Frederico Flintstone update: upon taking a closer look, the poor guy is taking his hammer and chisel to boulders! Is that what you'd call a rock the size of the base snowball on a Frosty the Snowman? I couldn't help but think of that old song, "I Fought the Law and the Law Won"---a'bustin' rocks in the hot sun----. This cat doesn't look like an Ecuadorian Rodin, so who knows what the final result of his efforts will be. But it seems our 7:30 alarm clock isn't going away any time soon.
Mornings in Casa Staton are devoted to fitness, and yesterday was one of three gym days each week for me. After beating my legs, arms, and abs into submission, I ran (not literally) a couple of errands downtown before meeting Cynthia for lunch. My gym is a 10 minute walk from home on the edge of the historic district, so I usually take advantage of already being in the area to take care of other business.
I saw in Cuenca High Life, an excellent local online news and information website, that the owner and chef of La Cuchara Magica is having a special performance of close-up magic. Since the announcement said seating was limited to 40 people, I thought it would be a good idea to drop by and make reservations.
The restaurant is on Gran Columbia, which at present is an absolute war zone due to construction of the light rail system scheduled to open---eventually. I feel so sorry for the merchants suffering through what has already been months of chaos--no cars, fences around the work areas, dirt everywhere. I regretted not having my camera to show you the scene and realize I must always have it with me in the future to give you glimpses of life here instead of just telling you.
Anyway, I finally get there and--surprise!--the place isn't open during the day. Oh well, that's only about the 1000th time something like that has happened. Onward to my favorite video store. There are tons of merchants all over town selling bootleg videos of just about anything you want to watch for $1.00-1.50 each. Don't judge. In a country with a minimum wage of $366 per month few people could afford legitimate $20 movies.
This store I like has "real" copies, not those hold-up-a-camera-in-the-theater versions, and the owner has always been gracious with exchanges in the rare instances of a poor quality disc or no English. We're latecomers to the Downton Abbey party, and I bought Seasons 2 & 3 before crossing the Tomebamba river (super high and fast after all the recent rain) for lunch at one of our favorite almuerzo spots, Black Coffee.
After a $3.25 lunch that included a big bowl of lentil soup, fresh juice, spaghetti Bolognese, salad, and a small dessert, we went together to an ATM to get some cash and the pharmacy for Cynthia's eye cream, and then enjoyed a leisurely stroll home. My favorite part of Latin American culture, a long siesta, followed.
Trivia Night at Cafe Eucalyptus was lots of fun. Having participated in these events numerous times I've realized you don't get smarter or dumber from week to week and that it's all about the questions. Sometimes we've won and other nights we've sucked. Our group finished a respectable 3rd place and everyone contributed, but (for us at least) it's not about winning as much as camaraderie with good friends.
Coming up tomorrow--absolutely nothing planned. Let's see what transpires.