Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Saga Continues

The end of the month was upon us once again and on Friday we did our rounds paying our gas, electricity, rent & internet bills. Our electricity bill was a bit higher this month; $7 more than usual. The young woman tried to explain to Brian what was going on but "no entiendo". There's a vague recollection that this happened last year as well. We could pull out the bills but...that seems like work...doesn't it. Perhaps a once a year adjustment? Shelley commented to Brian, "Even if our electricity bill was 14 dollars a month, I'd still think it was a deal!" Brian agreed.

After we'd finished we stopped in at the Nice Cream restaurant near the main square and had ourselves some lime tea with the usual complimentary cookies. It was quite warm out and it was nice sitting, calm & cool, watching the people walk by and all the gabble in the restaurant. Several months ago we had a conversation with a German fellow who apparently opened up the first ice cream palace in Cuenca; this was many years ago. He said at that time he had to take the money home in sacks! These days, with competition everywhere, it's a good living but the time of sacks of cash thrown over his shoulder are over.

Brian's friend John (currently in Holland) recently spent 5 weeks in Peru. We were scheduled to meet John in Peru at a seaside resort but a pesky operation got in our way. The pictures on this blog are some of John's pictures from his holiday; the things we missed. Aren't they spectacular?

All Friday evening we were without water. There had been a notice in our elevator that they were going to clean the cisterns Friday morning. Friday morning, sure enough the water was off but by noon the water was back on, albeit a little dirty. Later on we saw workmen with giant hoses squirting water from the building into the street. We wondered what that was all about? Later on still, the water went off again. Around 11:30 pm the water came back on, gushing in the toilets & through the pipes, waking us up and making quite the racket. They seem to "clean the cisterns" about once every 4 to 6 months. We have no idea exactly what they're doing.

We thought we'd try the walk to Feria Libre on Saturday to pick up a pound of chicken livers as Fredi was just about out of her doggie treats. The recipe Shelley uses is a combination of a couple of recipes she found on the net. You can substitute baby food meat for the pulverized chicken livers but then you would probably have to add some more liquid. In any case, as noted on the recipe, Shelley tells people Fredi will "wash the dishes" for one of these cookies. Brian made the walk both up and back from Feria Libre and we were quite pleased with him! Fredi vigilantly kept track of the chicken livers from the time they were bought until the time the cookies were put into the freezer.

Being from Vancouver, rain doesn't stop us from doing much, so even though it was sprinkling a little bit, we took off for our usual Sunday walk downtown. We thought we wouldn't see our friends in the park, but we did! They've taken to eating breakfast at a new place each Sunday and then stopping at the park afterwards. There were dancers (this is the 3rd or 4th weekend in a row) doing their thing with canned music & we chatted with our friends for awhile, filled out a tourist survey (even though we told them we lived in Cuenca) and took pictures of the dancers. On our way home we stopped at the market and Brian picked up roast pig. For $2 he gets enough for 4 or 5 sandwiches. It was a particular treat this time because it's been several weeks since the last time.

Shopping, chores, figuring out our budget for 2010, emails to the kids, Fredi walks, reading, TV, Lexulous (like Scrabble) on Facebook, Twitter, cooking, talking to a friend on Skype, naps, etc. took up our Monday. It's all very mundane but it's our mundane and we aren't the least bit bored or wishing for something else. We are getting quite excited about our daughter coming in less than 2 weeks now! She went out shopping last weekend and picked up most of the things on our "we can't find them in Ecuador list" like: a teeth whitening product, chicken bouillon without MSG, what we call "Gentlemen's leisure pants" big enough for Brian, Patak (an Indian curry paste), chai tea, hollandaise sauce mix (you know in a packet), etc. We've said this before but we're really looking forward to seeing Ecuador through the eyes of a newcomer again. After being here for 18+ months, it has really become home to us.

Brian went out to the airport on Tuesday (to the AeroGal offices) to reconfirm his tickets for the trip to Quito to pick up our daughter. One of the tickets had been corrected by hand and he wanted a re-print. They gave him one with no problem and we sort of wondered why they just didn't do that in the first place (oh well). In the mean time, Shelley took Fredi for her walk and puttered around the apartment. Brian was gone the best part of 2 hours and towards the end Shelley began to wonder what was keeping him. It turned out the AeroGal office was busy, the bus was interminably slow and he'd stopped off at a store near the airport that sells working model helicopters.

Brian has been campaigning for a helicopter since we've lived on the boat. Shelley kept asking him where he'd keep it on the boat and his quick reply was that he'd build a hanger on the back deck. As our back deck was pretty small, Shelley knew her argument was safe. Wandering one of Cuenca's malls one day, we came across a kiosk that was selling remote control helicopters. The model he was attracted to sells for about $300. If you want one that could conceivably attack small villages, they are considerably more. Now...we've got more room these days, a balcony and an extra bedroom, but we've pretty much managed to use up the space we've been alloted. Brian had bargained (with himself) that once he was through his operation and on the mend, then he'd get a helicopter. Shelley cleverly never agreed to this; mostly she'd open her eyes wide, turn around and find something else to do. We're expecting a refund on our income taxes this year again. Last year we got a pretty hefty one. We usually like to spend this money on something frivolous. Now Brian's idea of frivolous vs just plain stupid and Shelley's notion don't always agree. The saga continues.

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