Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Day In the Life--Nov. 7, 2012

I'm often asked by folks who don't live here already, "So, what's a typical day like for you?"  It's hard to say because there is no such thing as "typical" for me.  I have a few things I tend to do with regularity but most days just seem to happen.

I've asked several people and they have agreed they'd like to see an occasional post that goes through a day with me, possibly including photos if I happen to have my camera with me and think of taking them.

Here's the first in this series.  If you like it (or if you don't) please feel free to let me know.  I love feedback.

Today I had one appointment and one thing I really wanted to do.  Of course it didn't actually turn out that way.

I started out with a quiet morning.  I chatted with my landlord for a little while, had a leisurely breakfast, and such things.  At 11:00 I had an appointment with a potential pet sitting client so I left here with plenty of time to get there because I was relative certain I would run into someone I know and we would want to share a few minutes catching up on what's been going on with us over the past however long.  I ran into two people friends and a dog friend in the park--just one of the perks about living in a small town--I always run into someone I know.

I got to spend about an hour talking with Kathy and Chuck and snuggling with Shatzee and talking about all kinds of things, some of which included puppy sitting and some of which didn't.  I even found out Obama was re-elected yesterday. (When I say I pay no attention to the news, I really mean it.)

I had intended my next stop to be the ATM but Eddie's (not the official name but it's what we call it), just a few doors down, called to me and I stopped in for a cafelatte' e caramello that rivals anything I've ever had in the States and I lived in Washington, espresso capitol of the U.S.  His shop has a very warm and comfortable feeling with comfy furniture along with some regular tables and chairs. He has a WiFi connection and there are magazines on the side tables and books to read (in both English and Spanish) in the bookcase up on the mezzanine level.  I wish I could do a little editing to lighten up some of these photos but we'll just have to go with what the camera takes.  That's Eddie behind the counter and a friend of his he roped into being the customer.  It was very quiet there today.  The last time I was in I got the last seat in the place.

This is the outside of Eddie's (on the left) with its who little tables and chairs for having your drink and possibly a snack al fresco. Next door is the leather factory (just that one door and the window to the left of it) where I went to ask if I could have or buy some of the little leather scraps that they planned to throw away.  I hijacked Eddie to help translate for me.  I came away with a bag of scraps that I think probably weighed about three pounds (photo at the end of the post).

Onward to the ATM, just another shop away from the leather factory.

On my way to the grocery store, I stopped in at the leather shop that belongs to my neighbors upstairs from me.  When I asked Fernando if I could take a photo he said I could but then started dashing out of the way so as not to get in the picture.  I caught him anyway, even if he is a bit blurry.

Ah, how I wish I could have gotten closer for the shot but it would have been extremely rude and the little boy would have been done peeing into the rainwater drain.  His mother was helping him because he's such a little fellow.

Just in front of Monica's Supermercado (grocery store) I ran into our local basket salesman.  He wanders the streets every day selling his baskets directly to people on the streets and to local businesses who mark them up and sell them as well.  I have several of the large ones but I decided I'd like to get a couple of the smaller ones.  I managed to talk him down from $2 for one to $3 for two.  They're hand made and quite nice so I feel pretty good about the price.

As he and I were completing our business, the little man on the right (again, being to lighten it up would have done wonders for the photo) came up begging for money.  We have about 10 regulars who live in Cotacachi and survive through begging.

After a little shopping at Monica's I headed home, running into a couple more people I know and stopping to chat with them for a little while.

I got home around 3:30 or so and the first thing I did, even before putting my groceries away, was to dump out my leather scraps to see what I had ended up with.  Just look at that mound of leather.  I plan to use it to embellish the knitted wall hangings I make.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet but something will come to me. 

You can see from the background of this picture that I have one of the wall hangings laying on the bed and a pile of the various yarns I'm using on my current project.  When I get one of them finished I'll take a photo so you can see what I've been up to.

Since then I've been playing with this blog post, knitting, and listening to an audio book.  Later I'll keep knitting and maybe read for a while before I head to bed.  

It was a lovely, relatively uneventful day that was very satisfying in its own quiet way.  This isn't all that dissimilar from many other days here.  

As I said, let me know if you want more posts like this or if you'd just as soon I stick with other topics.


  1. Nice...! That series of pics makes me feel like I'm walking alongside with you on that street. I could notice that, with the exception of the woman with the brown shawl and winter boots in photo # 6, most people are wearing summer clothes. I am a little confused because I had read that Cotacachi is a little on the cold side, but some people in those pictures are wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts (even no sleeves at all). Would it be different in another season?
    Edward Solano

    1. I'm glad you like the post.

      Thanks for the question--as far as what to wear here, it's all in what you consider to be "hot" or "cold." I love it when the weather is around 70 degrees as it was today and I'm quite comfortable in a short-sleeved shirt. On the other hand, I see people wearing jackets and hats as frequently as I see people dressed like me--perhaps more, especially the locals. It's pretty much the same weather all year. It's a little cooler in the rainy season (right now) than the dry season (what would be considered summer months in the northern hemisphere) but it's only a difference of 5-10 degrees at most. There were days this past dry season when it was hot enough that I was a bit uncomfortable--about 80 degrees. Fortunately my apartment gets the morning sun so by the time it's getting really warm, I'm in the shade and I never felt uncomfortable in here.

      One of the things that makes a bit of a difference here than where I've lived in the States is the altitude. At about 8000 feet, the sun feels a lot hotter than it does closer to sea level. If I walk in the sun, summer or winter, it feels about 5 degrees or so warmer than I'm used to. I solve that issue by walking in the shade when I can.

  2. I enjoyed this day in the life, realizing that all days are not the same. Enjoyed the relaxed feel of life there. I have been wondering...weren't you subletting the apartment from a gal who was going to be returning in October? Have you moved to another apartment? Or am I mis-remembering? I've heard that housing there is hard to find. Also wondering about sources for yarn in EC. Best regards, Pat

    1. Yes, life here is much more relaxed, though I did manage to over-commit for a while and it started feeling stressful. I backed off and am feeling much better. As they say here, life is muy tranquilo.

      Yes, I was subletting my apartment from someone but she has decided she would rather have a larger space and has turned it over to me on a permanent basis. Hurray! I would like to find something a bit less expensive but I really don't think I'm going to find anything I like as well as this for less money.

      Yarn is easy to find here. You can get it at the Otavalo market, especially on Saturday when it spreads out to neighboring streets. My favorite place to get pure alpaca or a wool/alpaca blend is in Morochos, an indigenous community not far from here. They raise alpacas and spin the yarn there. It's fabulous and costs approximately $10 per pound which is an amazing price. The wool/alpaca blend was $5 for almost 2 pounds but I think that price has gone up. I also found a yarn shop in Quito that sells yarn similar to what I could find in the States but not as much variety and higher prices.

      Thanks for asking.

  3. Cynthia - For some reason Barb can't post to your blog but wanted me to pass along congratulations on getting your place permanently and hoping you post some pics of your wall hangings.
    Ken - for Barb

    1. Hi, Barb--sorry you can't manage to post here. That's always so annoying when it happens to me. I'm glad you have Ken to do that for you.

      I'm pretty thrilled to be able to stay here permanently, too. It's pretty wonderful. Also, I will definitely post pics of the wall hangings as I get them finished. I think I have the first one nearly done, though I have the future owner coming over this morning and I'll see if she wants me to do more on it. Gotta love it when you sell something before it's even finished!

  4. Cynthia,

    I love this blog. I, too, lived in Washington, in Seattle and Tacoma and now live in Portland for the last five years. My wife and I are coming to Ecuador in April or May. We are hoping to visit Cuenca, Vilcabamba & Salinas. In search of a new place to live. Thanks for sharing a slice of your life here.