Yesterday I drove to Loja with Luzbia and the girls to get las placas (the license plates) for my father’s new truck. Cory wanted to stay home and Luzbia didn’t want to drive so it was me or the nearly 3 year old. The drive to Loja is about 2 hours through the mountains. The main road is well-maintained and fairly wide but the locals like to drive fast and pass going around dangerous curves. I can’t stand passing people on a straight road but I also don’t like being stuck behind a truck driving at a snail’s pace. It was sometimes difficult getting enough power in the diesel Toyota Hilux (Tacoma) once I worked up the nerve to pass!
Once we made it to Loja I learned a whole other challenge to driving in Ecuador, city driving. In the cities the drivers always tend to want to create one more lane than the city planners intended there be. Buses and other cars would aggressively make there way into my lane. It was a harrowing experience and I’m glad Loja is not tremendously large. I think it best that Cory and I decided we would live mostly without a car these 6 months here.
While in Loja I met a couple of friends of my fathers and they took us to a very nice park that is very busy with even more attractions on the weekends. E enjoyed riding on the merry-go-round with a couple of local kids. She was especially excited to get an ice cream from my dad’s friend, Luis. Unfortunately a greedy, ugly, large, duck-like creature stole it from her when she offered to share a bite with him. I gave her the rest of mine but that didn’t completely lift her spirits.
After the park we had a nice lunch and then a trip to the supermarket. I wanted to pick up some stuff for E’s birthday. It’s interesting shopping for food in a foreign country. It isn’t always easy to find what you’re looking for. For instance, milk and eggs are not refrigerated, yogurt is mostly in drink form, and the closest I found to whipping cream was a powder in a packet you mix with milk. We’ll see what that is like. I don’t have high hopes!
Today was spent cooking mostly. I made a yummy and healthy soup for lunch with the leftover black beans, quinoa, Swiss chard, camote (Ecuador’s equivalent to the sweet potato, not quite as sweet and a beautiful purple inside) and a little kick from a jalapeño pepper. I used this recipe as my inspiration but had to make some substitutions. I was lucky to find jalapeño peppers. I had to buy 8-10 so I may preserve some seeds to grow more later. I also made a blackberry strawberry crumble. The recipe I followed did not say to sweeten the berries but these blackberries are sour I must do that next time! I wish we had ice cream but a bit of vanilla yogurt drink on top sweetened it up. ¡Muy Rico!