Saturday, March 15, 2014

The New Normal

Grab this related post Widget!
I often think that there's not a whole lot to write about after almost four years of living here in Cuenca. Seems like we live a "normal" life--going to the store, preparing food, washing dishes, doing laundry-all the regular activities of folks everywhere.

But when considering the activities of just the last few days, I realized that what we have come to consider "normal" is actually pretty special.

Thursday night we attended the private launch of a new restaurant, Salvia. Owner Gavin Quinn formerly ran the kitchen for St. Paul's Cathedral in London and has cooked for the likes of the Royal Family and the Dalai Lama. He and his wife Karen are bringing what they call "Modern European" cuisine to our city, and based on the delicious and remarkably inventive dishes they served I can say with confidence that a new standard of excellence in dining is about to be established here.

I was going to see a band afterwards doing cover tunes of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and the Rolling Stones. The late hour plus too much wine consumption made me reconsider the wisdom of that plan.

Yesterday morning we went to a "Breakfast & Bingo" event at California Kitchen sponsored by my health insurance company. We're normally ease-into-the day peeps who don't go out for breakfast, but the 9:30 start time was doable and we decided to trot out the "por que no" (why not?) philosophy that has served us so well.

I know--I know. Bingo? First thing in the morning?? Turns out we made a good decision. The food and camaraderie were great, and by winning the final game Cynthia put about $25 in her purse. She's going to "pay it forward" and spend the money next week at a local charity event.

We were taking an afternoon nap when I awoke and felt the bed move. "Huh, Cynthia must be dreaming," I thought. Then it really moved. Her eyes popped open and we both said, "Earthquake!"

It only lasted about 5 seconds. I got up, checked the computer and, sure enough, a 4.8 quake hit over near the coast. Ho-hum--another day in Ecuador.

Last night we met friends at a gallery for an exhibition of British art put on by another couple we know. I've been walking past that gallery three times a week for over a year on the way to the gym and had never "seen" it before. Afterwards we went to a Spanish tapas restaurant downtown I found online that all four of us admitted we'd passed dozens of times and also never "seen."

Great discovery and great food. A pitcher of sangria, bowl of gazpacho, another bowl of a tomato/eggplant/zucchini mixture, garlic shrimp, chorizo in white wine, rice pudding, and flan set us back about $36.

We polished off the evening by strolling across the river to a large park for a free performance by a Pink Floyd tribute band. My God, there had to have been at least 5000 people there (4996 + 4 gringos)! The guys honestly did a super job. It was interesting to hear so many kids in the audience singing along. Cynthia's hairdresser does the same thing at her salon, admitting she has no idea what the words mean.

This afternoon we're rounding out the weekend with a potluck party honoring the daughter of friends who has come for her first visit. Tomorrow the front door will most likely remained locked all day. We'll probably sleep in, stay in our PJ's all day, cook a nice meal, and maybe watch a couple of episodes of House of Cards.

The specific events change, but come to think of it, most weeks are some version of this one. Damn, our "normal" life is pretty awesome!


Stewart said...

Having that kind of "normal" week sounds wonderful! After doing my extensive research of Ecuador, via computer and those who live and have lived there, Cuenca sounds ideal. One thing that keeps coming up in conversation is the lack of sunshine. I'd like to get your thoughts on that.
Thanks for the great post!

Edd Staton said...

Stewart, when we lived in Vegas the sky could be cloudless day after day. Here it is just the opposite. Clouds are continuously present in varying degrees. This morning, for instance, it is almost completely overcast. In an hour the sun will probably be out. Later this afternoon we may get a shower.

When the sun is shining, even though the temps are only in the high 70's, it feels really hot because we're right on the equator. During stretches in July & August when the skies are continuously cloudy, our thermometer reads in the 50's inside our apartment.

Keeping up with snowstorm after snowstorm this winter in the US, I feel blessed that my biggest concern regarding our weather is deciding if I should put on a sweater or carry an umbrella.

Greg Simonds said...

Hello Edd,
Great set of posts!
Would you mind emailing me regarding a book I am researching about expats in Ecuador?
You can reach me at greg.simonds[at]gmail[dot]com

Thanks very much!
Greg Simonds