Brian spent the morning on Wednesday prepping chicken cacciatore for our company that evening. Fredi had to go to the Vet, so we accompanied her there for the last in a series of 3 anti-parasite doses. We also got her nails clipped, bought another package of vitamins (she's so thin) and a flea treatment: total cost $21. In the late afternoon Brian & Shelley put together a team effort and made appetizers using canned salmon pate, frozen shrimp, pesto, cheese and a pre-made puffed pastry. Now does that sound tasty or not? Our guests were from the United States, but one couple originated in Russia. We talked about strangers in strange lands, the wonders of Ecuador and got to know each other a little better.
Food we don't really miss but...sort of miss from time to time. TV dinners including meat pies, frozen pie crusts & tart shells, whole berry cranberry sauce, biscuit dough etc. in a tube & a myriad of chocolate bars. Don't get this list mixed up with the things we really miss: cheddar cheese, currants, MSG-less chicken bullion, Miracle Whip. We substitute and do without and make ourselves and "glory be to the heavens" actually find it on the shelves from time to time and once in awhile, absolutely wondrous people bring us products from the United States and Canada when they vacation down here. We're not complaining; just stating facts. One of our blog friends asked us if they had loafs of bread down here. They'd been vacationing at the coast and saw only buns and sweet breads in the bakeries, not loafs, and were somewhat worried. We responded that white bread was easy to find and whole wheat and multi-grain findable with a little effort. They were somewhat relieved, having a horror of living without toast for the rest of their life. We wonder what Ecuadorians miss (food wise) when they emigrate to Canada and the U.S. Not much cuy for sale there.
It turned out to be one of our chore days on Thursday. We walked downtown and got a new $10 phone card to charge up the phone for another 30 days. Then, since we were downtown, we felt obligated to sit in Parque Calderon and people watch for a bit. Later we walked over to the post office as one of kids had advised there was a "surprise" there for us. Turns out it was 2 Christmas CDs! We were thrilled! As we were leaving the Post Office we ran into a couple we've been trying to meet for several weeks now. With them getting settled and having a quick trip back to the States, they haven't been able to find the time yet. Standing on the stairs of the Post Office we chatted and made arrangements to meet in the park again on Sunday. We then walked across town, down the stairs and caught a #7 bus home. Shelley put together a batch of peanut butter squares (Alternative #2) because hopefully on Friday we're having a pizza night with another couple just arriving back permanently from the States. We say hopefully, because at this point we had expected to hear from them but haven't yet. Likely all's well, it's just that it's Ecuador and one never knows.
As it turned out, the couple just coming into Ecuador did make it on time, all 11 pieces of their luggage arriving intact, and were just so incredibly busy getting things together they didn't get around to calling us until the evening. We set back pizza night 2 hours in order to give them more time to get settled and spent the day taking Fredi for a walk and giving her a bath (she too was having company that evening) [PS: Fredi loves her new blow dryer], reading, fielding telephone calls from visitors and friends and of course, Brian had a nap. At 5 o'clock Brian rolled out some more puffed pastry, cut it into squares and this time we added crab pate, shrimp, emmental cheese & pesto (Brian's cooking classes are really paying off) before twisting it into a cute little package and baking it for 30 minutes. Then he headed off to the Pizza Shop just down the street to pick up 3 meat lovers & 1 vegetarian (no onions) pizzas. Fredi had a lovely visit with her new friend and we did too!
Worth Repeating: All those thinking of immigrating to Ecuador, here's our advice: come down for at least a two or three month visit. Check out the various areas and if towards the end of your visit you're still excited, make an appointment with a local lawyer to find out the current immigration laws, i.e. investor, pensioner, working, volunteering etc. visas. Go back and think some more. You can't come down here unless you're willing to compromise, e.g. the sidewalks make you trip, your favourites foods are not necessarily in the grocery store, people speak Spanish (!), tomorrow means maybe. If you're from Florida, Cuenca may seem cold; if you're from Canada, the coast may be too hot. What about your stuff? What about Aunt Emma's plates and your kid's bronzed booties. Do you ship it down or divest yourself of years of memories. Shipping is always difficult (it happens but it always costs extra & takes longer than they say). Can you live without the miniature ceramic clown display you've taken 40 years to build up? Can you live if you ship it down and the display gets broken? There are thousands of reasons to come and not to come. List them if necessary, to find out which side you're really on. Ecuador welcomes your contribution if you decide to come and stay and if not, well that's OK too. Life's an adventure. Live it!