Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Home Stretch

Down to the people's market on Calle Larga we bought a chicken ($5), some broccoli & cauliflower ($1) and a bag of those tiny potatoes ($0.50) Shelley's been longing for.

"Have you ever eaten potatoes when they're that little. They're almost sweet!" she gushed. (Except they turned out not to taste like the tiny potatoes she ate as a child. Maybe it's the soil?)

We had 3 digital photos blown up to 8 x 10 and matted & framed for just under $40 and continued our quest to find some sort of sleeping arrangement for the 2nd bedroom. We'd like a small hide-a-bed or futon, but our quest to find one is proving somewhat difficult.

We asked our young friend what the proper terminology would be for the indigenous people and he got quite alarmed that we might call them Indians. "It would be like calling a black person the N word" he told us. "Indigenous is OK."

"Is it a dichotomy when you see an indigenous woman all dressed up in her costume, talking on a cell phone?" Shelley asked Brian.

Young boys (under 10) offer to polish your shoes in the town square, physically challenged people are placed on a corner with their hands out, teenage boys (their faces painted) juggle balls at a stop light: we seem to be able to resist, but an elderly indigenous women touches Shelley's arm every so slightly and she has to give them $0.50.

Continuing on our quest for a futon or hide-a-bed, we went downtown and stumbled into a store asking for a "sofa cama" and were directed across the street to a place that sells nothing but. After the usual amount of difficulty due to language, we purchased a lovely hide-a-bed and expect delivery next Tuesday. The sofa cama represents the last big purchase we need to make and as expected our costs stayed around $7000. We'd predicted $5000 originally but were unaware at that time that we'd have to purchase a fridge & stove and washer & dryer. The $7000 also includes plates, some art, plants, bedding, towels, pots & pans and silverware, etc. etc. So, we're pretty pleased. We're still buying rugs and art but that may continue for months and months until we spy just the right thing.

We've really been enjoying the breads of Ecuador. Every second street seems to have a bakery and we've taken to having a continental breakfast with a different kind of bun each morning; some are not to our North American taste, but most are delicious & wonderful & cheap! We'll come home with croissants & a loaf of designer bread and a few cheese buns with a bill for $2.25 and we compare that to what we'd pay at Granville Island in Vancouver and hold our sides and laugh & laugh.

Friday night took us to Ex-Pats night again and this time there were tables pushed together which greatly facilitates talking to your neighbour. We chatted with an American couple we'd met previously in our lawyer's office and a Canadian fellow & his wonderful dog. It should be noted that the dog has done more world travel than Brian & Shelley together. Again, they all advised us that it was possible to get an Ecuadorian bank account without your residency card. The Canadian fellow offered to go to the bank with us when we were ready. We all trooped off together to Monday Blue for what we think is the best pizza in town and really enjoyed their company.

After our test run: getting 3 digital pictures blown up & framed, we then had 7 more blown up and made arrangements to get them framed along with a copy of the line drawings from our ex-boat Dowager (we miss her) and her original registration papers. The couple at the framing place was almost overwhelmed by our instructions (Tower of Babel communication) but kept their good humour, as we kept ours. We should be able to pick the whole lot up in a week.

We did pick up our original 3 pictures plus a wonderful wall hanging from La Tienda on Benigno Malo and then spent an hour or so deciding where to drill holes in our apartment and hang our various acquisitions.

It seems like the blog lately has been a litany of things we've bought, but we're getting close to being fully stocked and can hardly believe we've only been in the country for 32 days at the time of this writing. We've managed to get an awful lot done!

It's hard to describe the majority of stores in Ecuador. In Canada there's space - in Ecuador there's stuff everywhere! One store might sell small appliances, TV's, large appliances and motorcycles. Another store sells stereo equipment, small appliances, pots & pans & coffee pots. They seem to have streets that specialize. One street might be packed with shops that sell sewing material while another street is almost all children's clothing and yet another furniture stores. Just about every street seems to have a shop selling DVDs and an internet shop and if not a bakery at least a store selling some baked goods. A big department type store, Coral Centro, sells crutches right in front of negligees. Wherever you go there's a cacophony of goods and when you first come here it's very overwhelming. We're getting used to it now and kind of like the energy of it!

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