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Monday, September 21, 2009

Spring is here and so begins Chritmas season!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Today, in South America, it is the first day of spring. We are still getting used to having our seasons reversed from North America. The other day Chuck and I were browsing at Super Stock, a local department store, and we were shocked to see that they are already all decked out for Christmas.

It seems a little too early to us, but maybe the stores in North America are doing the same.

Spring in Ecuador, also means the beginning of a new school term. The other day I was downtown and noticed a large group of people that appeared to be protesting. I photographed from a safe distance and then went on my way. I read in the paper the next morning that it was teachers protesting. Sound familiar?

Good news! We finally have a sofa and chairs for our living room. They were delivered last week. We still have to hang pictures and buy coffee and end tables but at least we can offer our guests a seat.

The last couple of weeks Cuenca has had it's Third annual Festival of International Arts. On Sunday evening, Chuck and I went to the Banco Central auditorium to see a Brazilian Tap Dance group. They were fantastic.

On Monday night, Rich, Nancy and I enjoyed a Jazz group from Switzerland. Another great performance.

We have had workers at our condo for the last two weeks. We are making some major plumbing changes in our guest bathroom (pictures of that later). By Friday we were both pretty tired and decided to stay home and watch a movie instead of going to ex-pat night. Besides, if we went, we would have to decide whether we wanted to go to the Eucalyptus cafe or Zoe's. There seems to be two different venues at the present time.

We called Ossie and invited him to come over and relax with a movie. We decided to go to Ricky's for dinner and then come home. But after Ossie arrived, Chuck came up with a interesting alternate plan. He remembered that clowns from Peru were performing at the Banco Central auditorium. We decided that the alternate plan would be more fun.

I phoned our friends, Nancy and Rich, and asked them if they would like to join us for dinner and the Peruvian clown show. They agreed to join us. We changed where we were going to eat. We decided to have dinner at Indian Bapu restaurant. This way we could walk to the clown event after dinner.

Chuck, Ossie and I took the number 3 bus to the restaurant. We started the wine while waiting for Nancy and Rich to arrive.

Chuck and Ossie waiting for the bus.

We have been wanting to get a group together to enjoy the special room upstairs at the Bapu and we just never have done it. Well on Friday night we got the opportunity. The music downstairs was so loud we could not hear each other, so we asked if we could go upstairs to have our dinner.

We took our wine upstairs and had the place to ourselves. Sitting on the floor was a challenge for us. We sort of fell into our places.

We had a wonderful meal and we could hear each other without the loud music. It was so much fun.

After finishing off the second bottle of wine, we decided that we were having to much fun to go see the clowns from Peru. We ordered a third bottle of wine instead.

We had a great time and visited for a long time. So much fun. I highly recommend the upstairs of Bapu for a group get together.

Until recently, there has always been free entertainment at the central park on Sundays. Cuenca has had some budget cuts and the weekly Sunday entertainment seems to have been a victim. But we read that since the festival was going on, there would be entertainment this Sunday.

Chuck and I took the bus downtown early so we could enjoy a late breakfast before going to the park.

We went to the Raymipampa, which is located right next door to the cathedral. Unfortunately, we could not get window seats, but I photographed a lucky couple who did.

As usual, I almost forgot to take a picture of my food. But after only a couple of bites I remembered. I had a crepe with strawberries and cream. Yum.

After breakfast we crossed the street into the park. There were a lot of people there, so we knew that the word was out about the entertainment.

We met Shelly and Brian (Sunday park regulars) and chatted a bit. All of a sudden we saw a couple of clowns walking through the park.

They went to where the people had gathered and started the entertainment.

Afterwards, Chuck and I decided we would walk home along the river. I forgot that walking home along the river meant walking uphill all the way. This meant that we took several rest stops along the way. This is a picture I made of the river while resting on a large rock.

When we got home, there was a message on our Skype and a message in our email for Chuck to call his brother.

Chuck learned that his mother is hospitalized and is not expected to live. Within two hours Chuck had secured air tickets out of Quito and left to try and get a flight from Cuenca to Quito. He called me from the airport and said that he was going to have to take a bus. It is an overnight bus and would get him to Quito in time for his 6:00am flight to the U.S.

Please keep us and all of Chuck's family in your prayers.


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