Cuenca Ecuador - March 06, 2012
Even though it was raining lightly outside, I decided to walk into town. The closer I got to my destination, the harder the rain came down. Some time back I discovered a short cut through Mothers Park, just North of the Super Maxi grocery store. Combined with the short cut and my big 'golf' umbrella, I stayed dry. The road just over the bridge and before the 90 steep steps from the lower river area to Calle Larga, the main road at the start of town, was in a state of repair. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic, but pedestrians were allowed across. I had to be extremely careful as the mud was very slippery from the rain, and at one point, only one person could pass through a narrow area with 2 large piles of dirt on each side. The steps were also very slippery, so I walked up a little slower than normal...there are no handrails. OSHA doesn't operate in Ecuador...LOL
I stopped at the Carolina Bookstore first, to drop off a present for Carol, the co-owner, who has a birthday tomorrow. After a brief conversation with her, I went next door to Bananas Cafe to have my usual breakfast there. 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of great tasting bacon, 2 pieces of toast with marmalade, and a large cup of hot tea....total price $2.99..no tax. I was surprised when the English speaking co-owner came over to me and gave me a hug and a peck on the cheek. I thought that was nice and friendly. That she is pretty, didn't hurt either. She is always respectful and calls me Joseph whenever I enter. She makes it a point to remember her regular customers name. Goiod PR work there.
As soon as I entered, I saw 5 of my friends there. Usually I can count on 2-3, but 5 was great. Naturally I talked to everyone of them after I ordered, while I waited for my meal, during my meal, and after my meal. Wes was one of the 5 there and advised me he is taking the express bus to Quito on Tuesday to finally get his permanent residency paperwork. He was starting to get worried, as his visa was almost expired.
After finishing my meal, I paid the bill and proceeded to the German Bakery to buy some goodies I missed out on late last week. As soon I walked past the bookstore, I looked up and spotted the first friends I made upon entering Ecuador...Garth and his wife Orilla from Canada. They were heading to the bookstore for their Monday Spanish lesson. They both had a big smile on their face as they spotted me, as did I as I saw them. Garth said I was the person he was looking for. He told me he and Orilla wanted me over for Dinner again, before I left Ecuador. They are fantastic friends, and both retired Ministers. I first met them at the Quito airport on my flight to Cuenca. We hit it off immediately, they became my mentors and helped me get adjusted to Cuenca. That they were also my neighbors in the same apartment complex, helped a lot. Here we go again with the way things were planned by God.
After leaving them, I proceeded to the German Bakery 4 blocks North, purchased a bunch of goodies and a Cubano sandwich. They didn't press them on a hotplate like the Cubans did in Florida, and they did not contain as much meat either. I figured I'd have the sandwich for lunch or later in the evening.
So there I was heading back down the 90 stairs, across the street being repaired, across the bridge and into Mothers Park for my trip home. It had been raining just hard enough to have the umbrella open. As soon as I crossed into the park, I saw a couple that was obviosly from the States, headind toward me. Naturally I greeted them, and to my surprise, they stopped and chatted with me. They were originally from Las Vegas, had been in Cuenca 15 months, and had their permanent residency papers. The wife told me they had not been back to the States in those 15 months, and didn't anticipate ever going back. That same thought was told to me by many an expat.
By now the rain had stopped, and after about 10 more minutes of conversation, we parted ways, I thought. Surprisingly, they turned around and walked with me a short distance. They said they were going to purchase a few things from the Super Maxi, which was just past the Park. I left them and headed for the Millenium mall just East of the Super Maxi. I guess I still had a hankerin' for that pizza I failed to get late last week. As I walked towards Pappa Johns, I realized I had the Cubano sandwich, so I simply headed home.
A great day...Met 7 of my friends, dropped off a birthday gift, got invited to another dinner, and met 2 very nice expats from Nevada. Another day in Ecuador.
The adventure continues - Stay Tuned.
The Oldredneck - Joseph
Tags: Adventure Travel