Tuesday, April 14, 2009

That Old Black Magic

We believe Fredi is now in the "attraction" phase of her heat. Brian & our friend from Vancouver went off to Gualaceo and Shelley decided to take Fredi for a walk. Immediately upon leaving the apartment building, Fredi surprised Shelley by walking ahead of her off the leash. The leash had simply snapped. Shelley then put the leash on Fredi backwards & headed off to the pet store to buy a new one. There were 3 dogs in a cage in the front of the pet store, 2 dogs in a cage in the grooming room which is walled off by glass and a woman holding a Yorki on her lap. By the time Shelley & Fredi left the pet store every single dog in the place was howling and Fredi was shaking like a leaf in Shelley's arms. We did get a new leash but we're quite sure the proprietress was very happy when we left.

Meanwhile Brian & Greg caught the bus to Gualaceo at around 11:30 a.m. and Brian got home at 4:00 p.m. Greg was enchanted by the people, the sites & the countryside but by the time they got back to Cuenca all Greg wanted to do was take a nap & kick back. He has absorbed an awful lot of Ecuador in a short period of time.

By the way, our daughter e-mailed and advised both the packages we'd sent to Canada (one by snail mail, one by express mail) arrived on the same day. They both took 8 working days instead of the 12 & 4 they were supposed to. In the mean time, the package she sent to us on March 9th still hasn't reached us. We're not sure what the lesson here is (?) but there certainly must be one.

Friday night came along so we had to take Greg to Gringo night. We ended up at a table full of Canadians but with 2 Americans thrown in for good luck. Greg said the Gringo night people were "his kind of people" and we all ate hearty and Greg networked and Fredi was the princess she usually is. They'd kept Zoe's open on Good Friday especially for the ExPats and we really appreciated it! We haven't been to the gathering for about a month and it was neat to sit around and talk to friends. Greg is off to Montanita tomorrow and we've instructed him to take lots of pictures of bikini babes so he can email them back home for the gloat value.

When you go shopping in a Cuenca department store or grocery store, they have a cubby section watched over by a security guard at the entrance where you are required to deposit your bags. From time to time, you may even have a small discussion about depositing your purse but usually they'll relent. If you're using a large bag for a purse, however, you may be required to take your wallet out and put the bag in the cubby for safekeeping. They'll give you a chit and we've never had any problem getting back our stuff. Another shopping difference is that if you buy anything in a box, they'll remove it from the box, inspect the item (each wine glass for instance), plug the item in (to make sure it works) and then carefully repackage everything. This really is a good idea but the first time it happens (if you're not used to the custom) it does seem like the whole purchase event takes a very long time. It seems like anything over about $30 requires your passport number or cedula number to be put into their system. When we bought our major appliances, we received rather a fancy document stating that we were in fact the owners and apparently this has to be signed over if we sell them off.

Greg gave us a couple of phone calls from Montanita. He said he's been to Fort Lauderdale and Cancun but he's never seen a place like Montanita on the Easter long weekend. Our friends at the coast picked him up, took him out for breakfast and squired him around Montanita showing him that extraordinary Ecuadorian graciousness. It was a bit tough though, because the partying outside his room went on until 4 o'clock in the morning. He advised an afternoon nap was required but that he was having a great time. See http://bobnrox.squarespace.com/journal/2009/4/14/a-canadian-friend-of-canadian-friends.html

We spent a quiet Easter - nothing special going on; talked to one of the kids on Skype and that helped that family-holiday-missing-the-kids syndrome that seems to hit Shelley from time to time. Good Friday was very quiet, many stores closed, etc. but Easter Monday was business as usual. On Tuesday we had lunch with a couple who've been reading the blog for some time. They are from West Virginia and are thinking of moving down here the summer of 2010. Widely travelled (they've been on 37 cruises!) we talked about cultural differences, learning a new language, leaving family behind and local customs. We'd suggested the Sankt Florian as we love their lunch special & spent 3 hours getting to know each other.

Coming Up: Brian goes to the dentist (yet again) & Fredi gets her hair cut.

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