Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunday November 27, 2016 Storm

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Sunday November 27, 2016
Today, Cristina had arranged to meet the same group of friends as yesterday for some language lessons in El Centro.  Fabulous sunshine made me regret not wearing a hat as we met at the Goza Cafe on Calle Larga.  From there we went to Cigale on Honorato Vasquez where we met almost all of the group from Saturday night.
I was famished, so I ordered the biggest breakfast, with the eggs done poached (which was not on the menu) plus a toasted ham'n'cheese.  The main breakfast came and the eggs were perfect, but they had forgotten my HnM sandwich..  Peter looked over and asked for the same style eggs and his were also delivered perfectly.  Eric asked for the same eggs also and his were brought simply pan-fried, so they were sent back.  Next they were brought hard-boiled, and giving in to hunger, were accepted.  Such is the service one can expect in an Ecuadorian restaurant unfortunately.
When the language lessons started we had a small United Nations around the table, with reps from Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, China, Poland, and the Phillipines.  Languages represented included the above, plus French, Portuguese, Italian, and dialects from China and the Phillipines.
It turns out the day's lesson was chaired by a young Chinese fellow who was showing us firstly the quick greetings and the numbers 1-5 in Chinese.  He would write the phonetic pronunciations for us and make us all repeat ther answers until we all got it right.  He kept praising Cristina for her excellent pronunciations.  
I suggested that further classes should be done in a quiet venue with wi-fi and with a blackboard or whiteboard, and we could learn several languages at once...!!  We''ll see what happens there.  Since we had nothing to write on to take notes, I have promptly forgotten everything I have learned.  Cristina seems keen to learn the Chinese, me not so much.  I would be more interested in the closeness of Spanish with French, Italian and Portuguese.
Then some of us wandered over to Parque Calderon which was ringed by artisans' tents selling mostly apparel and jewelry.  3 of us continued on to the big Colombian restaurant.deli on Borrero, north of Mariscal Lamar.  Always very good food available there.
We came back home and I walked the girls a couple of times quickly as there were pretty dark clouds forming all around.  I fully expected there to be a lot of thunder, lightning and hail contained with the rain in those clouds and I was right.  We were so close to drought conditions, and with the dry timber in the area being consumed by forest fires (too close for comfort), that the rain was very welcome.  We soon had rivers of water running down the streets,  The pea-sized hail took off most of the purple flowers from a tree in front too.  I took a video for you as well which is having problems uploading, so I may add the link later onceI sort it out.
As I sat down to watch the video around 4:10pm, seemingly just outside my window, a monstrous thunderclap almost broke our eardrums, and simultaneous lightning lit up the room, then everything went black.  The power went out and I was kicking myself for still being on the computer in such a storm and praying, really praying, that no damage was done to my computer, external harddrive, or my home electrical.
We waited and waited for the power to come back, lit candles and gathered some of the rechargeable flashlights.  I went out later with the girls, then went out to check how much of the neighbourhood was affected.  It appeared mostly that it was just our block and the one across from us.  I hinted to the neighbours that hopefully someone called the Empresa Electrica even though the nearby transformer looked perfectly intact.  When nothing was happening at 7pm we headed for bed...
Sunday morning I again checked with one of these neighbours and he said that had power and that I should check my breakers.  I had done that Saturday night with the inside breaker box to no effect.  He came over with me and pointed at the outside breaker box, so we opened it, flipped the breakers, and voila!!  We have light...

OK, here is the video:
I hope you enjoy the photos.  That was the day's excitement.   Cheers, Al 

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What an awesome day!  Looking south from Calle Larga

La Merced area near Goza Cafe

San Alfonso and the old La Merced? Looking north on Borrero

Inside of La Merced with Mass going on

Looking west up Calle Larga

Wall mural in the entrance to Cigale

The group keeps growing to learn languages

The gorgeous daughter of the manager

Group shot of the first class

And another

Parque Calderon ringed with Artisans' tents

From the other angle across the park

Hail accummulating despite rain pushing it away

Water and hail in our street

and on the walking paths

More and more hail

Water and flowers flowing in our street

Hail on our lavanderia roof and gutter

Lots of water running in the neighbourhood