Sunday, November 8, 2009
Peaceful Day in Cumbaya
We enjoyed a peaceful uneventful day at a friend's house in Cumbaya, and were thankful for it. There has been altogether too much adventure in our lives these past weeks, so it felt good to relax. I had met Maria at the two Canadian women's events in September and October. She has lived in Ecuador for 19 years, having met her Ecuadorian husband when he was studying in London, Ontario to be a neurosurgeon and she has an eight year old son named Gabriel. She lives close to the Cumbaya town square and church, in a gated area with a pool and tennis courts. Somehow our afternoon just flew by, the conversation flowed, Maya swam in the pool and played computer games with Gabriel, we barbequed and Maya and Maria played violin and piano together.
Many of the people I know here live in Cumbaya and commute to Quito for school and work. Cumbaya is in the valley east of Quito, and is easily accessible by tunnel not too far from our apartment. There is a university (San Francisco de Quito) close to the outlet of the tunnel. People have larger homes in Cumbaya, and many communities are gated. It has a suburban/small town feel. My sense is that when families can afford to, they leave Quito for Cumbaya or Tumbaco, which is even further away. It feels safer and more secure, less intense and more laid back. There is a large population of 'extranjeros' near Maria's house. Another advantage is that it is a little lower than Quito and therefore the weather is warmer and milder and when it is raining and cold in Quito, it is often sunny in Cumbaya. Maria's house has solar panels to heat the pool and the hot water in the house. With the 12 hour days and the constant sun, I am surprised that there is not more solar energy use in Ecuador, but I was informed today that because of the cloud cover, solar energy here is not that effective.
We drive through Cumbaya to reach the road to Papallacta and to Yanayacu, so we have been through the tunnels several times. The wedding we attended was in Puembo, which is past Cumbaya and Tumbaco beyond it. We have visited friends in Tumbaco and in Cumbaya before, and we have been to the university as well. I felt that I understood today why so many Quitenos decide to move to Cumbaya.
I have a date to visit Cumbaya again on Wednesday to make 'Nanaimo bars', which are a Canadian recipe for bar cookies. Next Saturday, there is a daylong international bazaar at the Carolina Park Exhibit Hall. I have volunteered not only to help make 'Nanaimo bars' , but also to tend the booth and sell for a few hours on Saturday. The proceeds are directed to some charities that the Canadian group of women have been contributing to for years. I plan to take a bus from our house to Cumbaya on Wednesday, so I expect it to be an adventure for me.
We are recovering from our disappointing theft yesterday. We visited the rental agency today, after I had made claims with my car insurance company and American Express, but when I told the rental car people that my insurance and Amex would take care of the bill, I was told that I would be charged for the damage and that I would have to try to get reimbursed by my insurance. When I pointed out that it is done differently in the United States, I was reminded that this was Ecuador and that they do things their way here and that despite Budget being an American Company, I would be required to do this the Ecuadorian way. This includes having to visit the main Budget office downtown and talk to the Budget people there and sort it out with them. Thankfully the office is close to my Spanish school (which I start again tomorrow) and without excessive waiting, I should be able to take care of it (the Ecuadorian way) between Spanish school in the morning, and picking up Maya in the afternoon. This is an example of everything taking so much longer to attend to here. Eric has yet to face the hours in two different offices to get the Movistar phone fixed. To get anything accomplished here, one must have patience and forget the efficient use of time. On the other hand, everything does in fact get done.