looking particularly bedraggled & is acting quite listless. Normally after she's had a play date with Coco she often will be very tired the next day. After spending 3 days with Coco it looks like it'll take several days for poor Fredi to find her feet again.
That evening, just as we were about to start cooking supper, it started to rain. Biblical rain, tropical rain, a plague of locusts & frogs rain. Sammy stood at the window in our front room, holding Fredi who was trembling because of the thunder & lightning, and watched the rain. This is someone from Vancouver. We're used to rain us Vancouverites, but this was more. Our television satellite signal would go off and then come on and our computer internet ceased to function. The rain smacked across our patio window and Shelley feared for her plants outside. The river rose up and over the boulder we consider our measuring device and then rose up and up over the stump at the end of the island, and then the rain turned to hail.
"Have we ever seen hail here before?" Brian asked.
"Nope" was Shelley's short reply.
We are so proud of ourselves! Our internet was not back on by the next morning and we phoned a couple of other friends who use ETAPA as well to ensure it wasn't a system wide failure. It wasn't; our friends' internet was working fine. We unplugged the modem and restarted our system several times but that didn't work either. Finally, Brian tried phoning. Previously, we've always gone down to the office because we weren't confident enough about our Spanish to deal with the problem over the phone. This time we did (!) the fellow down at ETAPA rebooted something and we have our internet once again! Several hours later, a friend phoned asking about our internet and we were able to give him advice on how to phone & who to contact down at ETAPA. We both felt we'd crossed some sort of threshold in that we were able to deal with this over the phone. Little things are sometimes the most joyful.
Sammy & Shelley hopped on the number 7 bus and took it to what people call the Bank Museum (Tomebamba Sala Arqueologica). Cost of admission is $3 for an adult. There are 3 different floors: the main floor showing mostly religious paintings but some scenery paintings & lots of paintings of officials from the past. The basement level has collections of coins, paper money & books and the upper floor has exhibitions of all the different cultures and areas in Ecuador. There are numerous life size mannequins dressed in the various costumes throughout the country and they are shown in life size scenes as well. Outside the Museum is a park which has a display of an Inca-ruin village, a bird zoo (aviary), several dioramas of areas of Ecuador and an Inca garden exhibition. We've been told that every tree in Ecuador is represented in this park. We also saw llamas, an eagle and shrunken heads. We left the house at 10 in the morning and were back at 12:45 so it's not a half an hour thing but we really enjoyed it and got a fair bit of exercise as well.
That evening we went out for dinner. Our host served us fresh trout, asparagus & tiny potatoes with a variation of cheese cake for dessert. We were a little worried we'd get caught in a deluge like what happened the day before, but although it did rain, it turned out to be regular rain and not a message from heaven.
Once again "bill day" was upon us and we took Sammy on our rounds and then explored a few souvenir shops & then ate lunch at Raymipampa down on the main square. The place was packed. As Shelley's feet were unable to endure any more tramping around, we went home where Brian & Fredi enjoyed their nap and Shelley & Sammy spent a quiet afternoon & evening chatting with each other, reading their books & just being quiet together.
Sammy figures it's been 13 years since we've spent this much time together. Shelley still puts her arm out across Sammy when they cross a busy street, Sammy still leaves half full glasses lying all over everywhere, we can all still laugh together and Fredi fell in love with Sammy (much to Shelley's chagrin). Brian & Sammy are off to Quito tomorrow and Shelley (as she types this) gets a small tear in her eye. Shelley's Mom died when she was just a teenager; she never had any experience dealing with a parent as an adult. There's a great deal of satisfaction in it being "good" ...you know... "good". There were a couple of rough spots but they were easily surmountable & just part of the tide of life. Good...you know...good!
Once again, all the pictures on this blog were taken by Sammy. If you want to see an album of her pictures during her stay in Ecuador, see here.
We spent the morning lazing around chatting with each other. We eventually all managed to get dressed and take Fredi for a short walk. Brian & Sammy headed off for the airport at 1:30 in the afternoon. They're going to overnight in Quito and Sammy's flight leaves Quito to Houston at 7:25 the next morning. She's got a 9 hour lay-over in Houston, so she's hoping she'll be able to catch the shuttle (she read about on line) to the aquarium there. We had a wonderful visit! Next time hopefully both Sammy & her husband will be able to make the trip down. Now...between Christmas & operations & Sammy's visit & a trip to the coast, we've had a very busy last few months. We're looking forward to just being quiet for awhile and enjoying our Ecuador.