Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Looks aren't everything.

Recently, the folks of the home where we keep our extra things received this lovely new shower head as a gift from their daughter and son-in-law.  I have to admit, I fell for it.  I just couldn't wait to take a shower.  There would be lots of water!  It would have good pressure!  

There's just one tiny problem.  Because most showers are electric here, you have to choose between heat and pressure.  The old nasty shower head easily reduced the water to a trickle so that at least that trickle would be hot.  This lovely mechanism is unable to reduce pressure sufficiently to obtain water that even resembles hot.  

So, if it was up to me, I'd get this beauty uninstalled as quickly as possible.  
Looks definitely aren't everything!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Homemade popsicles

We've been studying with Álex and Gaby, their daughter, Muriel, and Gaby's mother, Sra. Zoila for several months now.  Álex professed when he was a young boy and the workers studied with his family in Latacunga.  After his mother died, the rest of the family basically lost touch with the workers until now.  It's been good to see their interest.  Álex has lots of memories of the workers from when he was young, but this is the first time for his wife, daughter and mother-in-law to hear such a thing.  

This last Saturday when we went for the study, Muriel announced that she had made us ice cream.  Apparently, she loves to cook, and this was her latest project.  Next time she has promised to make us cupcakes.

Salad for lunch

After getting back from our study in Puerres on Thursday, we went into a nearby restaurant for lunch.   Since vegetables are somewhat lacking in our diet here, I decided to order a salad.  

Here it is.

Each vegetable had it's spot on the plate - cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and onions - with shredded carrots and canned mushrooms covering the top.

Not exactly like a salad we'd have at home, but it wasn't too terrible.  I ate over half of it, though I did leave the onions alone completely.  

Will we make it to meeting?

This past Wednesday, we were scheduled to attend the midweek Bible study in José María Hernández.  It's a morning meeting with no definite time attached to it because of transportation difficulties; somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 is the goal.  On August 16, Ookyoung and I arrived at the spot in Ipiales where we can catch a vehicle (car or van) on its way out of town headed for José María some ten or fifteen minutes before 10:00.  (We usually count on half an hour of travel time from Ipiales to J.M.)  When we got to the "bus stop," there was no car there, but the lady who does the "dispatching" from that spot called to the terminal advising them of three passengers (the two of us and another man) who were waiting for a vehicle to J.M.  It would be there shortly, she told us.  We waited and waited, and within twenty minutes or so, our van arrived from the terminal (which is some five minutes away).  Okay, we're still good on time if we're going by the 11:00 meeting time.  The problem is, the van was empty of other passengers.  That meant we had to continue waiting until it filled up.  Finally, somewhere around 10:40, we had the required number of passengers to make the trip, and we were on our way.  

And as it turned out, we weren't even the last ones there!  The other man who comes from another little town outside of Ipiales finally had to come on a motorcycle taxi because nothing else was leaving for J.M. anytime soon.  

So, the transportation here definitely makes trying to arrange specific "meeting times" a little tricky!  

Sra. Carmen's house, where we have our study, is at the top of the hill at the "end" of this road.

Schedules and such

It's always fun trying to get a bus from Ibarra to Tulcán when we return to Ipiales on Saturdays.  

This is the schedule posted on the window of the Expreso Tulcán office at the bus terminal in Ibarra.

The hours that they give you verbally are 7:00, 8:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, etc.  

The reality is that the buses tend to leave whenever they want.

On August 5, we arrived at the terminal between 10:00 and 10:15 to find that the bus had already left.  There is only one bus company that leaves from the terminal with destination Tulcán, so we just sat around and waited for the 11:something bus.  

The following Saturday, we saw that we were not going to make it to the terminal before 11:00, so we  asked the taxi driver to take us to the bus stop on the edge of town where all the buses from Quito pass by on their way to Tulcán.  There are more options here than at the terminal, but there are also typically fewer seats available, so it's a bit of a gamble.  Since we were somewhat in a hurry that day, we decided to risk it.  And what good fortune we had thought we had.  Not thirty seconds after we got out of our taxi at the bus stop, a Tulcán-bound bus with plenty of free seats pulled up.  We got on and after a short while, away we went!  Before we even got out of Ibarra, however, our driver pulled into a gas station and just sat there.  We weren't filling up with gas, but phone calls were being made, and it just caused a person to wonder what was going on.  However, after about ten minutes or so, we pulled back onto the road and continued on toward our destination.  Not ten minutes more and we were pulled over to the side of the road with no hope of going any farther on that bus.  So now all of us passengers are standing at the side of the road waiting for another bus with available seats to come by.  Nothing.  We waited and waited and not one bus going to Tulcán passed by.  Finally, the driver consulted with the powers that be and agreed to take us back to the bus stop where he had picked us up in Ibarra.  By this time, there was a good crowd of people waiting at said stop, and with all the passengers of our bus added to the group, Ookyoung and I decided to just take a taxi back to the terminal to get a bus from there, guaranteeing us a seat.  

So because we weren't sure whether or not we could make the 11:something bus that day, we ended up on the 1:something bus.  Oh well.  You win some; you lose some.  It's just hard to predict how your luck will go when you're dealing with Ecuadorian buses!  And we did eventually make it to our destination, so the story ends happily.  

And had everything gone smoothly (as we would have preferred), there would have been no story to tell!  So, every cloud really does have a silver lining.  :-) 


Yes, it's a picture of a door.  And not a great picture at that.  It's basically to remind myself of the incident.  

We had arrived to Gladys' home after our Tuesday evening Bible study in Tulcán on August 8.  Since the hour was late, and supper wasn't quite ready yet, I decided to get as ready for bed as I could before heading downstairs for the meal.  I closed my door, put on my pajama top, took out my contacts and arranged my things on the nightstand.  Just took a minute or two and I was ready to rejoin everyone in the dining room.  I turned the door knob and nothing happened.  I turned it the other way and nothing happened.  When I say that nothing happened, I mean that the knob itself turned, but the mechanism that opens the door did not move.  "Ookyoung?" I called, not sure if she was upstairs or down.  "Yes."  Oh good, she was still upstairs.  "Are you able to open this door from the outside?"  Turns out, she wasn't.  That meant we had to get everybody involved.  Gladys and her daughter, Luna, joined the party, and after trying a couple of credit cards and a knife, we eventually got the door open.  The bedroom that I use in that home is quite nice, but I wasn't looking forward to spending the rest of my life there, especially considering my slightly claustrophobic tendencies.  We taped the "locking mechanism" flush with the door so that it wouldn't close, even accidentally, during the rest of our stay in that home.  All's well that ends well.  

Happy Birthday, Ashley!

August 2

Happy 30th birthday to my little cousin and Mama Extraordinaire, Ashley (Gordon) McPherson!