Sunday, March 25, 2012

UNHEALTHY IN CUENCA

My title leads me into what has been happening since I last posted. To say I have been sick is kind of a bland statement to the fact that every time I coughed it sounded like I was moving my lungs out of my body. Surprisingly, my chest muscles are not sore!

 Since the 15th of March, I have been down and out with a "cold". Randy who is not one to go to the Dr. let me wallow for a few days. I was taking Sinutab and just trying to remember not to touch anything, lest Randy have a hissy about how he did not want to get sick, and to just back off. Side note: Randy HATES being sick, and is really down when he is, so he avoids all those who even hint at illness.

After 3 days of getting worse, and I still was not willing to go to the doctor, my philosopy was.. "Randy, there is no color.. that means no infection, it's just a cold. What could he do that the Farmacia cannot do"? So Randy being the great caretaker that he is, trotted off to Farmacia Economica and let them know my symptoms and what I was currently taking. They gave him some Comtrex and Codeine pills, along with a antibiotic in case infection started in.

I have to say, this is pretty nice, since the owners are the parents of our doctor whose office is right upstairs. But most pharmacies are like that here, they are able to give medications without a prescription, and in this case I was very happy, because the idea of walking or even riding the scooter up to the doctors was NOT on my todo list.

I double checked the antibiotic to be sure I could take it ( I am allergic to penicillin), no issues there. But like I said, there was no infection.. just a horrible cough, a wet rattling in my chest and head congestion. Randy had moved to the recliner after the first nite of horrible coughing and snoring, so the only one who really benefited from the codeine was me.. I slept all nite. Oh it was wonderful. I still was propped up on 4 pillows but I could sleep!

I meandered between the bed reading, computer cruzing, bed knitting, and bed sleeping. Day in, Day out. One nite I went down and tried to sit and watch TV with Randy, but I gave out after the 1st hour of watching Vampire Dairies. I love that show, so to give up after one show (we have the whole season 2) tells you how lame I have been.

Randy has stuck pretty close to home, making sure I took my medicine, drank water and generally stayed away from his "clean zone". But the following Thursday I was getting alot better and by Friday I was out for a quick  3 pm coffee at Mocha Cafe with a bunch of friends. Saturday, we taxied to San Sebas and were treated to Breakfast by our friend Paul. Then on Sunday, today, we rode the scooters over to Kookaburras for breakfast.  I managed to make it all the way without one coughing fit so I think I am "healed".

It has been nice being back out and about, the weather has been sunny and I get to see what all has changed in one week! There is even a new store at our Las Americas Mall where the Supermaxi is. It is a Indian type store with all kinds of beautiful wood bowls, and folding wood bowls, and ornate clocks. There are some beautiful Sari type shawls and scarves as well. I will have to start saving my pennies to buy something nice from this store, any of those items would go great in our eclectic themed house. (notice the reflection in the window.. thats our scooters)

I am hoping I have more to talk about next week. We are going to try to go to a Blues concert on Monday nite. Then we will see what else is going on for the rest of the week, I got lost time to make up for!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

MANAGING LIFE IN CUENCA

We have mentioned before that we occasionally help some friends with their rental Penthouse Condo when they are traveling. Well lucky for us we get to manage the condo for a few months. This provides me with more of an outlet to "manage" other people and be sure that they have a good experience here in Cuenca.

Our current tenants are the nicest couple from Canada. They will be staying for a month, and because they have had so much travel experience they are very comfortable discovering the city and surrounding areas on their own. So before they got a chance to take off exploring, we met them at the San Sebas Cafe for a nice lunch and visit.
This cafe is in a remodeled part of the area surrounding the San Sebastian Plaza and Church. It is a very pretty square and lends itself nicely to the cafe, art gallery and high end specialty clothing store that are right next to the cafe.  Right across the street is the Museum of Modern art. So just going to one or the other gives you the opportunity to discover all the other places nearby!

I had to take a photo of my food.. it was called Mexican corn cakes with Pulled Pork
It was muy delicioso! Everyone else at the table said their food was just as good, but I may have to have a disclaimer on Randy's choice. It was some kind of hotdog.. I am sure he liked it, but my choice was by far the healthiest!

Because of the awful hail and water pouring into the house, Randy conceded to "look" at some other houses available for rent.  I do not have any photos because after looking at one I agreed that we need to stay here and try to see if our Landlord will fix a few things to keep the water from running back into the house. Here in Ecuador, when you rent a house it is not a done deal that the landlord will fix problems in the house. Alot of times if you do not have it written into the lease, you are out of luck.  Even then it may be a struggle. Our landlord is a very nice man and has tried to help out on several occasions, but in his mind this is not a big problem and a bit of kilz paint over the mold in the bathroom is all that is necessary; not finding the source of the problem. I am still trying to not take this personally, and just know that this is the way folks think here.

We have not had any significant rain in 3 days! So for me, and this house, that is a good thing. We went and bought a new hose, $12. Our old one burst. This one has odd couplings on each end, and we cannot figure out how it works. When we turn on the water the spray nozzel that came with the hose pops off! It is a compression fit, but our compression does not seem to be enough to keep it on the end of the hose! Very odd..
Our Tomate de Arbol tree is very happy, sad looking, but very happy! It has all kinds of fruit on it, we have been picking what we can reach to give to Monica, the house keeper. She loves the fruit. She makes juice and ahi with them; but its way too much work for us.

The hummingbird feeders are busy all day long, we are having to refill alot more often than normal. We are not sure if "the word" has gone out or if they are stocking up for their "winter" season.

Living up this high in the Andes, gives you a new appreciation for the Sunsets and the Moon. We have mountains all around us so our sunset is a quick dip behind the mountain, add to that, the almost ever present puffy clouds that meander through and you are most likely to miss the sunset. I have found that missing the sunset is ok, what I have missed seeing is the moon. The other night Randy casually walked in and said, "we got a full moon tonite", WHAT? You can see it?? I ran outside to see it and yes, it was there and very pretty. As I ran back in to get the camera, Randy laughed and said, I don't think you will be able to get a picture of it.. well I tried with every setting on the silly camera.. and I managed to get one!               Happy Moon beams every one!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

PAUTE 152 YR CANTON CELEBRATION

Last week we took our friends Christine and Kim to Paute as they had never been, and we love the small town atmosphere, as well as the warmth of the place!

We wandered all over town trying to get around the massive parade taking place in this very small town. I think folks from far and wide came there. I have never seen so many people here before.  The driving question we all kept asking was, what is a Canton ?
 Here is the answer I found in Wikipedia:
"Cantons are the second-level subdivisions of Ecuador, below the provinces. There are 226 cantons in the country, of which three are not in any province. The cantons are further sub-divided into parishes, which are classified as either urban or rural..."

These are the pictures I took. We didn't realize we were at the end of the parade until we found the beginning... afew hours later!
Important Folks get the bleachers and shade!
Here comes the military!
This guy had to be sooo hot!

This poor guy.. he must have drawn the short straw.. walking in full hot camo and packing the SAMS!

 Pink camoflage?  I am just trying to figure out where in the world this would be used?




               Food Vendors were out in force, He is offering hard boiled quail eggs... peeled.
                         These folks were getting the Cuy ready and  Yep those are nakey guinea pigs!

Anyone need some camoflage bustier dresses? We got 'em here in little Paute!

The parade kept coming and coming so we decided we would dodge around it and head over to the Open market. Sundays are normally a big day, so add the celebration on top of that and these folks were inundated with new customers!

                                                                   Giant Cabbages!
                                                                       Giant Papayas!
Remind me to never complain about my shoes again.. this little lady was begging from the vendors.. quietly and sweetly asking for a little fruit or vegetable..She was very "anciano" and crippled.. a little birdy told me that our friends secretly donated some change into her basket when she was not looking..

We decided we needed to try to find our friend Jani, and go to lunch.  I talked everyone into hiking UP the hill towards her house. I think Kim was about to stroke out with the heat, so I left them in the shade on a nice bench.. As I headed off to Jani's house I found the beginning of the parade. These poor kids had been waiting HOURS to begin the parade.  I made sure to take pictures and smile ALOT.. they were already wore out!

                         She is hanging on for dear life..it is a long way to the end!

                                     These kids have yet to being the parade.. it is almost noon!
                                                   And this little piggy went home!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

HAIL IT'S FUN IN CUENCA!

My posts have had a continous thread lately.. rain. We have found out that Cuenca has had 50% more rain than normal. Not that that relieves the sogginess around here, but at least it gives us hope that next year will be different.

The weather in Paute last week was marvelous, and when we got home we had HUGE puddles of water all over the house. It had rained here. What we did not know was that it had Hailed as well. Monday the hail returned with a vengence, and those of us here on the West side of town got about a 10 min. show of what mother nature can do!

video
Unfortunately when it hails like this we get almost as much water in the house as out. We had  every towel, washcloth and even afew pillowcases spread all over to sop up the water.
video
I have a longer video of the hail if you are interested. I cannot get it to load on this site. Let me know I can email it to you if you would like to see it, or look on Facebook, I have it loaded there.

We have not let the soggy weather deter us from having some fun in between storms. We headed out on Wednesday to Nectar, a Vegan/Raw restaurant here in Cuenca. It has good reviews on Trip Advisor, and a variety of reviews from those we know who live here.. so we were off to check it out.

The photo above is just the first soup course of the Almuerzo or Menu del dia that is offered daily.  This menu consists of fresh juice, soup, main dish (ours was a bean and rice dish with a greensalad) and then dessert, for $2.75. We returned on Friday with other friends and had another delightful meal. I hear they are beginning Brunch on Sundays and that will be a larger menu for 6.95. We will definately return, both times the food was good, and the atmosphere is fun and welcoming!
Friday nite California Kitchen had a Jazz group playing for the dinner crowd, and it was crowded! We met up with our friend Nancy Hofmeister and enjoyed the music and seeing other friends from around town.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and it had the wonderful "Jazz" atmosphere.. sans the smokey haze!
Just want to say what a great job the crew of California Kitchen does when they have these events. They weave and wend their way in between the packed crowd, trying their best to make everyone happy and move the food to their tables as fast as possible.. all with a smile and good nature. Thanks guys ya' did good...once again!

Despite the rain and hail, the new under/over pass continues to move right along.. rumor has it that at this point they are a bit ahead. We are hoping that it continues to progress on this early path!

I just had to add this photo of the clouds the other day.. they are so pretty.. how funny.. now that I see clouds all the time I think they are pretty.. when I lived where there were brown hillsides I thought they were pretty.. I guess I am very adaptable!