Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Fine Art of Compromise

There's a pizza place about 2 blocks away from where we live. It's sitting in the middle of a regular neighbourhood and we wonder how it gets anything but neighbourhood business in it's location. In any case, we've never tried it. Pizza in Ecuador seems to have more cheese and less sauce, thus it has a tendency to be more bland. We've tried several places to get pizza and some are better than others but we've yet to find a place that really puts enough tomato sauce on the pie. In any case, for our morning walk, we made a point of passing by our neighbourhood pizza place to check out the hours. It opened at 11 am and closed at 11 pm on Saturdays. We were concerned it might not open at all because of Easter and it was 11:15 and still shut up tight. There was a young fellow sitting on the street outside the restaurant and we conjectured he might be waiting for his boss to show up. This was true. The young man was very helpful, spoke English quite well and just left us feeling good. You know how you encounter people like that from time to time? We'll send Brian by at dinner time to pick up one meat lovers and one vegetarian no onions and see how it is.

The pizza was great (!) but no tomato sauce whatsoever. Brian spent his time waiting chatting with the nice young man while the boss made the pizza; Brian practicing his Spanish and the young man practicing his English. We've since been told that no tomato sauce on a pizza is the norm in Italy as well. We've also been told we can special request tomato sauce, so next time that's what we'll do and we should be in pizza heaven thereafter. Those not as close by as us, please be advised they deliver via taxi.

We met a friend downtown on Sunday and had ice cream & a milkshake & Shelley had lime tea. You'd think being Easter Sunday there would have been something going on at the park, but there wasn't. The Cathedral was extra full though! Afterward we trooped off to the 10th of August market and bought Brian's roast pig. The day was glorious, we had a nice gab fest with our friend, managed to get a bit of exercise from our walk and Brian's nap was only delayed by an hour or so. Monday (guess what?) we went shopping and Shelley set herself up for a marathon cook: Cheesecake, Potato Salad & Lasagna. By the time she was finished she was really looking forward to sitting down.

By the way...we found someone to give our small television to. She's an Ecuadorian woman who recently was robbed. She lived in a ground floor apartment building with her two dogs and the thieves took her television and her computer. She's a friend of a friend who told us the story and we immediately said: "We've got a TV she can have!"

This was the little 15 inch flat screen television we used on the boat and was the only item of any value we brought from Canada with us. Our friend needed to be reassured a couple of times that indeed we were willing to give this TV away. We explained we only hoped it'd find a good home. She looked at us strangely.

All day Tuesday it drizzled outside, so Brian took Fredi for a short walk around the neighbourhood. They inspected the property across the street where a huge eucalyptus tree had fallen over the other day, destroying a brick wall, blocking the street, and causing damage to a house across the way. They also encountered a llama all decorated for some reason (Fredi protected Brian).

We spent most of the rest of the day just puttering around the apartment. We seem to be getting better at this. Tuesday evening we had company for dinner and served them lomo fino, potato salad, fried mushrooms & asparagus and cheesecake for dessert. In case you're wondering, the lasagna Shelley made on Monday was for freezing in single serving packs for quick meals on odd days. We got into the habit of doing this while living on the boat. The oil stove was somewhat cranky and we'd light it up and then have a cooking marathon, preparing several meals for freezing in a TV dinner-like way. When we were working and on opposite shifts this solved a lot of meal planning problems for us. Now that we're retired, we continue the habit because of the convenience and variety of it all. Often, Shelley will have a salad for dinner whereas Brian wants a full meal. There's a one-time-only glut of dishes to be washed but most nights we only have a plate & silverware to clean up. In any case, it works for us!

The company we had were people fairly new to Ecuador who had been reading the blog for about 2 years. "We feel like we know you" they told us. We gave them friendly advice, chatted about our various experiences, listened to their stories as they listened to ours & generally had a very pleasant evening.

Because we got the new TV, our stereo could no longer sit beside the television and we had to shoved it behind the TV screen. This was very inconvenient. Brian decided we needed to buy shelving to put the stereo on. Shelley was afraid more furniture would start to clutter up the place. Nevertheless, we ended up going to the furniture store where we bought most of our pieces and looked around critically for something we thought might work. There was no consensus. We finally decided we needed to measure our vase & stereo & speakers and then come back and have something built for us. Standing back in the front room, hand on her cheek, visualizing the clutter, Shelley was not pleased. Then Brian had a brain storm. "What if we do this & this" he explained to her.

The short of it is, the stereo is now raised up about 10 inches and one can get at the various knobs & buttons easily. The speaker for the television is now raised as well, so we can hear it better. All in all; we saved a couple of hundred dollars and had a dedicated session in the fine art of compromise.

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