Monday, April 12, 2010

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Our friend and her friend came over on Wednesday afternoon to pick up the television. The Ecuadorian woman was very grateful and we were somewhat abashed in that we were just happy our TV was going to continue to have a productive life. Living on the boat certainly taught us the real value of RRR (reduce, reuse, recycle). Being in such a small space and being independent (from time to time) of any resources (while out to sea) gets you into the triply R mode of life with concrete benefits staring you in the face. Finding a good home for the television, rather than it sitting unused in our storage locker, was a great big plus for us!

We've heard conflicting theories about when the rainy season is in Ecuador. These conflicts may be because the season in one part of the country is not the same in another part (i.e. coast vs mountains vs jungle). In any case, it's certainly been rainy the last couple of weeks. Often we'll get friends out of country commenting because they've looked at a weather report for Cuenca and it's predicted rain. We try to tell them it rained for half an hour and that was it, but they'd prefer to feel sorry for us and our bad weather. These days, however, it has been raining a great part of the day and it's been raining pretty hard. The river is up. When it rains we get thunder & lightning. Our drought weather is far far behind us. Yet...even with the rain...there's still no need for a heating system. The worst it gets is Shelley covers herself with a thin blanket while we're watching TV. This is vastly different from huddling around the heater on the boat, clothed in sweaters & t-shirts & undershirts & 3 layers of socks & slippers. We loved the boat. We wouldn't have lived on it for so long if we didn't, however....

Keeping an eye on foreboding skies we ventured out just for a local walk in the neighbourhood Thursday morning, trusting we'd arrive back home before the rain started. It's getting hard to remember the open mouthed amazement we had for such a long time when we first came here, even on regular walks just around the neighbourhood. Now if we see a goat or a llama or an indigenous woman in costume it's everyday, normal, our reality. We contend with pedestrians having no rights & hug people right & left without even thinking about it these days. Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?

It'd been several weeks since we'd had a dinner out so we contacted some friends and went out for the evening to Mangiere at Postada Angels. The pasta was divine! Brian also had cheesecake for dessert and it too was great. We talked about what we'd each been up to, the books we'd recently read, new scientific theories & Stephen Hawking's latest missive. Wow! Mangiere's is an intimate little restaurant well worth the visit.

We walked both downtown and back again on Thursday to run a couple of chores. While we were downtown we also bought 2 DVD's ($3), 2 large pieces of fried chicken for Brian's lunch ($2), and a 100 pieces of card stock ($2.85). Brian said we paid too much for the chicken but it was tasty. When we walk both ways downtown and back again it's just a little bit too much. We end up dragging our feet just a bit and Fredi has her tongue hanging out. We made it however, and there's a righteous feeling that goes along with the feat.

They were having craft fairs in two different locations we could walk to, so we took off down Doce de Abril on Saturday morning and popped into both of them to see what there was to see. At one of the fairs, we ran into 3 friends and ended up talking quite a bit with one man about ways & means of advertising the small towns surrounding Cuenca, their events & crafts, etc. This man is doing volunteer work with the administrator of a small group charged with promoting tourism in these outlying villages. It was an interesting conversation and Brian with his radio/advertising background had a lot to offer. In the evening we went to a soiree, taking a snack tray & box of red wine with us. There were lots of people, lots of food, good conversation & we had a very good time.

Cuenca was founded on April 12th, 1557. As a consequence there have been several days here where arts & crafts fairs abound, food concessions are set up everywhere and music venues are happening in celebration of the great day. On Sunday there was a 15 k marathon run and hundreds if not thousands attended and actually ran in the marathon. We stopped in at the 10th of August market where they had extra booths roasting cuy & pig. We caught a glimpse of the marathon right down town and noticed there was a big stage being set up just down the street from where we live. (Will we have trouble sleeping tonight?) The night before, there were even more fireworks than normal. Cuenca certainly had a gorgeous day for it all, bright & warm with only benign fluffy white clouds in the sky. (Addendum: We could hear the thump thump of the base when we went to bed, but it was not so loud it kept us awake.)

It was another glorious day on Monday! Huge popcorn shaped clouds, hot out, gentle breeze in the shade and a statutory holiday. Traffic was light, banks were closed and we were happy the grocery store was open (albeit very crowded). We had a good shop (under $80 for the week) and while Brian walked Fredi, Shelley boiled chicken for salads & squeezed lemons for lemon tea.

We've finished our round of Tuesday dinners. We've caught up on just about all the people we "owed" a dinner to and hosted a few new people to boot. There's still a couple of folks we need to contact but because of this and that, it'll happen some time in the future. We have blog people coming in from Panama to visit Cuenca for 10 days and a dinner date out this week, so it's not like we're bereft of things to do. We guess we kind of had fun hosting so many Tuesday dinners in a row. Now we have to get back to normal life...whatever that is.

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