Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Serendipitous Side Events & Mild Snafus

We went downtown to pay our bills and ended up taking in a couple of serendipitous side events. Apparently the President of Ecuador was in Cuenca to swear in Cuenca's new mayor. We obtained this information from a friendly guard and then hung around for 45 minutes waiting to see the President. We never did. We did, however, manage to get a picture of Cuenca's new mayor.

"He's so young!" Shelley exclaimed to Brian when he poked her and told her to take the picture.

"It's not that he's so young..." Brian began to explain to her and then thought better of it and petered off.

On the way home we stopped in at a small gallery we've noticed several times but never visited. They were showing an exposition of Ariel Dawi. The studio is at Benigno Malo 4-103 y Calle Larga and they have a website: www.arieldawi.com There was a young woman outside handing out pamphlets and she graciously gave us the royal tour.

Later on still, walking along beside the river, we encountered an indigenous couple fishing. We've noted many people fishing in the river before but have never seen them catch a trout quite as large. The man caught the fish in a net and then threw it up the bank to his companion. This was when we noticed them; a flying fish is something you have a tendency to notice. The woman then fixed a stick to the trout so she could carry it. Brian asked her, just making sure, if in fact it was a trucha. She acknowledge shyly that it was but was very uncomfortable talking to Brian.

ExPat night was at the Eucalyptus and we decided since we haven't been for several weeks, we should go and check it out. We met and talked with a woman who was here improving her Spanish language skills (already much better than us) and we talked about culture shock, being on guard in a new country. We assured her that feeling of being out-of-place disappeared after awhile but she was sure Ecuador wasn't her ultimate destination. At the end of the evening we met a lovely couple who have decided to settle here but had left their Shih Tzu behind in the States. They were very happy to make acquaintance with Fredi & we gave them our card hoping to hear from them again. We also talked to several other people and all in all it was a very pleasant evening. We did spend a bit of time trying to find out why ExPat night was once again settling on the Eucalyptus but no satisfactory answer was given to us. We decided it was one of those mystery things we weren't curious enough to ultimately uncover.

Our hummingbirds seem to have mostly disappeared. Whereas we were filling up the feeder every couple of days, the nectar now lasts a couple of weeks. It is disappearing and we do see the occasional hummingbird, but not several of them like we were seeing during the North American winter. The web tells us hummingbirds migrate in response to hormonal changes that are triggered by changing length of daylight. Being on the equator, the change in daylight is minimal but I guess those hummingbirds still know what do to. Apparently, they don't migrate in flocks, but set out on their own and this is because they have to feed so often it would be inconvenient if they were in flocks. Brave little birds as well as beautiful & hungry. We're looking forward to their return in a few months.

Downtown at the main square for our usual Sunday morning gander, they were having some sort of army memorial day type ceremonies. There were at least 150+ soldiers there, armed with rifles, as well as several generals and an honour guard in traditional uniforms from 200 years ago. There were many speeches and rousing music from the military band. The snippets that we caught talked about various revolutions and armed guards kept the populace away from the cenotaph area. All in all it was quite interesting.

At SuperMaxi for our regular weekly shop, they were out of Neutrogena soap, Trident X-tra care green gum, parmesan cheese & Maggi (MSG-less) chicken bouillon. On the other hand, they had in stock Miracle Whip & caesar salad mix! We don't know if it's a supply chain problem or an inventory problem but many things on our list are often hit & miss. Granted in Canada, from time to time, they'd stop stocking a product we regularly bought, either because not enough people were buying it or because the product ceased to exist. We had a love affair with something called Australian biscuits. They were a cross between English muffins & powder biscuits. We were quite bitter when our Safeway stopped stocking them and even went so far as to request their reinstatement but to no avail. On the other hand, they always had parmesan cheese & Miracle Whip. We've become quite philosophical on our shopping trips these days; either instantly substituting the product or re-writing the missing item onto our next list and the list after that until it becomes tedious and we learn to live without the product. Then one day, lo & behold, it's on the shelf again and we get quite excited! I repeat; small things seem to make us happy.

We've been trying to fax something to our bank in Canada for a week now. We chose a fax place downtown that advertised they did international faxes but the young woman operating the fax machine was so flustered, we weren't sure she even put the paper in the right way. Several emails to our bank in Canada determined that they had in fact not received said fax. Several more emails determined that the bank in Canada had given us an incorrect fax number; this incorrect number was printed on our financial consultant's card. We wonder where our documents went, if in fact they went anywhere. A few days later, at a different place, we faxed the documents off again. This place gave a confirmation slip showing that our 3 pages had in fact been forwarded to what we hope is the correct number. We've currently got our fax fingers crossed.


  1. Hi, I wanted to introduce myself I have been reading your blog entries for the past week. I am thrilled to be able to read a blog by Canadians in Ecuador. My husband and I are in the planning stages of 5 years to retire as you did. We haven't even been to Ecuador yet but have travelled to other C. and L. American countries and love the people and the lifestyle. It is really interesting to see how Canadians are getting on and what they miss. Don't know if you are into cooking or not but here is a really good ketchup recipe very similiar to Heinz since I read the stuff there is not great lol...hopefully you can get these ingredients I hope you find it useful and I look forward to continuing to read the blog and thanks for posting the good the bad and the manana.


    1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    1/4 cup water
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

    1Whisk together ingredients and simmer in a saucepan for 20 minutes.
    2Allow mixture to cool and refrigerate until needed.

  2. You can buy Hunts Ketchup in the SuperMaxi and it's quite like Heinz. The local ketchup is not at all to North American tastes; it's like it's made with corn starch (?) shiny and thin. But Hunts is pretty good!