Ecuador is less one Cuy and possibly over the next few months another one might go the same way. It was really nice but a bit gruesome to watch how they cook it. Basically they shove a pole through its nether regions and then place it across hot coals. To really experience it check out the video on my site! I wouldn't suggest you watch it just before you are about to eat though.
The whole food thing is interesting. When you go to the markets you see the most amazing fresh fruit and vegetables but when food is served there is not a fresh vegetable in sight. I got really excited last night to see carrots on my plate only to discover they were cooked and served cold with tomatoes, chicken casserole and the obligatory huge protion of rice! There is an unbelievable amount of rice. Rice with pasta, rice with chips, rice with lasagne, rice with rice! I think you get the picture! The soup is pretty good but don't get me started on why they put popcorn in it.
I have settled into life here in Cuenca very quickly. It is a lovely city and for the most part the people are really nice. I say for the most part as some cow bag ripped my necklace off my neck late one night. I was on my way home and he just ran at me. I was so cross that I then proceeded to chase him until after about 2 blocks I came to my senses. Not the smartest thing I have done. It wasn't worth much but it had sentimental value. God knows what he could get for it, not much I am sure but I think it shows the level of desperation there is for some people.
The weather is also something of a challenge. You basically get all 4 seasons in one day so when you leave the house in the morning you have to take your umbrella, sunglasses, fleece, etc. The hawkers in the street are pretty canny. When the sunshine is out they sell sunglasses but as soon as it starts to cloud over they switch to umbrellas. They would certainly give Alan Sugar a run for his money!
It has been weird finally getting back to work particularly as it is all so new. I was terrified at first that is until I saw the look on my students faces and realised they were more scared than I was! I do though love it! I have 3 classes and unfortunately I have picked up a Saturday morning class but in reality I am only teaching for about 14 hours. Mind you I am only earning the grand sum of $75 a week! For the most part my students are beginners and generally they are ok. Having said that after 2 weeks one of my kids still says he is 14 years old when you ask him where he is from! He certainly could try the patience of a saint and as you know patience is not one of my strong points, oops!
They had their first test this week which produced some interesting results. They had to write down a series of words after I said them. After I said January one of them wrote down, 'Shany and Mary'! I am being assesed this week as well so it will be interesting to get some feedback. I can't help feeling I am pretty much winging it.
Cuenca itself is a bit of a sleepy hollow at weekends. From Saturday lunchtime it pretty much shuts down so we try and have day trips out on Sundays to other sleepy hollows. There are some pretty towns and villages close by which you can get to on public buses for very little money - that is if you don't mind sharing the bus with uncle tom cobbly and all - it included some chickens and a double bed the other day! Hopefully next term I won't have the Saturday morning class so I will be able to venture further afield and I am off to Bolivia for Christmas so life isn't so bad!
I wish I could say I am now fluent in Spanish but its a bit of a struggle, even with the homestay and my Spanish lessons. Mind you I did make myself understood when I was in the shower the other day and the electric light caught fire! At the end of the month I am moving to a place down on the river. Its right at the top of a building and has balconies facing the city and the river so you get great views. It is though a little exposed in terms of tremors. Mind you I slept through one the other night! I am going to be living with 4 other gringo's so there is no chance of my Spanish improving in the short term. Damn and blast!