July 29, 2010

Getting the Job Done

I’ve been busy getting the apartment in shape. Even though it’s a rental I felt I needed to do some renovations to get it just the way I wanted it--it's the designer in me! I was lucky enough to find someone who’s done a great job of taking care of everything I’ve needed done. The building is owned by an architect and Rodrigo started working for him as an apprentice in his construction crew 32 years ago, when he was 17. Since then he’s learned pretty much every trade needed to build a home from the ground up.

It’s been such a boon to have someone who knows all the ins and outs of Ecuadorian construction and who’s been absolutely dependable and trustworthy. We’ve been working very hard but, of course, everything takes twice as long as you had hoped. This is not peculiar to Ecuador and I’m used to it, having renovated a few homes in my past. But we’ve been making steady progress and I’m looking forward to my first dinner party some time in the near future.

Unfortunately, every time I step out of the apartment I’m intent on carrying out a specific mission and so I haven’t been bringing my camera and I’ve missed some great shots! But I did take some pictures a couple of weeks ago of some roses I bought at the flower market. The colors were just so pretty and the blossoms were unusually large. This whole bunch cost $2 and they stayed fresh and perky for 10 days--these shots were taken around the eighth day!

These are eggs of every kind of domestic bird--clockwise from the top you see two duck eggs, a few pigeon eggs, five goose eggs, and two very large turkey eggs. The indigenous lady who was selling them told me turkey eggs are good for the nervous system. I may need to try them if the renovation work isn’t done soon!

July 22, 2010

A Foggy Journey

I arrived in Cuenca on July 6 after quite a complicated journey. I can sort of laugh about it now...sort of. It makes me tired just thinking about it and people have told me they need a drink after hearing it so I’ll spare you the details. I will only say that I ended up having to fly north to Toronto, then down to Colombia, then past Ecuador south to Peru, to finally arrive in Guayaquil 26 hours after I left New York.

And then, because I arrived in Guayaquil at 1PM and the next flight to Cuenca was at 6PM and I couldn’t bear to spend one more minute waiting at an airport, let alone five hours, I hired a car for the drive to Cuenca, which normally takes 3 hours but because there had been a landslide a couple of days prior there was a one-hour wait to pass the site.

And then, there was heavy fog, which always makes for an interesting time traveling on those narrow curving bumpy roads with those sheer mountain drops. At that point I hadn’t slept for around 36 hours so I was not a happy camper. I faintly remember growling at people a few times.

I was inexplicably cheered by the sight of this industrious and resourceful woman who set up a make shift restaurant by the side of the road where cars had a long wait to pass. I’m sure it went up overnight and will come down as soon as the opportunity is gone. Ecuadorians are truly hard working people.

So here I am, busy getting my apartment in working order. I should emerge from this phase sometime in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to a nice long rest.