Thursday, June 3, 2010

All in All

It's a fact (for those wondering) that we don't throw a hissy fit if we can't go shopping on Monday for some reason. Just the other week we had to postpone it to Tuesday and a couple of months ago we shopped on a Sunday. Nevertheless, Monday we went shopping. Shelley finally found a muffin tin and we got 3 jars of Heinz green relish (!!!) that we've been seeking forever. Someone assured us we could buy green relish in Ecuador but until now we've been unable to find it.

If you click here there is a re-print of an article written by Lee Dubs (one of the owners of the CB Carolina Bookstore) that is a must read for anyone thinking of coming to Cuenca. Our own wish, coming to Ecuador, was to assimilate into the society. This is not so easily done if you don't speak the language. We are friendly with several Ecuadorians but cannot claim a real friendship with any. In time we sincerely hope this will change as our language skills get better. For now, we always remember we're in "their" country and have to accommodate ourselves to their culture. Except for perhaps pedestrian right-of-way, we've had minimal trouble adjusting this way. For those who come complaining and decrying where they came from was "better", we have a simple answer: go back!

Tuesday we went out to dinner with several couples to the LaVinas Italian Restaurant (Luis Cordero 5-101 y Juan Jaramillo). The evening was to celebrate the arrival back in the country of a couple whom we'd all met several months before on their initial exploratory tour of Ecuador. It was supposed to be a surprise! There we were, waiting, sitting in the restaurant and the fellow of the couple walks by with their dogs. We wave. He waves. So much for the surprise. It was a nice evening but typical of any gathering at a restaurant with more than 4 people: you end up talking with the four closest to you and no one else. Nevertheless, fun was had by all.

It's been raining pretty hard off and on for the last couple of days. The river is high and actually went over the low bank last evening. Even though this is considered the rainy season, it still doesn't hold a candle to the rain in Vancouver. Here, we know that the sun will shine soon and the rain never goes on day after day, night after night like we were used to back in Vancouver. There are several "blog people" arriving in Cuenca during June. We're looking forward to meeting them but wonder if June is the best month to make your initial acquaintance with Cuenca. We first came in February when the rain in Vancouver could easily go on 40 days & 40 nights and it was cold and the days were short. Arriving to warmth with only an occasional heavy shower was a wonderment we apparently have never gotten over.

One of the first places we ate at in Cuenca was the Raymipampa Restaurant, just off the main square downtown. It serves the traditional potato soup which is a must try for anyone coming to Ecuador, the menu is in both English & Spanish & quite extensive, the service is good and the prices are reasonable. It's a lunch place, not fine dining, but very popular with both expats & Ecuadorians. In any case, we often suggest this as a first meeting place for new people we've talked to through the blog. On Wednesday we met there with a couple from California, in Ecuador for 2 months to find out if this is the place for them to retire. They chatted about their experiences so far and we gave them a couple of pieces of advice and all in all it was a nice lunch. That evening we went to the Galeria de la Alcaldia de Cuenca (Bolivar y Borrero) to see a showing of Liza Wheeler's mosaic works. As always, the work was wonderful and there were several people we knew and could chat with. We seem to have a pretty busy week lined up for ourselves. Brian asked Shelley if we had anything happening Thursday and when Shelley replied in the negative, Brian heaved a great sigh. This is retirement: 4 social obligations in the same week is high chaos for us.

As we intended Thursday to be a quiet day, we only took Fredi off to the nearby vet to get her nails clipped and then went for a walk around the neighbourhood. Upon arrival back home there was a brown-out. The elevators weren't working and the TV & computer didn't work, but lights came on dimly. We'd witnessed someone topping a huge eucalyptus tree on the way home and the top 30 feet or so of the tree had come down with a loud crunch, like it had hit something important. The noise of the crash drew quite a crowd out onto the sidewalk. We wondered if the brown-out was because of that? It lasted about an hour and then things were back to normal. Later on Shelley made muffins for future breakfasts and Brian made fried rice and a sweet & sour chow mein for dinner that evening. All in all, it was a pleasant, quiet day and we really enjoyed ourselves.