I'm sitting here this morning enjoying a Moramosa. You've never heard of this drink because I just made it up. The Mora berry is kind of a cross between blackberries and raspberries. Juicing is HUGE here, so I bought some at the mercado (market) and Cynthia whipped up a blender full. Champagne + Mora juice = my new Ecuadorian equivalent to the Mimosa, the Moramosa. Cheers!
I hate blog diaries. If you've spent any time investigating the blogiverse you know it's primarily populated by boring people who manage to yammer on about their uninteresting lives while simultaneously butchering the English language. These blogs are unabridged versions of the insipid Facebook status updates which inform the whole world that one is "off to work!," "s-o-o-o tired," or "making lasagna tonight."
And yet I'm aware from conversations with friends back in the States that people are curious about what the hell we're doing with ourselves down here in little Cuenca, Ecuador. So this one time I'm going to deviate from my normal thematic postings and share a recap of this past week, hoping you'll find the writing at least mildly entertaining and informative (and grammatically correct).
Monday---Memorial Day and looking forward to grilling some burgers. Looked at rental property all morning: a huge old house downtown & two disappointing condos. Walked our asses off looking for an organic coop we'd heard about (and never found it). No lunch, exhausted, & no burgers happening because it started raining. Bummer. So we splurged & treated ourselves to a wonderful dinner at a new spot to at least finish our worst day here on a happy note.
Tuesday--Bumped into some friends on the way back from the grocery store and accepted an impromptu lunch invitation at a great new place called California's, whose owners we'd met at breakfast Sunday. Ate with them & some real estate people and set an appointment for Thursday to see another rental house. Chatted with some guys from Atlanta we keep seeing around town. Got invited the next night for drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and a visit to a new art exhibit. We're beginning to feel like Jim Carrey in "The Yes Man." Stopped by to see our buddy Alberto at Casa Ordonez and bumped into folks who had just arrived that we'd met here last year. Cooked the hamburgers for dinner; they pretty much sucked--the meat's too lean here.
Wednesday--Firedrill! Got an instant message around 10:15 that an agent wanted to show us a house at 11. Of course we said "yes" and hustled over there. Beginning to see a pattern--the old houses are huge but need serious updating; the apartments are more modern but boring and too small. Hope we can locate a suitable compromise soon because our stuff is somewhere in the Pacific and heading this way! Had a lovely time at our friends' home this evening and walked to the exhibit in the rain. Expected a poor turnout because of the weather, but it seemed every expat in town was there. Spoke with acquaintances and met a bunch of new ones.
Thursday--Looked at the rental house--this one needed updating AND was too small. Went house-hunting with our Cuencano friend whose farm we visited last weekend. We told her to pick out a restaurant for lunch serving typical food. My God, she ordered a HUGE meal for us that demanded a siesta but none was forthcoming because we were on a mission to find a place to live. Then a miracle happened. We were just driving around looking for "for rent" signs, saw one, and discovered an incredible unfinished penthouse apartment. We loved it and will sign papers early next week. We even get to pick out the paint and granite. TeamStaton does not settle and we had faith if we kept the intention strong the perfect place would reveal itself. Hooray!! We celebrated with wine on balcony watching fireworks and these eerie glowing UFO-looking objects that were floating one after the other into the sky. There is apparently some big Corpus Christi celebration happening in Parque Calderon for the next 8 days. Our Internet server Googles results in Espanol, so if anyone out there can fill me in on what's happening here please let me know!
Friday-- Our friend is having a birthday this weekend. We're taking her and her husband out to dinner tonight, but we want to do something else special. I decide to make guacamole using avocados she gave us from a tree on her farm plus give her some flowers. The nearby florist has beautiful exotic flowers but no vases--go figure. So I head to the mercado. There is no way to describe what an adventure this always is. Nobody there speaks a word of English; you have no idea what a lot of the produce is or what it costs; the area around the market is pure sensory overload of noise, activity, & merchandise. I eventually locate the ingredients and a vase, head back to the florist, then return to the apartment to pull it all together. After walking our gifts over to her office we take a siesta, have a brilliant dinner together, then stroll over to the park to check out the festivities. Wow. The square is packed, huge fireworks are being launched literally 10 feet from where the crowd is mingling. US safety standards do not apply here. There are rows of booths the length of a football field selling all imaginable sweets--pastries, candies, candied pastries, pastried candies. The "Jolly White Giant of Cuenca" sticks out in this crowd like an alien invader, of course, drawing curious and constant stares from the locals. We purchase an assorted stash and call it a night.
Saturday--We're supposed to go pick out the paint & granite. Against all odds we actually find the stores but they're both closed. Well, at least we know where we're going Monday. We decide we might do a better job with this assignment if we have tile & wood samples from the apartment so we wander over there with a script I've written down to show the security guy. A great idea but we can't figure out how to alert him of our presence. Against all odds Part II a Caucasian sticks his head out the 2nd floor window & asks (in English!) if we need help. He lets us in the gate & chats a bit, then we go upstairs to measure the space and find some flooring remnants. Bless his heart--our new friend comes up to offer me a year old Time magazine in case I'd like something to read. I was so touched by his kindness. Stopped by the Super Maxi, ran into another guy we met last year who we discovered in chatting lives about a minute from our new place. Saw a heavy metal concert in progress (who knew??) walking back here with the groceries. Made a spaghetti dinner, drank too much wine and crashed.
Today--The Moramosas are flowing; a ham/cheese/onion/mushroom/tomato omelet has been prepared and consumed. Life is good. Ciao