Monday, October 11, 2010

A Canadian Thanksgiving in Ecuador

Everything is a bit topsy turvy for us this week.  Thursday, we put together 10 books and went down to the CB Carolina Bookstore to trade in same and find out from Lee what was happening with the Marcelo Lucero Mural to be dedicated in Gualaceo this weekend.  Marcelo Lucero was murdered in New York in a racially motivated hate crime two years ago. Students from his Long Island high school created a Peace Mural in his memory.  It's been a long haul for many people getting the Mural into the country, getting the various duties & charges against it paid and actually getting the materials ready for the whole thing to be mounted.  We traded in our books and picked out 10 more and Brian & Lee discussed the agenda for Saturday and the dedication of the Mural.  Afterward, we stopped in at Bananas next to the bookstore and Brian picked up one of their absolutely wonderful (!) turkey  sandwiches to take home and eat for lunch.  That evening we went out to a Birthday Bash at the California Kitchen.  There was a lovely diverse group of people and 3 dogs.  Everyone (including the dogs) was well behaved and had a good time!  Brian had a double bacon cheese burger.  When it arrived, we couldn't decide if he was suppose to eat it or climb it!  The food was great, the company was gracious & interesting and we had a very good time.

The next day, Brian advised:  "I don't want to go out!  I just want to sit around and do nothing.  I want a down day."  We discussed whether he shouldn't have had that last glass of wine the night before and decided it wasn't that but the gargantuan amount of burger he'd eaten.  "I was afraid to move in bed last night I was so full."  As it turned out however, Brian ended up taking a trip to Mount Sinai to see if a friend was booked in.  The friend had called us the day before asking us to recommend a Doctor and had advised they would let us know how things turned out.  We heard nothing.  We tried phoning but the phone instantly went to Spanish.  We tried emailing with no success.  So we figured a quick bus trip to the hospital to check their sign-in board wouldn't hurt...and then we'd know.  Shortly after Brian left of course, Shelley got an email from our friend.  Not in the hospital but afflicted with a horrible stomach ailment and on 4 different medications & a restricted diet.  Our friend was laying low.  We feel really bad; that really sucks!  After an hour's outing, Brian off on his fruitless bus ride & Shelley taking Fredi for a walk, we spent the rest of the day laying low ourselves. 

Bright & early Saturday morning Brian got up and set off to the bus station for his trip to Gualaceo for the dedication of the Marcelo Lucero mural.  Shelley & Fredi, of course went for a walk, but spent most of the day making pecan pie & Christmas fruit cake.  The pecan pie was for Canadian Thanksgiving on Sunday and the Christmas fruit cake was for mellowing to be unveiled during the month of December after much coddling and pouring on of old Spanish sherry.  Fredi kept a pretty tight vigil in the kitchen just in case something good to eat ended up on the floor.  There was flour & candied fruit & nuts & dishes & pots & mixers spread throughout the kitchen and it probably was a very good thing Shelley did this while Brian was out of the house.   Brian arrived home around 2 o'clock in the afternoon and reported that the dedication event went very well.  He got to meet the family of the young man and said that the whole experience was very emotional and touching.  It was televised and speakers included the Mayor of Gualaceo, the young man's sister & mother, and representing the gringo community, Lee from the Carolina bookstore.  Lee was accompanied by the teacher from New York City whose students created the mural.  It was made clear during the speeches that Canadians as well as U.S. Americans had contributed to the memorial.  Brian & a friend had almuerzo in Gualaceo before catching the bus home.  He told Shelley that he found the trip to be very rewarding and was happy that he was able to go.

Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday was a cooking day for us.  We tried, for the first time last Christmas  one of those turkey roasting bags and were amazed & pleased at how fast it cooked the turkey and how moist the turkey turned out, so of course we used one again for Thanksgiving.   Brian had cut up the nice bread we'd purchased and dried it out in the oven the night before, so at 9:49 in the morning he was busy making stuffing.  We'd invited our guests over for 3 o'clock and intended to eat at around 4.  That way, one has all evening to digest.  Fredi got her walk and a bath.  Brian got his nap.  The company arrived and fun was had by all.  It's the big holidays where you miss your kids the most.  Back in Canada one daughter cooked a turkey and sent pictures of their festive table and another daughter had 2 turkey dinners in a row, one bar-b-qued.  All the U.S. Americans around us found it a slight oddity, our Canadian Thanksgiving, but we enjoyed the day.

As usual, Monday we went shopping but there was no cooking in the house that day as we had plenty of leftovers from the day before.  Out of curiosity, Shelley looked up Thanksgiving on the web specifically with regards to the differences of Canada vs the U.S.  Wikipedia supplied the following information:  The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean.  Frobisher's Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming; his safe return from the search for the Northwest Passage.  In 1578 he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey.  The traditional origin point for Thanksgiving in the United States is the celebration that occurred at Plymouth Planation in 1621.  Apparently Australia, Grenada and the Netherlands also have a Thanksgiving day.  In Australia May 29th is dedicated to saying "thanks" to current and former Australian troops for serving. Funny, we call that Remembrance Day in Canada and we believe in the States they call it Veterans Day.  We wonder if the Australians eat too much on their Thanksgiving day? 


  1. Happy Belated Thanksgiving! I enjoyed your history of Thanksgiving and, of course, your recipes and pictures (what an eye for photography you have). Un abrazo fuerte! Connie, Mark and Mocha

  2. One thing folks can do when they visit is to start taking Pepto Bismol tablets ( 1-2 day) a few days BEFORE they arrive to Ecuador. Then continue one a day while they are there. I have done this for years and never been sick when I did. The Pepto kills the bacteria that is foreign to out stomachs and that is what makes us sick. Also tell them to drink a lot of water while they acclimate. These things do help a lot! Hope he feels better.