Thursday, June 17, 2010

Navigating The City On My Own

We started today with breakfast at the cafe where we are staying. I had scrambled eggs with onions and tomatoes and toast with Papaya jam, yummy! Rod had a B.E.L.T. that’s short for bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato. We had fun chatting with our hosts Jenny and Chris and met another Expat by the name of Clark. Clark writes one of the Ecuador blogs that Rod reads and he and his wife have moved to Cuenca just recently. Clark was a teacher in Kentucky and like so many of us was concerned about retiring on his pension and Soc. Sec. in the U.S., so he and his wife and their two dogs picked up after living in Kentucky for 20 years and moved to Cuenca and they love it.

The Cafe Where We Are Staying

Jenny Making My Cappuccino

While we were talking to Clark, one of Marcelo’s helpers brought over the renderings of the house so that we actually had something to look at. We tried to tell her in our non existent Spanish that we needed to add a laundry room and only dos banos’ upstairs. I can count and say bathroom in Spanish, how far do you think that gets me?

Rod Studying The Renderings

I realized early on this morning that we were rapidly running out of clean clothes, so I asked our hosts if they knew of a laundry mat close by? They put two X’s on the map and gave me a garbage bag to put my dirty clothes in. Rod wasn’t feeling well and I was feeling adventures so I set off on foot with map in hand and a big bulging trash bag full of laundry. I literally looked like a bag lady.

Of course I didn’t need a map, I had seen a laundry mat across from one of the restaurants we ate at one morning. I knew I could find it again. Well after walking five city blocks with my bag that felt like 50 pounds, I finally sat down and pulled out the map to get my bearings. Of course once I did that I walked about a half block more and found not the laundry mats on the map, but the one I had remembered. I walked up to the little window and in my best Spanish greeted the lady behind the counter with a Buenos Dias’ and handed her the bag. She put it on the scale and when I asked her what time it would be ready with my excellent sign language I think she said 7:00 pm. I just hope our clothes are actually there when we go to pick them up as I was not given any kind of receipt.

Now I felt energized without that big bag and decided to set off to explore the city. After all I will have to learn my way around. I walked up and down streets trying to be mindful of my home base so as not to get to lost. The streets were bustling with activity, people walking everywhere, vendors selling their goods and of course lots of traffic. As I walked my senses were assaulted by all kinds of smells (not all of them good) and colorful sights.

Flower Market

I walked past bakeries, churches, flower markets, hardware stores, drugstores, feed stores and everything else imaginable. It was fun to look in the windows and see the activities inside. There were dogs laying on the floor of little street cafes, old people exchanging conversation and young women with their children playing in and around the stores. There were street vendors pushing wheelbarrows full of fruit up and down the streets. A hard way to make a living, but this is one of the things we love about Cuenca, everyone works and you hardly ever see anyone begging for a handout. I walked to the river once again and strolled along the side just taking it all in.

Biblical Museum

Structure On The River Bank

Houses On The River

Street Vendors


Feed Store Window

Look At All The Bees In This Bake Case
I Would Hate To Be The Clerk That Has
To Get A Doughnut Out Of There!

The Stairs To & From The River Built On Inca Ruins
You See We Will Quickly Be In Shape

After a while I headed home to check on Rod and found he was ready to go view the house again. We gathered our renderings and walked to the house to try and make heads and tales out of the layout. Once in the house, we laid out the drawings and began taking notes. We had a few ideas and wrote them down so that we can pass them by Marcelo. We counted the rooms downstairs and figured out we can do 5 rentals and one house keeper’s quarters. I went up on the roof to take a look and found that just as you step on to the roof there is a little room straight ahead (probably 6’ x 4’) that would make a perfect writing room. It overlooks the Blue Domes and one of the church steeples. I don’t need any more inspiration than that!

At dinner time we called an English speaking cab driver that came recommended by our hosts. What a relief as the last time we were here getting around the city in a cab posed quite a challenge. Angel (the cab driver) first took us to pick up our laundry and yes it was all there, neatly folded and waiting on us. We dropped the laundry back at the hotel before heading off to dinner. We chose an Italian restaurant on the other side of town that had good reviews, but we weren’t all that impressed. The menu was in spanish and we only recognized a few words so it was luck of the draw. Puttanesca is one of my favorite pasta dishes and that is what I ordered, but it wasn’t to my liking and there was shrimp in it which I didn’t care for. Rod ordered Calamari (what was he thinking?) and a pasta dish that had all kinds of seafood in it. We were really living dangerous tonight.

All Our Laundry Washed & Folded For $7.06
8 prs. of pants, 4 prs. socks, 6 shirts and more.

Angel picked us up after dinner and drove us to the main plaza where we topped off a bad meal with some good Gelato. Rod had a banana split made with Gelato (how decadent) and I just had a scoop of Limone Gelato, very refreshing after a heavy meal. We walked back to the hotel and Rod studied the house drawings once again.

Tomorrow we meet with the lawyer in the morning and again with Marcelo in the afternoon. It has been a long day and I’m ready to call it a day. We will see what tomorrow brings.

No comments:

Post a Comment