Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rain and Vegetable Soup

It would appear I've finally started the road to recovery in earnest.  Not only did I sleep 12 hours last night, I slept most of the day as well.  That's got to be a good sign, right?

In honor of feeling so much better, I'm making a cream of vegetable soup that I can hardly wait to taste.  The vegetable beef soup I made a while back had all the hearty vegetables in it, including a lovely turnip that gave it that rich and hearty flavor.  This time, though, I'm going with the milder veggies.  I think the strongest one is broccoli.

The thing that got this started was the loveliest bunch of leeks I've ever seen.  They were no more than an inch in diameter and the white part was at least 10" long.  I couldn't pass those up.  With what I had at home and a few more additions, I have vegetable soup for the next week.

I'm not sure why I've been eating so much soup lately but whatever it is, I'm pleased with it.  Perhaps it's a warm, homey feel soups give.  After all, I've been here less than two months and I'm still getting used to what a different place this is than any other I've ever lived in.  Don't get me wrong, I still love it to pieces but the cultural adaptation is something I think I may have underestimated.  I find the differences in the available foods more pronounced than I had imagined.  The pace of life is so very different.  It's fortunate I'm well-suited to the whole manana culture because it could drive me nuts if I weren't.

I don't recall if this is something I've mentioned before or not but since I just mentioned it, I think it bears stating or repeating.  The manana culture is often interpreted as laziness.  That's not it at all.  Of course there are lazy Ecuadorans--there are lazy people in the States, in Canada, Europe--you name it.  This is different.  The closest I can come to it is to say that it's more like, "Yes, this is important and if I can get it done today I will but if it doesn't quite work out, well, there's always tomorrow, right?"  It's a little more than that but that's how I see the beginning.  There's also the, "I told Cynthia I'd be there at 3:00 but this little thing here came up and I probably won't get there until 4:00 or 4:30.  She'll understand."  Of course neither of these is something anyone actually thinks.  This is my attempt to describe it in a way that indicates a lack of malice or character flaws.

Of course this is more pronounced in Cotacachi than it would be in, say, Quito.  We're a lovely, small town with far less need for the hustle and bustle of the big city.  Quito has 2.5 million people and has an energy that is nearly palpable.  People who enjoy that kind of activity will love it there.  Cotacachi is for the rest of us.  The people here say, "Es muy tranquilo."  It's very tranquil.  That is both what I love about it and what makes the cultural adaptation a little more pronounced.  That brings me back to cream of vegetable soup.  It should be ready in just a few minutes.  That gives me just enough time to tell you about last night's rain.

I've been here during a heavy downpour of rain but it was mild in comparison to yesterday afternoon.  First, there were two separate fronts.  OK, that's not a meteorological observation but it's how it appeared to me.  We had two separate storms separated by about half an hour of sunny skies.  Not only was it raining pitchforks and hammer handles, the wind was blowing as well.  That's pretty rare here.  Yes, we have a little breeze but wind-blown rain is very rare from what I heard.  It's fortunate the temperature cooled down considerably just before the rain or I would have had my windows open.  It beat on my windows for well over 10 minutes before the wind shifted and it blew in another direction.

Julio says the water ran like rivers in the streets.  In a place where well over half the population walks nearly wherever they go, it was a tough time to be out.  Fortunately it lasted less than two hours.  It was a wondrous sight to behold.

There's the timer that says my soup's had enough time for the thickener to do its thing so I think it must be time for supper.

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