Having to download all of our credit card statements and bank accounts, to make sure they are current in my back-up folder took the greater part of the morning. Since being an ex-pat, I have had my credit card numbers from different cards stolen four different times. Each time was for something I had to order from the US, like university transcripts. I monitor the statements with an eagle eye. Rather than look at them online, it is good to have a handy copy for when there is no Internet service.
Once we were ready to get fresh air, our goal was to find the American Café. I had read on Gringo Post they offer a book exchange. We have a small pile of books we have both read and are ready for something new. We had the cross streets, but not an exact address. Without Internet outside of the apartment, I called our friend Mike to look it up. We were five doors away, but there is no outside sign. We had walked past it and missed it.
What we found was a nice American man who explained the place opened three weeks ago. They are still getting their footing. Suggesting we return for dinner, he explained they would have a classic guitarist and other performers. The menu looked appealing, especially with each entrée under $6. As for a book exchange, it was slim pickings, but we did manage to leave a Robert Harris novel for another by Gabriel García Márquez. Tomorrow, we will return for dinner; tonight’s menu includes left over pork chops I prepared last night.
From the café, we had all good intentions to visit the new city museum, we learned about upon our arrival. Additionally, our source claimed the tourism office had moved from where it was located last year to be next to the city museum. Attempt after attempt to visit the museum was in vain. For a week, we blamed it on Carnaval, but after that passed excuses ran dry. Looking for someone in the newly moved tourism office was difficult too. With brochures in the window, demonstrating such an office exists, we never found the door unlocked.
Around the corner, we remembered seeing another sign with tourism on it. Not certain if this was an official tourism office or a tour agency, we hiked up the long staircase to find out. Standing the lobby for minutes, no one seemed to be around. Every office visible to us lacked a human. After some waiting, a woman appeared from around the corner seemingly surprised to see strangers standing around. After a bit of discussion, she reassured us that the tourism office was still where we left it last year.
Crossing the park, sure enough there was a lovely young woman there to help us. Most of our questions were about museums. The metal museum that was never open last year is now permanently closed. We still want to revisit the statue and see if our favorite empanada restaurant is still in business. She was very helpful with bus routes too, which is great since there is no signage and no schedules printed anywhere.
Howard had sent me an announcement on Facebook about a new restaurant. He asked if we had been to Calle Larga Café, since it is just a couple of blocks from us. Seeing the tag “Restaurants in Cuenca” I thought the poster was the Ex-Pat in Cuenca who writes food reviews and has a Cuenca restaurant blog. As I read it, I laughed at “Best variety of burgers are on the men and very juicy with no fillers.” I commented on Facebook to Howard “Howard Wood I want to try the burgers on the men who are very juicy.” This of course brought further comments.
We had not been in this restaurant yet, but we stopped in, met Beth the owner and chatted about their menu. She had us drooling with their new waffle BLT made with two waffles, chicken, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Their prices are very reasonable. We are going to try to get there for lunch tomorrow. During the course of the conversation, Beth had mentioned she rented out five different apartments only to re-rent them to tourists. She just gave up one of the five, because with the restaurant now, it was too much work.
While we were along the river, we went to the Museo del Centro Interamericano de Artes Populares CIDAP. The entire collection consisted of weavings on the ground floor. The upstairs had a no entry sign and the gift shop, which was vibrant, is now non-existent. It was very disappointing. Walking along the river, we decided to look for the apartment Beth had mentioned, but with a large solid security gate, entry was not possible. Tomorrow, when we return for lunch, we will try to get the woman’s name from Beth. If she will give it to me…
Returning to the Mercado 10 De Agosto was a comforting and homey feeling. Our former avocado vendors were not near the door, but we did find others. We left for home with five avocados, five tomatoes, three onions, and two papayas for $3.75. In another area, we bought four sausage links for $1.75.
Just past the Mercado is a pet shop we did not remember seeing before. They had the cutest bunnies and in another window a kitten with a puppy. Watching their antics was priceless.
On the way back home, we were going to stop at Beth’s place again to see if we missed the directions. The big black door is between buildings of the University of Cuenca. Just doors away, we ran into a man we had met a Joe’s Secret Garden and a woman we had run into at the café in our building. After chatting for some time, we moved on, but Kate was heading in our direction, so we introduced her to Beth.
It was not until we were home and putting away groceries that I had that “Aha!” moment. When revisited the Facebook post from earlier today, it turns out that the person who posted “Best variety of burgers are on the men and very juicy with no fillers” was the same person we met today in the café. Talk about blunders.