Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Prince Carlos

Not without a struggle, did we pick up our 11 pictures at the framers. The "worker" was not there and they could not find one of the pictures. Two of the pictures didn't have a hanger on them and when they went to fix that problem, they broke the glass in one of the frames. The large picture of False Creek Harbour we had had mounted, was flipped up a little on one of the corners and this they glued immediately. Several desperate telephone calls later we were advised that the "worker" was on his way in.

We went for a coffee.

On our return, we were told (at this point they began to speak a little English to us) that the "worker" was here and we heard a flurry of tap, tap, tapping in the upstairs workroom. Triumphantly, the "worker" came down the stairs with our broken glass fixed and the missing picture in his hands. We were all very happy! Anxiously, the owner offered us 5 tiny water paintings of Ecuador. On the way out, Shelley asked Brian if they'd come back to get the tiny water paintings framed.

Brian's replied, "No way!"

At home again there was a flurry of drilling, washing of floors to remove cement dust, and general chaos. Shelley bumped into one of the newly hung pictures and broke the corner of the frame. The False Creek picture deposited black paint from the mounting all over the wall. Our secretary's chair, pushed aside to make room to hang one set of pictures, made another series of black marks all over another wall. We thought the drill was broken at one point, but it only turned out that the brand new extension cord we'd purchased was defective.

All in all, we've had enough of framing and hanging pictures for awhile.

So far we haven't had any luck with beef in Ecuador. Brian tried filet mignon for $4.50 at a couple of restaurants (bad idea) and someone suggested we buy the long piece of meat that sort of looks like tongue at SuperMaxi. "It's the best part of the beef" we were assured. It's not. We were told before that they don't teach butchering here like they do in the States and Canada. They just cut the meat any old which way and call it whatever they feel like. We have been assured that if you go to a real good restaurant and pay North American prices you can get a good cut of meat, but we haven't done that. Some one else told us they butcher cows for beef as well. Cows are not tender. We're supposing cows means something different than beef cattle. In any case, we have half a long piece of meat that we'll cut up into cubes and stew. That'll teach it!

Back at SuperMaxi we found another long piece of meat that sort of looks like tongue for $19.00. This must be what our informant was talking about. We didn't purchase it this time (we have a whole bunch of stew meat we have to eat) but we will try this in due course.

We spent a couple of hours busing around Cuenca looking for a slow cooker (cocina lenta) and finally found one at SuperStock. It's enormous! We can feed ourselves for a week if we get this thing topped up. Something we still haven't been able to find is a Chinese Wok. We saw an electric one but they never get hot enough. Brian's a bit excited about cooking Chinese because we have a gas stove and it's really the only way to Wok cook and get it hot enough. The problem will be getting Chinese sauces and spices. There are numerous Chifa's (Chinese Restaurants) around Cuenca so there must be a place to get ingredients unless they order them direct from China.

Coming from Vancouver where there's so much diversity, it sure is different being the minority here. We'll catch some of the elder indigenous women subtly staring and Shelley'll give 'em a big smile and they always shyly smile back. There's a few Asian people but so far we haven't seen any East Indians. We're almost always the only North Americans riding the bus. The other North Americans we meet always subtly probe trying to find out how poor we are because we don't have a car and don't have any intention of getting one. If we got around Vancouver just fine without a car, getting around here with the wonderful bus service they have is a piece of cake.

Our young friend and his girlfriend came over for dinner and we served them Brian's special spaghetti. The spaghetti we've had here so far doesn't have a tomato sauce and almost nothing is as spicy as Brian makes it. We talked about the differences between Canada and Ecuador. At one point they asked about Prince Charles but said Prince Carlos and there was a moment or two of confusion. They dutifully admired the new everything in the apartment and brought us a pansy as a house warming gift. It was a pleasant evening and we were teased that when dinner was reciprocated that we'd be served cuy (guinea pig).

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