Off we went downtown on Tuesday to take care of a chore for a friend. Half way there is the Modern Art Museum, and as it's been some time since we popped in, we did.
Shelley had brought the pennies with her and a black handed youngster along with his business partner at Parque Calderon were very pleased to get them. We both noted they left the park soon after we handed them the pennies. We conjectured they felt they did well enough that day so they were off to spend their new found fortune. We're not sure the young boys who do the shoe polishing perform it out of total abject poverty. Their hands may be black from polish but their own clothes aren't tattered (albeit shoe polish stained in places) & the soles of their shoes are OK. Generally they seem clean & fairly tidy. It may have a lot to do with industry; like a paper route in Canada or the U.S. Do kids still do paper routes or is that too dangerous these days? In any case, we also stopped off at the market and Brian picked up the roast pig he missed on Sunday due to the rain. In the end, we were unable to perform the chore for our friend so it's hard to say if the day was successful or not.
We've been awaiting a credit card up for renewal & Shelley's income tax to be processed. When both have been taken care of, we're planning a holiday. The whole thing is driving Shelley mad. It's one thing to deal with these matters in your home country; you don't even think about it, they just eventually happen. It's another matter entirely when you're thousands of miles away, waiting not so patiently for things to go the way they should. There's that nagging worry that something may go awry and you'll have to deal with the problem from another continent. There's nothing to be done but wait, but Shelley (in particular) finds this difficult. Brian reassures her, points out the worst that could happen (which is not that bad, all things considered) and pats her on the hand from time to time. Shelley's not thrilled with the hand patting but appreciates the rest.
Feria Libre was on our schedule for Wednesday as Shelley wanted two things: more small cactus plants and a cheap purse. We walked on the outside of the market (which we don't normally do) to get to the plant place and noted several gentlemen borrachos lying on the street. We couldn't figure out exactly why this area would encourage that, nevertheless it was a fact. We got 3 cactus for $4 and a purse that'll last about 6 months (which is all Shelley really wants) for $12. We caught a cab home as 3 cactus in a bag is somewhat awkward and spent the rest of the afternoon napping, reading, computering & watching TV. It's all somewhat decadent.
Later on, Brian went with friends to the Concierto de la Orquesta Sinfonica de Cuenca in the Teatro Sucre. As the concert didn't start until 8 pm, Shelley wasn't interested in going, but urged Brian to go and enjoy himself. Fredi was somewhat anxious when Brian started to get ready to go out and Shelley didn't. Fredi's worst fears came to pass when Brian eventually left without her. As it turned out, the concert was cancelled and Brian arrived home an hour before he was expected. They'd gone to a restaurant and had milkshakes and set right the problems of the world.
So why move to Ecuador? One supposes there are as many reasons as there are people who do it. Adventure, politics, weather, economics, health, life style, family and the list goes on, as well as a combination of all, several or a couple of these reasons. For all the reasons there are to do it, there are just as many not to. No one can justify for another, one way or the other. Our suggestion is to try it out for 2 to 6 months. You can get a 3 month visitor entrance just on your passport and a 6 month holiday visa with a little bit of work. When we came down initially we found that our only real cost was the plane fare. Staying in hostels & eating out was easily covered by our usual day-to-day expenses back in Canada. If, while you're down here, you decide you'd like to make the move, then we suggest you contact a lawyer in Ecuador for preliminary information on getting a permanent visa. Then go back and think on it a bit. Many come for only a couple of years and then go back "home". Whatever your decision, you will have had a fabulous holiday!
Friends had invited us over for brunch Thursday morning, so it was nice starting our day outside of our regular routine. There were eggs & bacon & fabulous multi-grain toast & exotic jams & juice & great coffee. There was some discussion about the indigenous people blockading the roads in protest over water rights. As a consequence, on our way home Shelley picked up two large packages of toilet paper. If the roads are blockaded you can still get lots of fresh food, but the packaged stuff that comes in from Guayaquil & Quito gets scarce. As it happens, there was still plenty of toilet paper in the store and probably nothing to worry about. Still, Shelley feels better safe than sorry. The last time there were blockades, some of the shelves in the grocery store were rather depleted for a couple of weeks but it really wasn't that much of a hassle.
Our credit card went through renewal and then we had to go down to DirectTV to advise them of the new expiry date. We chose to pay our DirectTV bill by credit card because we signed up with them before we got our cedulas and thus didn't have a chequing account. We took a cab to their offices near the Stadium and Shelley sat out in the sun with Fredi while Brian went inside to give them the new information. This apparently took no time at all, but Brian decided as long as he was in the office he would look into possibly expanding our package. This seemed to take forever (at least in Fredi time). In the end we didn't upgrade our package but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. The day was glorious and very hot. Coming back from our chore we chose to walk a great deal of the way home and we mused on spring just starting in Canada and the hot weather here. We were over-dressed as it's been cooler and rainy for awhile but today certainly wasn't.