Tuesday, March 30, 2010

That Which is Put into a Pot

"What are we doing today?" Brian asked Shelley (as she seems to be the social director).

"Fredi has to go back to the vet" she advised him.

The vet gave Fredi her second dose of parasite medicine and told us to come back yet again in another 21 days. Poor Fredi trembles as soon as we enter the building. She shouldn't. The vet's always terrific with her, but it's hard to forget needles. After we left, we walked down to the Comisariato and picked up a few things you can't find at SuperMaxi and then caught a cab home.

Several times, with several different people, we've had the following conversation: "Back home in X, we saw the relatives from time to time & Y a few times a year but generally our social life was pretty dull. Here, we'd go out every day if we didn't manage it properly. What is it?"

Well...Shelley's concluded it's one of two things (or perhaps a combination of both): (1) Strangers in a strange land or (2) Second childhood back to the playground ~ "Will you play with me?" Take your pick! But the phenomenon seems to be quite wide spread.

As we're swiftly coming up on being in Ecuador for 2 years now, we've found that things have slowed down for us. When you first come there's the mad rush to take care of business where you originally came from, then there's the mad rush to see everything there is to see here, combined with the mad rush to buy everything you need to furnish your new life. Then there's the need to fill that new life with new people. As time goes by these needs are fulfilled and you start to get back to basics. This is not to say the glory of Ecuador, its vibrancy, its people, its wonderful landscapes (from sea, to mountains, to jungle) stop enthralling - it hasn't for us. This is not to say we're not thrilled to make new friends and enjoy the ones we made when we first got here. We have concluded that it probably has to do with the transition from discovery of our adopted land to it becoming truly our new home. It's calmer. We're more comfortable. More secure. This progression too is a natural phenomenon and we're grateful we've managed to reach this stage.

It was time to renew our bus passes so we walked downtown on Friday to take care of that chore. Afterwards Shelley wanted to go for lime tea so we headed up to the Nice Cream place on the main square. All the main square and surrounding blocks were stuffed full of teenagers in their school uniforms & many drum majorettes in their skimpy costumes. We happened to be lucky and just walked by a table in Nice Cream that was being vacated, otherwise with the mob scene we would have had to wait or leave. Along came a mother with her daughter and Shelley indicated to them that they could share our table. Turns out the Mom had spent 25 years in the United States and spoke wonderful English. Her daughter (born in the States) was living here going to Colegio Garaicoa and Mom was down visiting with her. Apparently all the kids were in the street because it was the 65th Anniversary of the Colegio Garaicoa. We had a nice chat with mother & daughter and traded cards so we may see them again.

We took a walk in our neighbourhood on Saturday. Afraid the rain would catch us out, it never did, we managed to get home without a drop. We ran into 3 people we know and stopped and talked on the street for awhile. One couple is getting a container sent down from the States and I'm afraid the rest of us told horror stories about that process. Then we swung over to the Jo-Mar seafood store in the Las Quadras building and picked up 6 salmon burgers, a bag of oysters & 5 shrimp burgers ($15). "You know at Granville Island in Vancouver that would have cost $40!" Brian commented to Shelley.

Sunday we went downtown & met some new people & went for lime tea & cappuccino. Shelley gave advice as to where to buy towels & we listened once again to horror stories about having a container shipped into the country. It was Palm Sunday and the streets were full of vendors selling elaborately woven palm fronds & aromatic herb bunches mixed with flowers. Monday we shopped and Shelley made something called Chocolate Pot. "What does that mean ~ Chocolate Pot?" asked Brian.

Shelley had no good answer.

Tuesday morning we woke up to the toilet leaking. With a myriad of experience from the boat, Brian managed to fix the problem armed only with a screw driver. We went for a walk and puttered around the apartment getting ready for the guests we'd invited that evening. This is the second time we've tried to invite a bunch of single people over for dinner. The first time we ended up with 1 out of the 4 we invited. This time we almost ended up with 3 but invited a last minute guest, so our average is improving. We served baked trout and cauliflower & broccoli with hollandaise sauce and mashed potatoes. At our request, our daughter had brought us a bunch of packages of "add milk & butter only" hollandaise sauce from Canada and it turned out great. The chocolate pot was good too! Shelley looked up the word "pottage" thinking that it might have something to do with that. Turns out it means "that which is put into a pot". (Not helpful.) In any case, we all talked about what we had been up to lately and our experiences in Ecuador and it turned out to be a lovely evening.

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