I didn't think you would mind my including this older blog from October, 2011 that was sent only to my family.
I went to Mass at my regular Church today and arrived before the doors were even opened. I guess they open around 6:30AM, with Mass at 7. I’ve been getting to church earlier, as my speed and endurance have improved as I adjust more to the 8300’ altitude. I initially took 20 minutes, and now have it down to 11 minutes. This is the church closest to me.
However, when I walk to the one in El Centro, about a mile or so away, it takes me a good 15 minutes. Not bad for an old man with bad ankles and knees. My hips used to get very sore, but by continuing to walk, that has slowly started to get less and less sore. I’ve even cut down ½” on my stomach. No pain…No gain (or loss, in this case)
After I got home from Church, my Canadian neighbors had some good news for me, after returning from their house hunting foray. They finally found a beautiful rental house with some land, 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, a very large ‘American’ kitchen and much more. The owner is a doctor who is living in the U.S. This was his custom-built house while he was here in Cuenca. They signed a 1 yr. lease at only $450.00/month. I am so happy for them. We have become such good friends in such a short time. They are ‘genuine’ good folks.
I’m really going to miss them when they leave Nov. 1st, as they have included me in all their adventures. I am trying to get into another more modern apt/Condo complex, preferably on the 3rd. or 4th. Floor. I had a truly beautiful, new apartment lined up, but a newly arrived Gringo couple beat me to it by mere hours. I guess I wasn’t meant to have it.
All three of us have our Spanish lesson at 11AM, so we all headed out for the long walk to The Carolina Bookstore. It is run by a couple, Carol and Lee Dubs, from the State of North Carolina, thus the reason for the bookstore name.
My first class had us three and a lady from Poland, along with her 30 something son John, recently arrived in Cuenca. She speaks Polish, French and English, with a distinct English accent. After the first session, she felt it was too basic and went to the intermediate group. However, her son took her place at the second session. He is a rather handsome young man with a deep baritone voice. I think our lady teacher, Marie Elena, has taken a liking to him, as she was joking with him a lot.
After our classes, John asked me if I’d like to join him and his mom to a vegetarian lunch. Why not, I thought. Truthfully though, I wasn’t too thrilled by that prospect, but I am here in Ecuador on an adventure. Much to my surprise, my meal was excellent. I couldn’t even finish it all. The mile or so walk home was needed to ‘walk-off’ some of the food I consumed.
Sometime later that afternoon, Garth came in to my apartment ( I leave the door and all the windows open (no screens). He and Orilla were going to The California Kitchen (An upscale restaurant) to celebrate their good fortune in finding a nice rental house so soon, and wanted to treat me. Sure, why not?
Funny how food seems to taste better when it’s free. We had to take a taxi, as the restaurant was a pretty good distance away. We couldn’t have waited more than a minute, when we flagged down a taxi. Taxi’s here are like ants…all over the place. There are over 4400 of them right here in Cuenca. The driver had a hard time understanding Garth telling him our destination, but finally he realized where we wanted to go.
As we got out of the cab, I could see from the outside this was one fine place. Its name does not do it justice. Once inside I was very impressed by how nice everything was. It caters to Gringos like the 3 of us. Many more were already there being served. The owner Lee greeted us as we entered and sat us at our table. Then Lee’s wife waited on us and took our orders. Garth and I ordered the large hamburgers with a side order of chicken soup, and Orilla ordered some Italian dish with some white wine. Garth also shared some breaded and fried calamari with Orilla.
A lone gentleman was playing some sort of string instrument and was singing quietly. A very nice relaxing atmosphere indeed. Our food arrived quickly and the chicken soup was delicious. The hamburgers were very big and very good, but instead of being ‘medium’ were ‘medium rare. Neither of us complained, but just finished them…barely.
As we were almost done with our meal,the couple next to us said they were from Canada, not far from where Garth and Orilla had lived. After we were through eating and drinking, The couple pulled their chairs over to our table, and the next several hours were spent in tales of how all 5 of us arrived in Ecuador, and why. Even though the restaurant was locked down for the night, the owners never asked us to leave, probably because there were several other small groups doing the same thing. After exchanging email addresses, we decided it was time to hit the road.
We were extremely lucky as we left the restaurant insofar as a taxi was just approaching us. Garth immediately flagged him down. It’s normally hard to get a taxi after 10 PM (22:00 hrs.) Unlike the first driver, this one knew exactly where our apartment complex was, and delivered us home rather quickly, since the traffic was very light.
A very full, but fun day when all was said and done. I went to bed almost immediately and slept very well.
The adventure continues. Stay tuned.
Tags: Adventure Travel Explore