Friday, Oct 21, 2016
Run day today. Oh boy. I like to think I’m getting better, and Chase said I was 3 minutes faster today, but I feel slow, sore, and straining to get enough air with almost every step. What do you do though? I have to try to keep moving or my body will get worse not better. The blessing has been nice weather to run in. I’m thankful for that.
In Chase’s bathroom both lights burned out. Electricity and light bulbs don’t play well together where we are living. We have already replaced several bulbs and when they go out, it is more than one at a time. I suspect there are frequent power surges here, and however this place is wired, it causes an early death for the bulbs.
Chase, Heidi, and I took a walk to the light fixture store to buy some replacement light bulbs. Easton stayed home to finish his Spanish lesson for the day. When we got to the store it was closed, although from the hours posted on the door it was supposed to be open after the lunch hour break. We decided to wait, because in Ecuador where do we ever have to be immediately? After 15 minutes I called the phone number on the door.
A very nice woman answered and as I stumbled through my Spanish that “We are standing in front of your store now”, she responded that she would be here in 2 minutes. It wasn’t very long when a woman with, what looked like, her daughters pulled up. They unlocked the store and we went in.
Chase showed the older daughter the light bulbs that we needed and we were told they didn’t have the 75 watt bulb, only a 50 watt. This is Ecuador. I felt fortunate they had the right size bulb in stock, never mind the wattage. I told her we needed two light bulbs and she got them for us.
In Ecuador making a “return” to the store is not done. Once you buy something, it is yours forever. When you buy light bulbs here, the clerk removes them from the box and screws each one into an outlet to show you that they are working. If it doesn’t work when you get home, or blows out when you screw it in the socket, it is your problem.
The daughter handed me the sack with the light bulbs and now I had to pay. It was a mini circus. The total cost was $2.96. First, I pulled out a $10 bill from my pocket and laid it on the counter. The clerk repeated what I owed, and I decided that instead of hearing “dos” for two, she must have said “doce” for $12. With the price of things around here it didn’t surprise me that each bulb was over six bucks.
I picked my $10 bill up and then threw down a $20 bill. Now the mother and daughter are both trying to tell me how much I owe, as well as Chase and Heidi. So this is what the problem was. When I pulled my $10 bill out originally, they saw that I had a handful of coins…dollars, half dollars, quarters, etc. They didn’t want to make change for me because, well, here change is like gold, and I had “shown my hand”.
Ok fine. I started going through my change to pay, but I still didn’t get it right. The girl was saying “noventaseis” (96) but I was hearing “veinteseis” (26). It had to have looked comical that a grown ass 54 year old man isn’t able to count out change in his hand correctly. Between the mother, her daughter, my wife and son, I finally gave them the right amount of change. Honestly, I was never so happy to leave a store.
On our way home we swung by our “banana lady” and picked up some bananas. She offered us something that looked like a plumb to try. I was expecting it to be sweet but it tasted very sour to me. I made a face and our lady laughed. She is so sweet, and I wished I spoke better Spanish to talk with her more.