After being here for three months Cynthia and I have still developed no routine or schedule whatsoever, with the exception of our standing appointments for massage every other Thursday. We go to bed and get up whenever we feel like it, go to the grocery store when we run out of food, and say "yes" to pretty much every invitation that comes our way.
This plan (or lack of) has worked out exceptionally well and provided many opportunities thus far, although over time we know some sort of schedule will most likely evolve organically. Yesterday, however, our carpe diem lifestyle hit a speed bump which almost caused a crash today.
Our stove and hot water tank are connected to a gas tank located in the basement of our building. We keep a spare handy to avoid the obvious "running out of hot water in the middle of your shower" problem. Whenever replacements are needed you call and delivery often happens in less than an hour (h-m-m-m---these folks could sure teach the "Manana Brothers" working--a relative term in this case--on our apartment a few lessons).
Well, night before last Cynthia noticed the water was sure taking a long time to get hot in the kitchen sink. Uh, oh. Did we forget to call? Down to the basement I went. Lifted the spare--light, which means empty. Lifted the one hooked up--maybe a little heavier at best. Yep, we forgot.
Usually no sweat; we would just call first thing the next morning. But yesterday mucho sweat because: 1) this is the three day Ecuador Independence Day weekend, and they hook their extra day on Friday instead of Monday like in the States and 2) we were going out of town early yesterday anyway.
So Cynthia and I both crammed into a small shower stall built for one at the same time and rushed to get clean with the little hot water left. Those of you who know me won't be surprised that I actually enjoyed the experience; those of you who know Cynthia---um, not so much.
We successfully assumed enough Kama Sutra poses to complete the mission and went off on a delightful day trip. Now it's Saturday morning on a holiday weekend and we still have no gas. What to do?
First I boldly call the phone number to the gas company. A torrent of Spanish voicemail spews out with no recognizable mention of "for English press 1, for Spanish press 2." Damn it. I know what I said in an earlier post, but that was all theoretical and philosophical. This is real world stuff--we can't cook or take a shower here, people!
OK, so forget about that. The company's not that far away, so I decide to ride my bike up there and personally scope out the situation. As I approach I see no vehicles, no lights, nobody. Double damn it. Wait--the driveway to the back lot is unlocked. Yes!!
No. Zero activity back there either, but I see one truck sitting in front of the office. God, whoever's in there, please speak English, please speak English. He does, at least enough for me to understand that there are no deliveries until Monday, and the lot is open until 1 o'clock for drive-up exchanges.
"So you're sayin' there's a chance" (Dumb & Dumber reference--sorry). Except I have no car, my bike's out of the question, and it's too far to walk carrying an empty tank (these are much larger than the ones for your gas grill, guys), and carrying a full one back would be impossible.
Hold on. What am I thinking? I've got thousands of cars! They're all yellow and, like a wizard, with a wave of my hand I can instantly summon one. No magic wand needed.
I zip home, haul both tanks to the street, raise my arm and sure enough--POOF!--my chariot appears. We load up the trunk and drive away. Ten minutes and a couple of dollars fare later two full tanks are in the basement, one is hooked up, and we're back in business.
There's no great moral to this story (Where there's a chill, there's a way---nah). It's just a quick anecdote to demonstrate the resourcefulness required to survive--and thrive--in new surroundings. Predictable? Never. Challenging? Sometimes. Fun? Always.
Happy Ecuador Independence Day, everybody!! Gotta go throw some guinea pigs on the grill.