Saturday, August 14, 2010

Out of Gas

Grab this related post Widget!
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.

A cab!!

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.


Mick and Kathy Wesson said...

WOW...Those guinea pigs sound delicious. And now we know you are a great problem solver! We sure enjoyed reading yur blog today.

Mick and Kathy

indel said...

My comment has nothing to do with your article, sorry for that.
On I am monitoring the weather in Cuenca, and the forecast for Sunday to Wednesday it predicts as temperatures (day and night): 19/8; 20/9; 19/6; and 19/4. The Cuenca newspapers predict: 16/4; 17/4; 15/4 and 16/2.
You can see a difference of 3 or 4 degrees C. What is the real temperature? For the last week, it was the same, being more optimistic than the local newspapers.
I am thinking to sue either (or both) to cover my moving expenses to Cuenca :-)

Edd Staton said...

Dude, you know we arrogant Americans don't do Centigrade and metric stuff. The temp at this moment in our apartment is 60 degrees F., which feels damn cold to me. There has been a stalled weather pattern for days on end with chilly temps and no sun. Seems like we've moved to Seattle instead of Cuenca. Long-time residents tell me they've never experienced weather like this. I'm chalking it all up to "global cooling."

Sapa Ynca said...

Thank you Ed! I love reading the honest posts about life there. I live ( or am moving to) in a small farming village north of Quito (7500'). Yes its cold and rainy sometimes for long periods of time and this is the Sierras. But after a long SC summer...I really need it!
But let that sun come out and the temps change quickly. Ec has four seasons each day...and one of them is winter! VIVA!

Edd Staton said...

You're from GA and now SC? Same path as us before we moved to Vegas. Don't miss the bugs & humidity in the South AT ALL!

Sapa Ynca said...

I actually live on the river here in Clarks Hill, SC. First trip to Ec. in 1982 where I married my HS sweetheart, a Quitena. Been going back every year since. We have a small farm in the Sierras north of Quito and are in the process of the move now. Its been a hot summer with many days over 100 and I just about had it. Especially after I spent a month on the farm this summer. Nearly died when I stepped out of Hartsfield. I will definitely not miss the summers here!
I love reading the posts of folks who just moved there. It reminds me of what I forget after all these years. Sometimes folks "white wash" it a little but Ec. is still a great place! I hate cities so I stay away from Quito if possible. Thanks for the blog, its a great one!