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In Ecuador, don’t be on time for dinner: Ed O'Connor

Posted 5/31/17

“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.” “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” … rain!

Since the beginning of February, we have been in a rainy pattern the likes of …

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In Ecuador, don’t be on time for dinner: Ed O'Connor

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“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.” “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” … rain!

Since the beginning of February, we have been in a rainy pattern the likes of which is unprecedented here. Unofficially, I have counted 13 days in which we have not had rain during any given 24-hour period. The most rain free days in a row have been three.

Fortunately, the majority of the time, the rains come in the afternoon, evening or overnight. So that leaves the mornings and early afternoons to take care of chores. After getting my shoes soaked one too many times, I did something last week that I have not done since the 1960s — bought a pair of boots.

Being late is right on time

If you receive a dinner invitation do you show up at the appointed hour or a few minutes before? Do that here and you may possibly find the hosts in the shower. To arrive on time is considered rude here. Our first personal experience with this cultural phenomenon was when we were invited by residents of Cuenca to an 8 p.m. Christmas Eve dinner. We arrived at 7:45 p.m. and were the first guests there.

Preparation of the dinner had not even been started. We sat looking at each other until other invitees arrived — from 9 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Dinner was “promptly” served at 11 p.m. Lesson learned.

Our former pastor from New Mexico invited some Cuencano church members to experience an American-style Thanksgiving Day dinner. Dinner was to be served at 6:30 p.m. They never showed until 8:30 p.m. By that time, we had finished dinner, dessert, washed and dried the dishes and put them away. They couldn’t understand why we had eaten at 6:30 p.m.

We attend as many performances of the Cuenca Symphony Orchestra as possible, although we missed a few because of the rain. The concerts begin at 8 p.m. The locals are still wandering into the theater as late as 8:45 p.m., and they think that is perfectly acceptable.

Street names get confusing

This was one of the most confusing aspects of learning “the lay of the land” here in Cuenca.

The streets and avenues are named after historical figures or important historical dates. When one takes a taxi, one asks the driver to take them to the street where one wants to go and the nearest cross street. For example: we primarily walk every place, but if it is raining we will try to get a cab. So, we have to ask the driver to take us to Augustin Cueva and Remigio Tamariz, the closest intersection to our apartment. Street names are not posted at the corner of every block. One can walk for blocks before seeing a street sign, which can really be frustrating.

Don’t expect to get proper change

Making a purchase and getting change. Having worked retail for years, we would start the day with a certain amount of money in the cash register so if a customer made a purchase we had enough money to make change. Not here.

I learned about the change foible when I went to one of the malls and wanted to make a $22 purchase. I gave the store clerk a $20 and a $5. She did not have change and sold me the items for $20.

Two weeks ago, we went into a store to buy two handmade rugs, the total was $31. We gave the lady $35. We had to wait until another customer made a purchase so we could get our change. Last week when I bought the boots for $15 the clerk left the store and then come back with the change for the $20 bill I gave her.

It is if it is the customer’s responsibility to have correct change. This does not apply to the very large stores. And don’t carry anything larger than a $20 bill. Most smaller stores will not accept larger denominations.

The libtards cry out

There was a home invasion here in the city and the perp was caught by the neighbors. The police arrived just in time. The neighbors had doused the would-be thief with gasoline and were going to “light him up.” I can hear the ACLU (American Communists & Libtards United) wailing about how his civil rights were violated.

Pennsylvania honors

Some more honors were lavished on Pennsylvania: Of the most polluted cities in the United States, Lancaster was No. 20. The FBI ranked Lancaster as the 13th most dangerous small city. Of the best-run states, Pennsylvania ranks No. 42, according to the website 24/7 Wall St. Philthydelphia is the No. 10 city in the United States with the most homeless people, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ironically, the new Pennsylvania. slogan is, “Pursue Your Happiness.” It should be “The Pursuit Of Taxes.” I see where your property taxes will increase again. I told you that you were not paying enough.

The gluten-free myth

Less than 1 percent of Americans are gluten intolerant, but now it has hit here among the expats — the gluten free, fanatic fad for frenzied folks.

And why is it always the libtards that are gluten intolerant? I guess because they are extra special, being so kind, sensitive, tolerant and compassionate. I can hear the libtard mantra at the restaurants, Is it gloooooooooten free?” To me gluten free means it is more expensive and tastes like an Amtrak ticket.

The price of government health insurance here is increasing dramatically. We were really underpaying and it finally caught up. Now to keep the IESS insurance (government insurance), expats must pay 17.6 percent of their income for a single or 21 percent for a couple. There was a government meeting to present and discuss the new cost to expats, but presenters were shouted down by expats and the meeting was ended. It was the “entitled” ones that disrupted the meeting.

I understand that after the meeting this situation was discussed at many restaurants by (who else?) the gluten-free crowd.

Until later from beautiful Cuenca ... Eddy the Expat

Ed O’Connor, a former resident of Middletown and Lower Swatara Township, is an expatriate living in Cuenca, Ecuador.