As the end of the parade nears we choose our next destination. We could take a traditional approach and go the the cemetery as some families do, but baking in the hot sun looking at crypts and gravestones loses out. The food, arts and crafts booths which have been setup on the banks of Rio Tomebamba wins.
We meander mostly through the food section and decide to stop at a booth which is also part of a new Cajun restaurant. Their plate of gumbo, bread dipped in garlic oil and corn pudding for $3 is a definite draw. Add to that $3 for poutine, $2 for a skewer of delicious BBQ'd pork and cold cerveza and white wine and we are sold.
One of the principles in this new business greets us and soon we are exchanging stories. He was a mergers and acquisitions specialist until his company itself went through a merger. At age 45 he was given an option of a bigger job or a package. He took the package and retired. He was single and had been stashing away money, since mostly what he did was work. He traveled then tried out three areas for "retirement" - New Zealand, Vietnam and Ecuador. He settled in Cuenca, Ecuador. Now he's involved in multiple businesses, including restaurants and an English-language newspaper.
As we eat we talk with two women originally from British Columbia, but now full time residents of Cuenca. It is fun talking with them, and as an added bonus we receive reinforcement on some of the locations in British Columbia our friends Jim and Monique have suggested we visit.
In the evening we have tickets to "Noche de Magi-Comedia" with friends Evelyn and Burt. In the morning when I went to buy the tickets the woman spoke to me in rapid-fire Spanish. There were people waiting behind me so, I just pointed to the guy in front of me who was also buying tickets and said "quatro" and held up four fingers. I ended up with four tickets at $7 each. It is much later that I come to understand that she was offering me three different ticket prices - $7, $10, and $15. Oops... we end up toward the back of the theater. The good news is that we could see just fine.
Evelyn and I believe this is going to be a magic show with some comedy mixed in for fun. The first entertainer comes out and we soon realize he is a stand-up comedian. The audience clearly enjoys him, and there are some moments of physical comedy where I join in the laughter, but for me it is over an hour of understanding every 100th word. I can't swear by it, but I think I see William and Burt alternately taking short naps during the act. A magician is on stage next. His show lasts about an hour, running the gamut of traditional magic using scarves, water, cards, coins, etc. He is entertaining, worth the $7, and we don't need to have a command of Spanish to enjoy the act! There is a third act on the billing, but our guess is that it is another comedian so we leave to go grab a late night snack at a local restaurant.
Another day of learning and enjoying in Cuenca comes to an end. Yes, knowing more than 150 words of Spanish would definitely help!