Thursday, August 19, 2010

Of Good Deeds & Gentle Dentists

Just to demonstrate the vagaries of Sunday at the park, there were only 3 other people that showed up this week. The week before it had been a mob scene. The few days before Sunday had been damp and miserable and we suspect others thought Sunday would be the same. It was coolish (requiring a sweater) but it didn't rain and we enjoyed our walk. In the end, we chatted and reveled at the outing and ultimately we showed one of the newcomers where Brian gets his roast pig every week.

As usual on Monday we went shopping. Upon arriving home Brian picked up Fredi & took her to the park whilst Shelley put away the groceries one handed. It looks like it'll be several days before her wrist is without pain. A bright note is that we walked up to the grocery store without sweaters! The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze in the air, but essentially it was nice out. We put our faces to that bright orb in the sky and enjoyed it's warmth.

Departing from our routine, we went to a soiree at the CB Carolina Bookstore. There's always a good invited crowd at these events, and as it's pot luck there's always lots to eat and from a wide variety of sweet, savory, snacks & salads. We saw a few people we haven't seen for awhile, talked with friends and newcomers and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. A highlight of the gathering was a passing of the cup to raise funds to get a mural out of the clutches of customs in Guayaquil. This mural was created by some students in New York City paying homage to an Ecuadorian student who had been swarmed there and died from his injuries. The student was from Gualaceo, which is a village near Cuenca. The CB Carolina Bookstore has taken a lead roll, as well as a visiting New York City teacher, in organizing the transport of the mural to Gualaceo. It has been held up by customs for some time now but we were assured that the expat community had contributed enough money to free it from the bureaucratic clutches and get it to its new home. There has been National TV coverage in Ecuador regarding this saga. We will likely join a group of expats for a visit to Gualaceo for the presentation ceremony.

As we had nothing planned for Tuesday, we seized the opportunity and walked downtown to get our bus passes filled up. We do this about every 2 months and it costs us $10 each. The place we go to is a drug store just behind the 10th of August market just off Tarqui. It was a glorious day. Warm but not too hot. The sun was shining and the sky was clear. After doing our chore we sat in Parque Calderon for half an hour soaking up the rays, fending off shoe shine boys and watching other people watching people.

Shelley starts taking antibiotics on Wednesday and she gets her dental surgery on Thursday. It is a complete understatement to say she's not looking forward to the experience. She's been diligently brushing her teeth with the special brushes for gapped teeth and swirling salt water and mouth wash every 4 hours as prescribed. She has a minor fantasy that if she's particularly careful with all this pre-surgery stuff the periodontist will look in her mouth and exclaim a miracle has happened and she doesn't need the surgery. She knows it's her ever-twirling mind playing games with itself but she's hopeful just the same. Between her wrist hurting and her anxiety about her teeth, Brian's been a trooper. Attentive, sympathetic but not overly so, willing to listen when required and quietly supportive. Of course, now he wants a motorcycle like "everybody else is getting". Do you read the other blogs? Peer pressure is enormous! In any case, Shelley's reserving her admiration for Brian's ability to empathize until she's sure of his motivation. Do you think he'd trade a motorcycle for a helicopter? (Brian just jumped in and shouted: "Absolutely! And how could you possibly doubt my sincerity.")

As Brian had yet another cooking class on Wednesday, we did our morning chores and then took a walk through the neighbourhood (running into a friend). We ended up at Jo-Mar to pick up some salmon burgers and a seafood medley for chowder. Brian had tried to set up a cooking class on Tuesday as well. That one for roast lamb but they couldn't find enough people to take the class. If anyone's interested in taking a lamb class, contact us and we'll gather names until there are 6 and then contact Leslie letting her know she has a class. In any case, his class on Wednesday was for picnic food and once again there were half a dozen recipes from Swiss Chard Dolmas to strawberry salad. Any one of them would be a hit at any picnic and Brian remarked that it was a far cry from potato salad & fried chicken which seems to standard picnic fare in North America. We won't mention again that Fredi came out of her skin when Brian got home. Brian's class consisted of himself and 6 ladies. Do you think he had fun?

Aside: The other day Shelley was sitting on the balcony, reading her book, soaking up the sun which has been hiding the last few weeks...and a hummingbird pooped on her hand. Is that good luck?

Although the periodontist had told Shelley there were 4 spots that needed surgery, he only did work on 2 of them. She didn't remind him about the other 2, figuring they'd come up in the future if need be. Work was done on the lower right side and on the upper left side, so it wasn't as if he had left her with a chewing section. She was instructed to eat ice cream, soup, white bread & eggs, to ice the area for a day and to rinse with salt water lots. She was thoroughly frozen for all the work and it hurt less than getting her teeth cleaned. The periodontist gave her a prescription for some ibuprofen 600 mg but there really wasn't much pain associated with the whole thing. The total cost for the initial consultation, plus procedure, plus another appointment to get the stitches removed will be $198. While working on her teeth, the dentist assured Shelley that women were stronger than men. He explained he used to work for the army and hardened soldiers, killers of men, would cry in the chair. He also told Shelley she was young and beautiful, so the man was a total flatterer. Hard to believe these things when you're drooling down your chin, blood is spurting out of your mouth and your lips are cracking because they're so dry.


  1. Shelly, I am so happy that the pain of your surgery was not as bad as anticipated! Also please let Brian play with the boys. They went out today and put money down on two Motorcycles... they will pick them up on Wednesday.
    They were very sad when talking about not having Brian along in the "O.F. Motorcycle gang".

  2. Shelly, so happy to hear your dentist visit was not as bad as expected, and that you are getting along pretty well with your wrist.

    Please reconsider your stand on the motorcycle. The "boys" went out today and put money down on two.. they were very sad when commenting about Brian not being able to join them in the "O.F. Motorcycle Gang".

  3. Hi, I didn't know where else to leave this comment. I am in the States and looking forward to Cuenca some day.
    i wanted to both thank you and ask for more: I really like the photos of people. All the pictures you see all over the web of Cuenca are of the indigenous flower market/Mercado ladies. I was starting to wonder if they had regular looking folks (Ok, by USA standards - regular).

    But it is a question i have seen on 2 forums as well. So the impression is that if your a single guy you had better not even go near the place.

    So, I was relieved when I saw pic's of parades ect... showing the people in the parades and crowds.
    I would like to ask for more if you don't mind.
    Thanks, KM

  4. KM!

    We'll endeavor to put more pictures of "regular" people on the blog but also want to assure you that lots of single people (male & female) come to Ecuador and find places for themselves.