A friend had just returned from a trip, so we decided to meet for lunch Wednesday at the Inca Lounge & Bistro and catch up with each other. We arrived at noon as per the article in Cuenca Highlife and found the place locked up. Waiting for our friend to arrive, eventually someone came through and advised the opening time was actually 1 o'clock. (Please note: All conversations were had with individuals where English was their first language.) We told them about the article giving the wrong time. They didn't seem terribly concerned. (Incidentally we checked when we got home and the article definitely said they were open at noon on Wednesdays). After 20 minutes or so, they let us sit at a table outside and provided us with tea & coffee while we waited. They were apparently out of milk so Brian drank his coffee black, not something he usually does. Our friend arrived and we chatted and caught up with each other and finally a young man came down with 3 menus. We decided at that time to move indoors as it was a bit cool outside. The young man took the menus and led us upstairs. Sitting down, we were asked to put Fredi on the floor for hygienic reasons. Shelley instantly complied but mentioned to the young man that this was the first time ever, eating out in Cuenca, when anyone had said squat about the dog. The young man then told us quite a long involved story about how much he likes dogs and did for dogs. Shelley said she understood but wasn't it ironic that this was the first time anyone had ever said anything about Fredi at a restaurant other than to pet her and tell us how adorable she was. The guy asked, "What do you want me to say?" and Shelley answered "Nothing I guess...turn around and walk away." Remember: Fredi is on the ground. The fellow then announced "New policy. No dogs allowed in my restaurant!" and turned his back on us.
Somewhat stunned, we got up and offered to pay for our tea & coffee and were advised there was no charge. We then left the restaurant (remember we had waited an hour with dog in lap before being officially seated) wandered around a bit wondering where we were going to eat and decided since our day was somewhat spoiled, we'd just drop into Monday Blue up the street and have a burger there. We've been told the burgers at the Inca Lounge are the best in Cuenca. We'll never be able to report on that as we'll never go back there with or without Fredi. The burger at Monday Blue was a little ragged but what do you want for $2.50.
Honestly, we've always been somewhat surprised that all the restaurants in Cuenca have allowed Fredi. We've half expected to be asked to leave in several different places. Told at the door, we would have simply said we understood and walked away; end of incident. We however, didn't expect after waiting for an hour (dog on lap) to be bushwhacked, even though we'd complied with their request to put Fredi on the floor. We could go into an even longer commentary about some people being hyper sensitive, unable to accept even the smallest challenge to their authority but...we won't. For us, the entire experience was pretty awkward. Something's odd at the Inca Lounge and we're not quite sure what it is. We do know that we have absolutely no issue with a "dogs" or "no dogs" policy. We simply felt that the situation was not handled well.
Hungry, for some reason, for a decent burger, we locked poor Fredi in the bedroom on Thursday and caught the #7 bus to Mall del Rio. Brian picked up some socks and Shelley some underwear & a pair of slacks. Then we stopped at Burger King and had a good old familiar Whopper Combo. It's quite expensive by Ecuadorian standards but a couple of times a year we make a point of doing it just for the nostalgia of it all.
It's quite chilly out these days. One has to wear a sweater or a light jacket or at the very least a long sleeved shirt, and in the evening we cover ourselves with a light blanket while we're reading or watching TV. It usually rains a bit some time during the day and we haven't had to water the outside plants for several weeks now. When it's warm out, we have to water the plants twice a week.
There was yet another "blog couple" in town and we'd been trying to set up a lunch meeting with them all week. They were extremely busy checking out real estate in town and in the outlying neighbourhoods and we finally decided on an early supper Friday evening at the Raymipampa Restaurant. Thus, Brian took Fredi for a walk to our neighbourhood park and Shelley spent most of the day puttering around the apartment. As it turned out the couple was from the same area of Canada that we were. They'd also arranged to meet another woman (originally from Chicago) at the restaurant. We all chatted and talked about our experiences and got to know each other over a 3 hour period so it obviously went pretty well. It's so nice for us to meet folks who we'd only e-mailed with in the past. We meet up with blog correspondents quite frequently. We're happy to share our experiences in Ecuador and it's wonderful to hear about people's lives and adventures.
Off we went on a road trip on Saturday to Paute with a friend. We stopped in at 4 or 5 nurseries and looked at plants. Shelley bought a small fir-type tree which they potted for her right there and our friend bought 4 huge flowering plants. We then dropped into the Corvel restaurant for lunch. As it was a bit chilly we ate inside but they have a lovely outdoor patio when the weather's good. We had a bit of a scare when we thought they were asking us to sit outside with Fredi but it turned out they only wanted to know if Fredi wanted a bowl of water. Brian had steak with shrimp, flambéed right at the table with appropriate flare by the chef, our friend had giant prawns and Shelley tried out the vegetarian rice ($22.40 including drinks). The entire day was such a treat. We really enjoyed ourselves!