Sunday, May 29, 2016
Today we rode the city bus for the first time. We are meeting Paul and Janet and some of their friends for lunch at a very cool little restaurant 30 minutes outside of town in dairy country. First we walked to Paul and Janet’s place, then we all walked to the bus top. We caught the #7 to take us to the Feria Libre market which is at the far west side of town from us.
We each paid our 25 cents and got on to a full bus, so we grabbed the overhead rail and stood. With all the sudden stopping and subsequent jerking as the driver pulled away from the stops, it required two hands on the rail to stay standing. When we reached our drop off point from the #7 city bus, we waited along the road for an inter-area bus to hop onto heading out of town.
This is a more comfortable bus with large cushioned dual seats meant for longer travel between towns. On this bus you pay when you get off, and depending how far you go determines your fare. We traveled south out of town and the landscape changed to large open fields of green pastures that were dotted with cows lazily enjoying the afternoon sun.
The houses in these expanses could be seen at the far edges of the fields. Large two story white ramblers with their red tile roofs made the green pastures with a cow standing in front look all the more storybook like. The driver of our bus came to collect our money since our stop was coming up. For a 30 minute ride it cost us 75 cents each. The bus stopped right in front of the restaurant and we all got off.
The restaurant is El Agave.
It serves Mexican food and also open fire-grilled ribs. The ribs have to be ordered in advance, which we did. Today the order from last week got lost in translation and instead of 10 plates of ribs, they only had five. It wasn’t a problem though because they have a full menu with fajitas, lomo fino (a very tender and juicy cut of beef), and cochinta pibil (pork with a red Mexican sauce).
Heidi, Easton, and I all shared our meals and we were able to taste the fajitas, ribs, and lomo fino. It was all delicious. During lunch we were able to get to know a couple, Scott and Colleen, who have been in Ecuador and Cuenca for seven weeks now.
They told us about an Ecuadorian man with a restaurant in El Centro who teaches two hours of Spanish for free every Wednesday. Evidently there is no English spoken, so it’s more like learning through immersion. We are definitely going to check it out.
We caught the inter-area bus back to town, flagging it alongside the road in front of El Agave. This time all the seats were filled so we got to stand the whole 30 minutes back into town. This wasn’t so bad but it was unfortunate we didn’t have seats so we could enjoy the view of the country out the windows better.
When we arrived back in town, we hopped off this bus and grabbed the city bus back to our neighborhood. All in all, it was a great experience and we learned some new skills in getting around Cuenca.