Monday, August 1, 2011

Exploring Cuenca

  San Blas Catedral, one of many beautiful churches in Cuenca.

Cuenca has many small shops and businesses. Whenever I ride in a taxi, I look out the side window at the shops and scenery I'm passing. NEVER sit in  front or look out the front window of a cab!  There are 2 reasons for this.  Looking straight ahead is too terrifying because you see the near misses and seemingly crazy risks drivers take here.  I really do not know how anyone is brave enough to drive in Ecuador!  The second reason is to spot shops for future reference.  You know, where to look for a sofa, when we decide to get more furniture, for instance - our place is partly furnished.
Tiendas - there are many tiny shops all over Cuenca.

Another way to learn about services is to ask others in the ex-pat community. People tend to be very helpful with information and generous with their time.  Most of them have been in the same situation of trying to build a new "nest" after leaving most of one's belongings behind. And getting acquainted with new people, building a support network, sorting out who you may have interests in common with, etc.

In the past few days,  I got recommendations for different people who could make curtains for my sewing room. Yes, I know how to sew but I'm not confident I would do justice to filmy organza curtains.  I want to have sort of embroidered organza elegant curtains which will be very pretty and then a heavier fabric for drapes at the same window for privacy when I want it. I called several people. Or I should say I had help from my friend Silene who grew up in Venezuela and is very fluent in Espanol.  Silene has been very kind, helping me by translating, bargaining on fabric, asking questions and generally doing a great job.

That is Silene in the white shirt.

It is SOOO frustrating not to speak the language of this country.  My next Espanol classes begin in Septiembre, which cannot come soon enough!  I am not sure I will ever be fluent but I surely would like to know most of what is being said and to be able to participate in a conversation beyond the "pidgin" Spanish I attempt now.

So I selected a person, Daniela Delgado, after she came over to measure the window. I showed her what I had in mind. Dear Silene was on the phone with her explaining  Then we went to Daniela's studio in El Centro near San Blas church, where I looked at some fabric samples and showed her the type of fabric I had in mind for the drapes. I changed the color of the drapery to a shade between ivory and taupe. After that, she drove us to a textile/fabric store, Decortextiles.  Wow!  I could spend 3 hours there just looking at fabrics.  This was my second trip and I still longed to look around more.  But we stayed on task and bought the fabric I had picked out on my first visit.

The store is on Av. Hurtado de Mendoza y Jose Joaquin de Olmedo.  Honestly!  The names of the streets here are so challenging for a gringo who does not speak Espanol.   I am having a bit of a challenge learning my way around because the street names are so complex and because I don't speak the language.  Kick kick kick - that is me kicking myself for not taking Spanish when I was 16 or 20 or 30, etc.

Once the transaction at the fabric/textile store was complete, we went back to Daniela's studio so she could finish the paperwork.  Now, imagine, all of this is completed with me speaking very little Espanol and her speaking NO English.  But she was good at pantomime and I am also so we did ok.

All of that completed, I stepped out on the busy street and hailed a taxi to get home.  I actually was able to exchange a bit of information and pleasantries with the cab driver.  So it was a great afternoon adventure and I'm proud of myself for venturing out.
San Blas from across the square.

I'll post a photo in the future of the curtains/draperies once they are completed.  She estimated she will be ready to hang them by August  10.

Hope you are having a terrific Tuesday!
PS a warm nod to my esposo Lenny, my IT go to guy, my fav photographer.  For more fantaastic photos and a different perspective, check out his blog Faces Of Cuenca

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