On our Sunday walk down to Parque Calderon, we've taken to first stopping in at the market to pick up Brian's roast pig, as then it doesn't delay us on the other end when it's usually time for Brian's nap. The lady who sells Brian his roast pig has taken a real shine to Fredi and always has a chunk or three of meat for her that Fredi greatly appreciates! We got to the park and couldn't find an empty bench so ended up sharing it with an Ecuadorian man reading the newspaper. He didn't seem to mind, even when 8 or 10 other people eventually showed up. We met a brand new couple as well as friends that visit every few months or so. There were also some old friends and some new acquaintances, so we all talked and caught up with each other and it was a very nice visit. Shelley eventually had too much sun so broke Brian away from the intense conversation he was having. "But I haven't talked to everyone yet!" he explained. We caught a cab home and spent the rest of the day comfortable and quiet.
Contrary to anything that points to the opposite, neither Brian nor Shelley are good shoppers. We both just want to head for what we're looking for, pick it up with no searching and escape. Monday grocery shopping, however, seems to be the exception. We both enjoy the trip, never concern ourselves with the cost, picking up what we want with wild abandon. OK...Shelley picks up with wild abandon and Brian shakes his head. It should be noted that we don't shop together. Shelley heads off in one direction with the cart and Brian heads off in another looking for meat and vegetables. From time to time we meet at the cart and eye each other's purchases. We found shopping together tended to make us cranky. OK...Shelley got cranky because Brian would nag. After getting home with the groceries, Brian takes Fredi for a walk while Shelley puts the groceries away. Again, this routine was developed to alleviate chaos tension. Two minds equals two theories about the best way to unpack & stock. Two theories equals endless "discussion". Once the groceries are stored, then Shelley starts her cooking project if we're having company the next day. Note: Shelley's NOT a great cook. At a dinner party not too long ago, someone was talking about one of Shelley's confections. They'd forgotten it was hers. They just remembered the "strangeness" of it all and were regaling the party with a funny joke about its inadequacy. Awkward moment: Do you point out it's you or smile politely and let it pass.
Inadequacy, nagging & crankiness deftly avoided or simply ignored, Monday we went shopping & stood in the store for half an hour talking to a family from Hawaii thinking about moving to Cuenca. Upon arriving home Shelley made carrot cake and broccoli salad as we were having company for dinner on Tuesday. There is satisfaction in being all stocked up, having done a good deed, dishes cleaned from the cooking project and after being on your feet for several hours, finally it's time for a sit down.
Brian couldn't believe it, but it was time to go to the dentist again. We got up and Shelley made potato salad and we did our morning chores. Our appointment was for 10 o'clock, so at about 20 to, we headed off. On arriving, we found out the dentist's office was having trouble with their water supply. He took Brian into the examination room and semi-cleaned his teeth and advised him he had a cavity. Brian was devastated. It's a small cavity but still needs to be tended to. Then it was Shelley's turn. The dentist took her into his office and took a quick look at her teeth and then advised he'd have to re-schedule because of the water problem. Anyone who has read this blog for any time knows Brian is deathly afraid of the dentist. He gets crabby thinking about the dentist, breaks into a sweat going to the dentist and deep deep anxiety all the time he's at the dentist. Having to make another appointment so soon did not make his day.
We left the dentist's office and walked up to SuperMaxi to pick up a couple of things for our dinner party that evening that we'd forgotten the day before. We also got our phone recharged with minutes. Walking home, each carrying one bag, Shelley advised Brian he was crabby, would be for the next few days, and that he should be quiet. Brian looked at her wide-eyed, acknowledged he was not pleased about the dentist appointment and attempted to get himself in line. When we got home, Brian took Fredi out for a walk and Shelley made pasta salad. We're having shrimp appetizers, oven bar-b-qued ribs, 3 salads and carrot cake for dessert. It should be good. Our dinner was nice, everybody had plenty to eat, we talked about a myriad of things and we'll be eating left-over salad for 3 days.
Several weeks ago we'd arranged with a couple relatively new to Ecuador to take them through the Feria Libre market this Wednesday. We met them in front of the market, put Fredi into her carrying pack and set off into the depths. First off, past the fruit & vegetables, past the key place, past the knife sharpening place, past the tupperware and we reached the pet area. We pointed out the chicks & the baby ducks, the cuy & the various designer puppies, the roosters & the hens. We headed into the sea food and saw the big tubs of shrimp & crabs & muscles & fish and scooted past endless stalls of fruit & vegetables. We hit the potato department and explained these ones were good and those ones were tasteless. More stalls of tomatoes & avocados & garlic & papayas; more grapes & odd shaped fruits we know not what they were; more carrots & beets & cabbage & pineapple & cauliflower and apples. Finally we reached the small plant department and looked at cacti & orchids & various bedding plants. Pushing our way ahead, we entered the dry goods section. Stall after stall after stall of clothes & blankets & shoes & hats & jeans & trinkets & just plain junk. Finally we ducked into the main building and pointed out slabs of chocolate & bulk spices & walked through the meat department, chicken & beef & lamb hanging everywhere. We emerged from the building, crossed the street, found a cement step and all had a sit down for a little while, out in the sun, the frenzy of the market behind us. We remarked on the overwhelming plenitude represented in the market and conjectured that it's not likely that very many people in Ecuador go hungry. Having gathered a bit of energy we walked several blocks to the Good Affinity restaurant and sat in the cool inside and had a very nice vegetarian lunch. It was a good morning.