Nothing special planned, we wandered off to Feria Libre just because it was Wednesday and thus the biggest market day. We always carry Fredi in her back pack when we go to Feria Libre and there's always several people that want to pet her and talk about the pack. We found a hair barrette for Shelley that has been advertised on TV (and thus must be wonderful!) and she bit the bullet and paid the $2.50 they asked for it. We checked out the cactuses but didn't see anything we didn't already have. We traipsed around looking at the clothes & the fruit & the pets & the cookware & the blankets & the shoes until we got tired and then we walked home again.
Brian had another cooking class on Thursday; this time on New Orleans cooking. We got up in the morning and did our usual routine: first thing walk Fredi, breakfast, showers, morning news, daily chore, cuddle, etc. and then set off to the butchers where we hoped there'd be a prime rib to pick up. Shelley waited outside the store with Fredi while Brian went inside to see what his efforts had produced. Fredi put her paws up on the window ledge and watched her Papa the whole time he was in the store. He left with no package in his hands. Apparently the butcher had cut the ribs with maybe an inch of meat on them. Brian let him know kindly this was not what he was after. Upon arriving home, undaunted, this time he went to the web and printed off a butcher's chart, plus some actual pictures of what the roast should look like. (Isn't it amazing what you can get on the web!?) We'll try again another day.
While Brian was away at his cooking class, Fredi did her usual sidling up to Shelley, lying beside her, moving when she moved, generally being obsequious until Brian walked through the door. Then Shelley became dust in the wind. (Sigh!) As usual Brian was all pumped up with what he had learned in cooking class. He particularly liked the chicken & sausage gumbo and the shrimp remolade.
"We all sat around and BS'd and watched her cook" Brian told Shelley. "It's really neat taking the class with friends. We've taken enough of them together now that it's become a bit of ritual."
Brian, who is not a big bread pudding fan, really enjoyed the bread pudding with a special subtly lemon-flavoured sauce. Shelley is looking forward to trying that recipe for herself. Shelley has set up a special binder with Brian's cooking class recipes. It's kind of fun to watch it grow! Friends from the cooking class had remarked that ExPat potluck dinners have really improved in quality as a result of various people bringing dishes that they've learned in class. Little by little our life in Ecuador gradually improves in quality as our friendships deepen and the catalogue of shared experiences expands.
Wearing our rain coats & keeping our fingers crossed, we caught a bus downtown and went to the post office to mail off a card to Shelley's Aunt in Canada with a 3 page letter enclosed ($4.75). We then walked across town, picked up 3 DVDs ($4) and caught another bus home just in time to miss the downpour we were expecting. Friday evening we went to Gringo night at Zoe's and met a couple of new people in town. As usual, Zoe's was hopping with people (many of whom we knew) and quite noisy. We caught up with a few friends and then escaped to the Mediterraneo Restaurant for pasta dishes and a quiet intimate dinner with our new friends. It was a nice evening and very neat getting to know new people. They were quite excited, having just rented an apartment and were looking for appliances and a bed before they had to go back to the States and divest themselves of most of their belongings there.
Because we were going out to dinner at a friend's place Saturday evening, we spent the day mostly puttering and watched a movie on TV. It rained off and on and we gave Fredi a bath after taking her outside for her walk because she was a soaked little puppy and we couldn't present her to our hosts that way. It was a lovely evening, we were served a shrimp appetizer and tortilla soup as the main dish with brownies & ice cream for dessert. Everything was perfect, including the company.
Sunday we went down to Parque Calderon, met a few friends and chatted for awhile, then went on our way and got tomatoes and roast pig. One of our U.S. American friends gave us 3 Canadian flag-hanging-twirly-things that they had picked up for pennies at a liquidation sale. They presented them to us as Canada Day is July 1st and they thought we might want to decorate our balcony with them. It was very thoughtful.
Monday, we shopped and cooked. If you've read past blogs then you know at one point we asked for $500 cash from a machine and got nothing although they deducted the amount from our Canadian account. It took several phone calls and emails but eventually the $500 was refunded (in about 6 weeks). Well...on Monday we asked for $500 and it gave us a receipt for zero, plus no cash. We then tried again and the machine told us we were over limit for the day. Back at home, upon checking with our account on-line, we saw $500 had been deducted and then refunded immediately. Because of a couple of these hiccups, every time we use our bank card at a machine we hold our breath for a bit.
It was a quiet couple of days that were needed and enjoyed because we were ready for a break from the bustle. We've just recently spent some time with folks newly retired and new to Cuenca. The energy required just listening to their adventures is considerable. Shelley thinks that they're in that "recently retired stage" where they still feel they have to do 4,365 things a day. We've progressed to the point where going to the Post Office is our big chore for the day. When we hear about going to see an archeological site, eating breakfast, lunch & dinner out, shopping for appliances and taking in a museum or two, we think perhaps 5 or 6 days might be needed. They accomplished this in just a few hours. Dimly, in the back of our almost completely full brains, is a dull memory of our days being like that as well. You know something ? We don't miss it at all.