Monday, November 17, 2008

Fear & Loathing in Ecuador

"Not last night, but the night before you were talking in your sleep and you were talking Spanish" Brian informed Shelley.

Shelley wanted to know what she was saying, but Brian couldn't remember. We don't know if it's good or bad that Spanish has infiltrated our sleep but suspect it's just all part of the process. They say when you start thinking in the new language, then you know you have really mastered it. Do they say anything about dreaming in it?

We ate at a sea food restaurant on Crespo more or less in the neighbourhood where we live. Shelley had a breaded filet (which she really enjoyed) and Brian had roasted oysters. The thought, given the description, was that he'd get several oysters and maybe some rice and salad with it, but what he got was the "biggest oyster in the world"; at least 5 inches across, roasted in it's enormous shell. Nothing accompanied it. Given the price ($6), Brian was disappointed. He said it would make a good appetizer but wasn't a full meal deal. The texture, perhaps because it was so large, also threw him off, in that it was more like scallops or abalone. We usually only eat out once or twice a week and we're trying to find restaurants to "wow" Brian's friend Jan with when he visits at Christmas. As Jan likes seafood and the restaurant was within walking distance for us, we'd hoped it'd fit the ticket. It didn't.

We met a bunch of people at the new East Indian restaurant on Calle Larga for Sunday brunch. The prices were middling ($3 - $4) for a entree and although very tasty the spices were tamped down for Ecuadorian palates. Seven of us ate our fill and the total bill was $30, which included a $6 tip. You can get your meals with either rice or nan bread and both the rice and nan portions are huge! They also provided a free appetizer of a fried vegetable pancake creation together with 3 dipping sauces. Yummy. The place must be catching on because there was a good crowd, yet the owner was very anxious to accommodate us and put together several tables to fit our party.


Up bright and early Monday morning, Brian sat around anxiously until it was time to take his happy pills to go get his root canal. We took a cab to the specialist which was out near the airport. The cabby tried to tell us the fare was $5; we gave him $3 and it probably would have been OK to give him $2. We had arrived early as Brian was apprehensive and wanted to leave, so we stood on the corner for awhile and scoped out buses for our return trip.

At the specialist's office Brian was asked for his passport and we discovered the dentist's English was not that great. We ended up phoning the first dentist to get an thorough explanation of what was going on. As the swelling was not yet completely down in his mouth, it wasn't the right time to do the root canal. In addition, the tooth next to it was no good and would have to be pulled. An appointment was made with the specialist for Friday to get the root canal done and we were advised it would cost about $250. After the root canal work we will return to the first dentist. He will put a permanent filling into the root canal tooth, pull the bad tooth and clean the remaining teeth. His original costs for consultation, cleaning & filling re the root canal was $80, so now we can expect additional costs for pulling the bad tooth. It appears the entire project, including drugs & ex-rays will cost in the neighbourhood of $400.'s another one; Brian's bottom denture will have to have a tooth added to it. So...$500? Oh well. Has Shelley mentioned she hates Brian's teeth? (Better here in Ecuador, mind you, than back in Canada with no dental coverage!)

Brian was wide tracking when we left the specialist's office but we managed to get on a # 28 which took us to directly to the first dentist's office. We dropped in there just to get a better understanding of what was going on and to check on Brian's request for happy pills. The dentist had done some research and gave Brian a new prescription. Continuing to wide track, Shelley led Brian to the drug store where we were informed the Dentist didn't have the authority to prescribe those particular drugs. The druggist had phoned the dentist and told us "the dentist would get a friend to help us". (All this in pigeon Spanish & English combined.)

"Maybe you could try and do the appointment without drugs?" Shelley asked Brian.

Brian's eyes went very round with horror, "Yes" he said "And I could get my fingernails pulled out as well".

Having put Brian through enough for one day, Shelley walked him home where he had a long, long nap and we determined we'd phone the dentist the next day.

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