After living here a couple of years I've commented that we know our way around town pretty well. Cuenca's not that big and it's not like there are that many choices for a lot of things.
But recently in casual conversations three different discoveries have been unveiled that each time elicited the same response: "Really-----."
The first was something so physically obvious that it's almost embarrassing to admit I had never noticed it. Especially knowing I've walked by the place at least 100 times. I'm talking to a couple who has a book DVD/exchange on Calle Larga, one of THE main streets in town and home of my own company TerraDiversa.
In reply to my question about location they say, "You know where the public bathrooms are, right?"
"Uh---no I don't."
"Well, they are blah--blah--blah---." The details don't matter. Thinking about those 100+ possibilities of saying, "Sure, I know that!," instead I could only reply, "Really----."
My feeble defense for never noticing this apparent landmark is that I don't walk on that side of the street there, and directly across from it is a busy bus stop where I'm concentrating on dodging people as I attempt to pass through. Still-----. Since then I've made it a point to acknowledge the place whenever I go past, perhaps to make up for prior times I've overlooked it.
#2 Someone says, "You know that place near San Francisco Plaza where they refill printer cartridges, right?"
"Yeah, you take in your empty cartridges and they refill them for like $3."
You see, imported things like this are expensive here. In the States my son (sadly) finds a deal for a new printer online every time his cartridges run out because it's cheaper to throw the old one away than replace the cartridges. Don't get me started----. We don't have that option here, so this revelation was significant.
And I've only walked past this place maybe 30 times if that's any consolation.
For #3 I don't have to apologize because it's in a part of downtown we rarely visit. Again while chatting someone says, "You know about the place that makes change, right?"
Change was a nuisance in my prior life but is a constantly sought after commodity here. Woe unto anyone taking a cab with nothing smaller than a twenty. In the grocery store they ask you for change. You cannot comprehend how learning of a location that turns bills into dollar coins (those Sacagawea Golden Dollars so reviled in the US are revered here) and 50 cent pieces can so simplify an already simplified life. When we're about to go somewhere, no more, "What do you have? All I've got is twenties. You too? Oh, crap!! What are we gonna do?"
This time it was, "Really---? Shweet!!"
All of this is to let you know that although I'm by some folks considered pretty "plugged in" around here, there are an unfathomable number of things to learn that can enhance your quality of life. And I'm so happy to find out about every one of them!
OK, Cuenca readers, what other nuggets of useful intel will you share with Senor Clueless?