Sunday, October 25, 2009

Home Again, Home Again III

Home again, home again we really enjoyed the night's sleep in our own little bed, not to mention having our own pillows again. Ecuador specializes in hard mattresses & thin pillows in their hotels & hostels. We did a large load of laundry, studied our Spanish, Shelley fussed with our plants for awhile and then we headed to the 10th of August market to pick up some tomatoes & kiwi for our breakfasts. We filled our phone up with a $10 card and did a couple of other chores and then headed to the Oro Mar Restaurant which is on Presidente Cordova as it goes down the hill to the river. They specialize in ceviche & seafood. Friends had arranged a rendezvous with about 14 or 16 people. We told our stories of the Galapagos and caught up with their adventures while we were away.

Incidentally, we stopped in at the store to see if they had the blade replacements for Brian's electric razor. You may remember they promised us they would be in stock in 2 weeks. It's been 3 weeks since then. They absolutely, without a doubt, promised us they'd have the blades in less than a week.

"We're progressing" Shelley told Brian. "Less than a week means less than month here."

Brian too was pleased.

We had to head downtown to mail our Galapagos postcards. We, of course, forgot to bring an address book with us, so we couldn't mail the cards from the Galapagos. Each postcard cost $2 to go to Canada and we sent one to Holland that cost $2.25. We stopped at the 10th of August market and picked up some more fruit as we're going on an expedition on Sunday and won't be able to do it then. We're going to the Giron Festival which apparently has something to do with the "Lord of Pigs". More about that later. We walked down to the the street across the river and waited, and waited, and waited for a bus until we finally got tired of waiting and picked up a taxi. The taxi driver advised us the buses were out on strike protesting. When we were downtown we'd notice a large gathering of men in front of City Hall and we guessed this was part of the bus drivers' protest. We later found out they're protesting the removal of the turnstiles on the buses. These were put in to keep a closer check on people entering the bus but are difficult for those with disabilities and they were ordered to remove them.

Our friends from the coast were in town for a couple of days picking up toys and presents for their Santa Extravaganza at Christmas and had invited us over for dinner. They are wonderful people and we really enjoyed our evening with them. Fredi & Coquita, as per their usual routine, played with each other until exhaustion.

The next morning, off we went to take Fredi for a free walk and do a couple of chores. We wanted to pick up some oysters & shrimp patties from the frozen sea food store but they were out of both of the items. We wanted to pick up some Advil from the drug store but they were out as well. We stopped at Punto and did pick up two different kinds of buns for dinner the next day so not everything we attempted to do failed. Arriving at home, we sat ourselves down to enjoy a marathon of "Brotherhood" on TV except the power went out. Seconds after the TV died, we heard deep thunder in the distance and the power was out for almost 2 hours. It never rained in our neighbourhood but we could see the black clouds off in the distance and it thundered for about half an hour. We dug out the crib board we'd brought from Canada and spent some time trying to remember the rules. They eventually came to us and we ultimately did get to watch 2 episodes of Brotherhood.

Up at 6:30 am, we puttered around and got ready to meet for our trip to Giron. Despite the hour, we managed to get it together and walked up to the Feria Libre market where we'd arranged to meet. There we caught a co-op bus that specializes in trips between Giron & Cuenca. The bus ride ($1) was about an hour and we arrived in Giron ready for whatever it had to offer. One of the main festival items in Giron is a blood letting of a bovine where you get to drink the proceeds. We, luckily, managed to miss this. We did, however, get to see a wonderful parade with dancing girls & boys & a band playing Sousa marches & multiple men in white shirts on horseback. We ran into several citizens who had spent time in the United States and enjoyed talking with them; they with their rather fast English & us with our rather slow Spanish. We ate at the public market; deep fried chicken & sausages for everyone else; Shelley had a wonderful sundae topped with mora (blackberry) sauce and then we caught a bus back home in time for Brian to connect with his friend in Holland via Skype and catch up on all our various "doings". Despite asking several times, we never did manage to find out why the festival was dedicated to the Lord of Pigs. We finally determined that this must be a translation glitch on the word "Giron".

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