Saturday, November 14, 2009

Señor Presidente!

I ran into the president of Ecuador again today. I heard some political chanting in support of Correa, and when I saw a huge crowd gathering, I realized that they were all trying to get close for a photograph. Once even closer, it appeared that he was signing autographs and allowing fans to get photographs taken with him. I tried to get closer, but his security personnel were resistant. Later, I decided to follow the crowd, and brought Eric with me. When I found myself next to the president, I called his name (Mr. Correa!!!!), he turned, and I got close and personal and asked him if I could have a photograph taken with him. He was gracious and posed for a photograph and I introduced him to Eric. Correa asked us where we were from and what we were doing in Ecuador. Eric was giddy with excitement. Correa shook his hand and gave me a kiss on the cheek (which is the usual sort of greeting for Ecuadorians). Eric was inexperienced with the camera, so the photographs were not great, but we were thrilled! You never know what will happen and what kind of experience you may have here in Ecuador. Just two weeks ago, we were a few feet from Correa in Cuenca, and in August near Independence Day, Maya and I were fifteen feet from Correa, Garcia (president of Peru), Raul Castro (Cuba), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), and Bachelet (Chile). I can't imagine that it would be possible in the United States to be in such close proximity to the head of state!

Close But Not Quite Close Enough!

Getting Closer!

A Hug and a Kiss!

I volunteered to help the Canadian women sell items at a booth at an international exposition, with kiosks from all the embassies. We had met last Wednesday in Cumbaya to make 'Nanaimo bars', which sold very well today. They are shockingly sweet and rich and calorific, and we enticed customers by giving them a small taste, which compelled them to buy either one for a dollar or four for three dollars. There were all sorts of Canadian and Ecuadorian items for sale, and by the end of the day, almost everything on our tables was gone. The Canadian Embassy had two tables right next to ours, and did well too. Maya came to help me, and was so enthusiastic about selling, she did not want to leave. I had signed on for a couple of hours and ended up staying all day. I invited Isabel and Erika and the family to visit, and they all came, so we joined them for lunch outside, where food from all sorts of countries was being offered. It was while eating that we saw Correa. He spent most of his time in front of the Belgian waffle booth, which made sense because his wife is Belgian, and he lived for some time in Belgium. We had already eaten our waffles for dessert.

Maya as 'Vendedor'!

Canadians in Ecuador

There was a stage and folkloric dancing, which was quite wonderful, and music and capoiera demonstrations. Eric would not leave until he was sure he had not won one of the raffle prizes (there were over a hundred, some quite generous, such as airline tickets and trips to the jungle and horsebackriding lessons etc). We won nothing.

Capoeira Demonstration

I had planned all sorts of activities today. It was gorgeous and sunny until around five, when it started to rain a bit, which is a good omen, and gives us hope that it is raining in the south and filling up the hydroelectric dam. Maya and I walked across Carolina Park in the morning, which was full of people playing volleyball ('ecuavolley' with a soccer ball), basketball, tennis, biking, running, walking, rollerblading. I imagined that we would join them after my shift at the international fair, and perhaps visit the botanical garden and see the butterfly exhibit.

Instead, we stayed at the fair all day and left in the dark. We have electricity tonight. We may have missed the power outage while busy selling nanaimo bars. Or perhaps the rain has made a difference and electricity may be flowing again.

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