Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Too late for Shelley, Brian took off to a concert, the French Ambassador & baritone Jean-Baptiste de Boissiere together with Columbian pianist Jacqueline Gutierra at the Old Cathedral.  This concert was 1 in a series that spread over a week and a half with concerts every night.  It was the Festival Nacional e Internacional Guitarra, Piano, Canto.  There was a strong Gringo contingent as usual and Brian raved about the technical excellence of both the pianist and the baritone.  It's quite remarkable that in Cuenca events such as this are free!

Brian went off by himself to the Dentist early Thursday morning to get his filling checked.  He put on a shirt and asked of Shelley: 

"Is this too wrinkled to go to the dentist?" 
Shelley replied in the negative. 
"Ya but" Brian shot out "Your standards are lower than mine."
Shelley laughed. 

Shelley & Fredi stayed home and did chores.  The filling was fine and when Brian arrived home he took Fredi for a walk still in his wrinkled shirt.

We'd been invited to the California Kitchen for U.S. Thanksgiving starting at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  Several other restaurants throughout Cuenca were also advertising a U.S. Thanksgiving meal.  As Canadians coming to Ecuador, we not only had to acclimatize ourselves to Ecuadorian culture but also found ourselves immersed with U.S. citizens who comprise the greatest portion of the ExPat community.  While we've generally found the States people friendly & kind, they are from a different country, different culture and different background which shows itself from time to time in the oddest ways.  Shelley was talking about her daughter curling the other day with someone from the southern States.  They were quite curious as they had never seen curling except during the winter olympics on television.  In Canada we're still very much aligned with a British heritage, the Queen is also Queen of Canada and we have the same Parliamentary & legal systems.  We have little knowledge of American football.  Hockey not baseball is our National sport.  We find ourselves being taken seriously quite often when we're making a dry Canadian-type joke.  We need to defend the Canadian health system from time to time and are occasionally envied in that being the age we are, we understand both the metric and imperial systems.  In any case, at our U.S. Thanksgiving there was great food & good companionship.  We spent most of the time learning about yet another American relatively new to Ecuador, and enjoyed hearing his stories.  Please note:  Brian wore an ironed shirt.

There was an unwritten rule in Vancouver, B.C. that if you weren't sure, you took a coat or sweater.  It was bound to rain or get coolish.  In Cuenca it's the opposite.  If you're not sure, you don't take a sweater.  It's bound to get warmer.  It was time for us to go down to the post office and check our PO Box and mail off our Christmas letters.  We stood on our balcony and tested the weather.  It was right in between needing a sweater and not.  We walked downtown (sans sweaters) and Shelley window shopped for shoes, even trying on a pair (she didn't buy any).  We stopped at the post office, dropped into a video place and picked up a couple of movies, walked across town and down the stairs and caught a bus home.  It had warmed up quite nicely.  That evening we went out to a friend's place for pizza.  It was a nice evening and we genuinely enjoyed ourselves. 

Inordinately pleased to have a couple of down days, we simply went for a walk around the neighbourhood on Saturday.  Sat in a park in the sun, ran into an acquaintance and talked for awhile, took a few pictures and then came home to putter in the apartment the rest of the day.  Sunday was to be Ecuador's census day and that meant you were required to stay in your home from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.  They only do the census every 10 years and we just happened to be around for this one.  We'd received a copy of the form via e-mail and had filled it out ourselves so that when the census takers came (teenagers from the various high schools) we'd be ready for them.

It was very quiet outside Sunday morning.  No one walked the street, there were no buses, no traffic.  It had an out of this world feel to it like the movie On the Beach.  The only movement was a dog on the lawn in the park down the street.  We did our morning chores, put on a load of laundry, watered the plants, swept the floor and then spent a little while in limbo wondering what to do with ourselves.  (Normally, we'd then go out for our walk.)  Brian sneaked Fredi down to the lawn below our building for a quick pee.  We read & computered & watched CNN on TV and eventually 2 lovely young girls come to take our information.  They wanted to know how many light bulbs we had in our apartment, how many living children Shelley had, whether we had a land-line phone or cell or nothing and if we cooked in our home.    In the end, they put a sticker on our door that we wondered about getting off eventually.  We couldn't figure out if we were allowed out after we'd taken the census so decided not to chance it and spent the day at home.

1 comment:

  1. Even asking the census takers, was not getting us an answer so we decided to stay home. Our visitors were so excited to leave they never did leave us with a sticker. I am googling how to say.. that we had it done and they forgot the sticker.. I just hope that works and we dont have to do it again.