Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is that Dog Years?

The phone rang bright and early  Saturday morning.  It was some friends begging off the outing for the housewarming due to gastric distress and asking us to pay their share of the chartered bus trip.  Brian was happy to oblige.  He cooked a hearty breakfast, as he figured the food part of the party would probably be delayed later than his usual lunch and he shared it with Shelley.  She doesn't usually eat eggs (the cholesterol you know), but his scrambled eggs & bacon on a bun looked so good she couldn't resist.  We caught a bus together and Shelley & Fredi got out a couple of blocks before Brian with the intention of wandering home on foot.  (Incidentally:  Shelley found some marshmallows ($3.59) in a stationery store on the way home.  Yet another great Ecuadorian find!)  Brian continued on to the designated waiting point where a chartered bus had been arranged by a fearless leader type to take him and a couple of dozen other people out to Yungilla.  We'd been duly warned that the ride out to Yungilla was a "heart in your throat" adventure with whirling roads and drivers.  However, Brian said that the driver drove at "gringo speeds" so the trip was very pleasant.  Our friends' home turned out to be truly spectacular, with several acres of lawn & fruit trees & flowers & a breathtaking view down the valley.  There was a lot of food, a lot of socializing and Brian arrived home tired (because he had missed his nap) but said all in all it was a wonderfully entertaining adventure.

Our Sunday walk down to the park has been going on now for well over 2 years.  Sometimes we meet a couple or two in the park by design, sometimes there are hoards of people (20 or more, standing room only) and the park seems overwhelmed by gringos.  Sometimes it's just us, just Brian & Shelley, sitting on our bench, watching the people, letting children and old ones and in-betweens pet Fredi; the only gringos in the park but well accepted as we're regulars.  This Sunday it was like that until we were just about to go, and then an acquaintance stopped by our bench and we chattered for awhile.  The day was glorious and there was a pretty impressive singer/guitar player in the gazebo.   We stopped on the way home and, of course, picked up roast pig, 5 carrots, 7 tomatoes, a large purple sweet potato, 3 onions and a fillet of fried fish ($6).

We went shopping on Monday and Shelley made cheese cake & a cream cheese appetizer as we were having company on Tuesday.  Tuesday, Brian set up the slow cooker to make his beef stew and we took a walk down Doce de Abril past the University, back to the Vega store to look at our potential cabinet again and then turned around and walked home.  That evening we had 3 people over for dinner, enjoyed Brian's good stew, Shelley's dessert & everybody's pleasant company. 

During our working life, which at this point took up most of our lives, our friends were mostly either from work, our neighbourhood or through our spouses.  Shelley was surrounded by straight-laced "office" workers most of her life during the day and laid-back musicians & artists during the evening.  Brian worked with high-powered sales people & high ego radio personalities, learning to manage both but never feeling at ease with either.  At home he was surrounded by educators & chaotic children.  Our neighbourhood on the boat consisted of salt of the earth fishermen or characters out of some not very good novel (Russian spies & Green Peace minions, wacked out artists & demolition experts).  In Ecuador (where everybody initially wants to be your friend), most of the people we seem to be meeting are educated (either self taught or formally), fairly liberal & mostly better off than we are.  (Being married more than several times between the two of us, didn't make for a conducive atmosphere to pile up assets.)  That's not to say there aren't left/right-wing, wing-nuts & stuffoholic justifiers just down the street; there are, but they seem to steer clear from us and that seems fair.  We have no particular agenda & don't wish to jump on a band wagon.  With all these new characters in our lives, in the natural scheme of things we tend to gravitate to some and not to others.  Some that we've been drawn to have proven to be disappointing.  Oh well.  It's really about developing history with folks; it's the history that gives a friendship roots.  Our lives have been colourful with ups & downs, tragedy & subliminal glee.  We came to Ecuador not because we had to, but because Ecuador (or some similar place) had always been "the plan" for Shelley at least, and Brian came because he saw the merit in it.  Will we stay?  Who knows:  forever is a long time.  Shelley talks to Brian about India & no stuff at all and Brian digs in his heels and points to Fredi...whereupon the discussion peters out.  Maybe we'll leave when Fredi hits 18?  Is that dog years?


  1. OH NO... not India.. please you have to rethink that one alot!

  2. Not 10 minutes after I read your post about making friends (or maybe not) I ran into this quote:

    "Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you;
    you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for."
    -Bob Marley