Monday, September 20, 2010

Not Too Much Wrong with this Retirement Picture

Shelley grew up in the highest city in Canada; Kimberley, British Columbia at 1,120 meters.  Cuenca is 2,500 meters.  A tad higher.  Nonetheless, despite all the discussion and talk about high altitude cooking, Brian & Shelley seem to find few problems.  You may not cook a cake as long as the recipe calls for, you instead cook it until it's done.  The same holds true with rice.  According to the web at altitudes above 1,000 meters, preparation of food may require changes in time, temperature or recipe. The reason is the lower atmospheric pressure due to a thinner blanket of air above. This decreased pressure affects food preparation in two ways: (1) Water and other liquids evaporate faster and boil at lower temperatures and (2) Leavening gases in breads and cakes expand more.  Whatever the reason, we cooked on an old diesel stove on the boat and got used to adjusting times for it's crankiness.  High altitude cooking for us seems to work pretty much the same way. 

Well, the big day was upon us, and we set off downtown on Thursday to pick up Brian's new jacket & pants.  The whole experience was a bit of a disappointment.  While nothing was so wrong that we stormed out of the store refusing to make payment, the pants had to be re-hemmed as they were too long and Brian feels the jacket is just a tiny bit tight.  Thus, we don't particularly recommend the shop where Brian had it made.  We caught a cab home and Brian again tried on the outfit, pointing out in great detail to Shelley exactly everything that was wrong with it.  What's the old saying:  try, try, again?  That evening, Brian had a dinner date at the home of a friend with another couple in attendance.   They had Caesar salad with chicken & baked tree tomato with banana bread.   There was good conversation, good food and it was generally a warm visit.  Meanwhile, Shelley made cinnamon buns to keep herself busy & tried fruitlessly to get to talk to her daughter in Canada who was home after having surgery.  Everything is OK.  You know, she just wanted to talk to her baby.

Guitar Playing on City Bus
Our trip to Parque Paraiso took place on Friday.  We've mentioned this before, but it could be the most funnest place as far as Fredi is concerned, in the whole wide world.  We walked around the park, stopped and watched some sort of memorial service or ceremony, listened to a traditional Andes flute group play their instruments and watched Fredi have the time of her life tearing round the park, playing with other dogs and looking at absolutely everything.  When we first came to Cuenca there were always vendors and one man bands on the buses plying their trade.  About the same time they brought in the new pay system, they seemed to have banned most of the vendors.  You can still see them on long-haul bus trips, but rarely on the buses around town.  In any case, on our trip home there were not one but two guys (not at the same time) playing guitar.  One accompanied himself with Andes flute and the other with pretty poor harmonica.  All in all, it was a good outing. 

Brian at 10 de Agosto Market getting Roast Pig

Coolish out and semi-threatening rain, we wandered downtown on Saturday and Shelley window-shopped for shoes (as usual) and we ended up buying 3 DVDs ($4.50) but nothing else.  We walked home and it still hadn't started to rain, but Shelley was glad she was wearing her jean jacket.  We'd passed an obviously tourist couple while we were downtown and the woman had on quite a warm looking quilted jacket zipped up to her chin and still looked chilly, hunching her shoulders.  "She must be from Florida" Brian commented after they'd gone past us. 

It was off to the park on Sunday and we met and chatted with several people and then stopped in at the 10 de Agosto market and picked up 7 small tomatoes, enough roast pig for 5 sandwiches & a fillet of deep fried corvina for $4.50.  (Shelley figured she wanted a treat on Sundays too, and decided on deep fried corvina.  Will this affect her cholesterol level?)  We thought summer was here but it seems to have reverted to the coolish weather again.  One needs a sweater inside & out.  Monday we went shopping and Shelley made chili in the slow cooker, tossing in fried hamburger, chili seasoning (brought from Canada) hot pepper flakes and several cans of beans, vegetables, mushrooms & tomatoes.   Note:  anyone that wants to bring us something, can bring chili powder and/or currants; we'll reimburse you upon arrival. 

Shelley's taken a peek out of her bi-sexual purdah (Brian doesn't like this sentence, but Shelley dug in her heels) and found it same old, same old.  Coming up, we have a "dinner out" and a "social occasion".  Shelley will by-pass the crowd (the "social occasion") but will enjoy some time with puppies and people who appreciate puppies (the "dinner out").  Meanwhile, Brian naps & takes Fredi for walks and is solid and true & generally happy.  Not too much wrong with this retirement picture. 

Mounted Police at Parque Paraiso

1 comment:

  1. Shelly - I was happy to see some of your photos accompanying today's post (makes me feel like we are walking besides you.) p.s. I love puppies. Mary