There was a new display of artisan booths (set up for Cuenca's founding celebrations) that we'd spied across the street at Otorongo Plaza the day before, so on Saturday we set off to see what was happening. Most of the booths were same-old, same-old, with beaded jewelry, cloth aprons & dish towels, carved wooden kitchen utensils, sweaters & hats, etc. We did however, manage to pick up a fish weaving to use as a coffee table cover. Venturing our way home, we stopped at the stationery store to buy some red paper for our Christmas letters and Brian headed off to the new empanada place just down the street from where we live. (Just off Unidad Nacional on del Batan, a couple of blocks down from Doce de Abril.) Arriving home, Brian got on Skype and talked with his friend Jan for over an hour, setting to right all political systems & most things in the news. After that a quick heat in the microwave for his empanadas was in order. When asked how they were, he declared they were even better than the ones he'd been getting at the other place. Later on, around 5 o'clock in the evening they started to set up a band stand on Tres de Noviembre right across from the Latino Hospital. Around 6:30 there were fire works and the band started to play and then hundreds and hundreds of runners came down the street. Traffic was being re-routed and dogs were barking and it was all quite exciting!
Finally got up the wherewithal to check with the web and find out why, about once a year, you'd see bread shaped like people. What we found was: during the week before the commemoration of the deceased or dia de los muertos, the fruit beverage Colada Morada is typical, accompanied by Guaguas de Pan, which is stuffed bread shaped like children. When we first came here, there were only the most token of decorations and costumes for sale around Halloween. Each year though there seems to be more. Christmas decorations too, have been popping up for several weeks. The town itself didn't do as many Xmas lights last year as the year before. There was an austerity campaign going on set up by the then new mayor. We wonder what will happen this year?
The walk downtown on Sunday was punctuated by several stops so Shelley could adjust the bandages on her heels due to blisters caused by the new shoes. Brian couldn't understand why she'd worn them and Shelley's only explanation was that she was a girl. Brian continued not to understand. We stopped at a display by the Peruvians, who seem to come to town whenever there's a festival of any sort. We picked up roast pig and continued on to the park where eventually we met up with 3 other couples. The gab fest was on! As time meandered, one couple set off to see the fine arts & crafts display down by the river and eventually we all broke up. The 2 other couples also headed off to the arts & crafts exhibition and we returned home for Brian's nap. The weather was gorgeous, music was in the air everywhere and the company was great. Upon arriving home, Shelley dug out her sandals, which she rarely wears in Cuenca and declared them perfect, as the straps did not hit near any of her blisters.
The following is going to shock you! Hang onto your hats now! We did not go shopping Monday morning! Instead we went to a friend's place for breakfast and had perhaps the best omelet we've ever eaten, plus an excellent brewed coffee, juice, fried potatoes, a fruit mixture and pretty good sausages considering it's Ecuador. There were 5 of us for breakfast and we talked about how we met our spouses, how we made our decision to come to Ecuador and how wonderful we all feel about both things. Finally, Shelley tapped Brian on the shoulder and explained to him if we were going to get the shopping done in time for him to have a reasonable nap, we had to leave. Shelley enjoyed the coffee so much she had 3 cups. Shelley hasn't had 3 cups of coffee in a row for perhaps 20 years or more. During the shopping exercise she felt a great need to explain to Brian that everything was so bright and shiny it was almost surreal. WARNING: DO NOT give Shelley 3 cups of coffee in a row ever again!
While idly surfing the web, Shelley asked Google to "define: expat" and came up with the following: (1) exile: a person who is voluntarily absent from home or country; (2) In computing, Expat is a stream-oriented XML 1.0 parser library, written in C. As one of the first available open-source XML parsers, Expat has found a place in many open-source projects. Such projects include the Apache HTTP Server, Mozilla, Perl, Python and PHP. ... (3) An expatriate; a person who lives outside his or her own country; The noun used (4) An expatriate (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing or legal residence. The word comes from the Latin term expatriātus from ' ("out of") and ' the ablative case of '''' ("country, fatherland"). (5) Short for expatriot - someone who lives in a country other than their own.
Although Monday was wet & a bit cool, Tuesday turned out to be a beautiful day. We caught a bus to Calle Larga y Hermano Miguel and walked down the stairs to check out the paintings & crafts displayed in the park there. We ran into people we know & chatted for a bit, and took a few pictures and pointed to the paintings we liked but ended up not buying anything. At the place we're at now, putting much else on our walls would crowd them. We walked down to a Banco del Pacifico to see if they had any money as the machines near our home were out. That Bank was empty too. We suppose the Banks have been closed since Friday and they didn't fill them up enough for the long-long-long weekend. We caught a cab home as the buses are all being re-routed due to the festivities.