July 3, 2012

And, We're Still in Cuenca, Ecuador

Here's lookin' at ya!
Photo by Eva Schuster
Well, we had a bit of good luck — didn't have to move out of our apartment while the flooring/plumbing work was being done. After much discussion and a whole lot of experts coming in to opine, it was decided that the real issue was the cold water shower pipe and not how the floor was laid. This meant that the main bathroom was torn up for three weeks. 

In the process, it was decided to completely reroute the cold water plumbing above ground, along under the baseboards in the living/dining room area. Not the most attractive solution, but we don't own the place.

The bad luck was that in all of this, the place was covered with dust from all the sawing through the tile. Blech. And, of course, this three-day job turned into three weeks. But now all but the worst of the cosmetics is completed. In the process, we discovered that any project in Ecuador turns into a major group event. And everyone has an opinion. What a magilla! 

Not only were there engineers, architects, and plumbers, plus the owner, the neighbors got involved, too. It appears that the plumbers did two really duff things: (1) they routed the pipes in such an exposed manner that it was unsafe and unattractive; and (2) they used as the water source the outside (not necessarily for drinking) water instead of attaching the feeders to the main line. The other thing they managed was to install the pipe in the shower incorrectly, so it leaked into the wall. So they had to completely tear up the shower again and fix it.

All-in-all, the plumbers had to "do" the plumbing repairs four times. And, in the process, they messed with the calefon (hot water heater) and broke the connections on the washing machine — all of which are now fixed. And the floor seems to now be fixed, too.

During all this, about a week ago, my system decided that I needed to have more fun, and I came down with stomach flu. It seems to be almost done, but I still feel a bit rocky. On the other hand, it did keep me housebound enough to finish the first edit pass on Kim Oh 4, the next in K. W.'s Kim Oh book series and to prepare questions for three interviews for California Literary Review. Now I have to read a couple of new books for review. And there is always more to do on K. W.'s backlist. 

But it hasn't been all work around here. We have met some wonderful people. Some have just been traveling through, others who have made Cuenca their home. We have had the good fortune to make friends with Diana S., an American who speaks fluent Spanish. She has helped us tremendously in getting bank accounts, phones, TV, and Internet set up. Next up for me is a visit to the optometrist to replace the reading glasses the simians at TSA Miami stole. Might help pick up my production pace. 

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a wonderful tasting of Chilean wines at the Mansion Alcazar, presented by Cousino Macul Wine House. What an amazing hotel. Very good wines, especially the Gris Cabernet Sauvignon (which had a lovely not-too-sweet honey finish). Met friends, drank wine, ate snacks  all in a stunning room.

The week before that, we were able to witness the annual week-long Corpus Christi celebration. The Parque de Calderon in the center of town was ringed by vendors selling colorful sweet treats. In the evenings, celebrants shot off fireworks and released the most beautiful paper and fire lanterns called globos. So cool. They floated and drifted in the air like bright jellyfish. Absolutely lovely!

For July 4, we are going to a fun restaurant called Joe's Secret Garden. Joe's is only open on Saturday and special holidays. The one seating is limited, so it turns into a private party. A great way to meet people and have some tasty food. This time it will be hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings. We don't go often, but we enjoy it when we do.

We have also attended a symphony concert and a fantastic performance by three South Korean dance companies presented by the local Ministry of Culture. Fortunately, we live about two blocks from one of the city's nicest theaters, which makes it pretty convenient. 
That's pretty much it for right now. Catch you guys again soon.

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