A Tour With Ups and Downs

Our social life continues to flourish. Yesterday, Howard and Mike came up to get us after offering to join us on the Cuenca tour bus. The bus leaves from the main park by the basilica. While we were waiting for the bus to leave, we noticed there were people filming in the park. We never did find out exactly what it was they were doing, but they were speaking English. We heard directions given to a couple to walk and talk as they were heading toward the camera. In the short time we were there, they had three retakes.

Five dollars a person covers the cost for a 24-hour ticket on the tour bus. Initially, I had thought it was a hop-on hop-off bus, but once we were on it it only made one stop. On the top of the steepest hill in the city, we stopped to taste an Ecuadorian drink. Of course, the tasting place was located inside a souvenir store. Regardless, the view from here was fantastic; you look at the entire city in one panoramic view.

This bus ride has caused me to rethink that the city is basically flat. There are more hills than what one realizes when just walking around the city. It is when you are on a tour like this bus that you realize how hilly it really is. Viewing the building and other markers from a different vantage point up on the bus’s upper deck, things look intensely different. This is neither better nor worse, but it gives one a diverse scope of the area. What was unfortunate was the bus never stopped or paused when we were near something I really wanted to photograph from up high. When it did stop, it was mostly in mundane areas that were not particularly photogenic. Lasting close to two hours, it was really well worth the cost. We did learn that Cuenca has 52 Catholic Churches, one for every week of the year. Whoopee!

Finishing up at the park once again, Howard and Mike suggested lunch. Across the park is Raymipampa, a restaurant we pass by often. I love the fact that they have used all sorts of kitchen utensils to create lighting fixtures. Clumps of spoons, forks, and knives painted in a deep sky blue and given a rustic weathered appearance hang from the ceiling with lights inside. Some other fixtures are colanders, spatulas, and so on creating shades for the lights.

Howard and Mike were gracious enough to escort us to the famous Maria’s German Bakery. Having been given directions multiple times, we still had not discovered it, but we were reconciled that the day we really made an effort to look, it was indeed closed. Ron bought a loaf of fitness bread; he has wanted a hearty dark bread. Since I gave up flour, he is on his own to eat it.

Shortly after returning home, we said a long good-bye to Mike and Howard just so we could linger on their landing for a few extra minutes. They live one floor up from the ground level, but we have two more flights to climb beyond them.

The guys had invited us to a gay mixer at a friend’s home this Saturday, followed by a dinner in town. Later last evening, we received two invitations. Howard and Mike invited us to dinner and Pattie invited us to a Valentine’s Party as well.

From: Howard
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 2:54 AM
 To: Ryan
 Cc: Mike
 Subject: Thursday night

We would like to invite you and Ron to our weekly cocktail night, this Thursday at 5:30, with our friends Curt and Scott. We are hosting this week.  We’ve proposed grilling chicken on the roof. Are you guys available?

 Howard

And
From: Pattie
To: Ryan and Ron
Re: Party
Hey, Ryan and Ron,
A friend is having a Valentine’s Day Party and asked me to send her invitation (attached) to you as well.
She is an American, who lived in Lake Chapala for 25 years (largest expat community in the world, we think) Robert and I also lived there for a couple of years.