Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This is coming out well

Transcribing notes this week. It is going to take me forever to get these done. They're coming out well though. Here's one I think you'll like from Quito. (This is first draft, it will be revised a dozen times before I submit it for publication.)

We wander around for a bit and Wendy reads from the guidebook about some historic buildings, but nothing really noteworthy. It starts to rain, like it has every day in the afternoon since we’ve been here, so we make our way inside to a food court. Now, this is interesting. It’s three stories in a square with multiple restaurants and one large gift shop. In the center of this little enclosed plaza is a four tiered fountain with all four tiers covered in roses. We make our way to the third floor to a nice looking restaurant and ask the hostess if we can have a table just for drinks.

“Oh yes, no problem.” As she leads us to a table she tells us “You should know we’re having a special offer where if you order a bottle of this specific wine, you get a free hat.”

Our waitress comes and we order a half bottle of “Casillero del Diablo” a nice white wine we’ve enjoyed in the past. The waitress asks us “Are you sure you don’t want a bottle? You get a free hat if you order this specific bottle of wine.”

I look at the hat they are offering. “Look, if you give me the bottle for free, I’ll take one of those horribly ugly hats off your hand. Otherwise, no deal.”

Our waitress is a middle-aged woman slightly older than us, short, and her body is starting to get that middle-aged spread. She brings the bottle over to us and I notice it has a metal screw top and no cork. She doesn’t notice and starts to use her corkscrew knife to try and cut paper that isn’t there around a cork that isn’t there.

“I don’t think that’s…”

Wendy takes more decisive action and grabs it out of her hand and twists the top off.

“Oh, that must be because I cut it for you.”

Ah… um… no. You’ve never seen a screw top wine bottle? Wendy and I just can’t stop laughing.

I wish I wouldn’t have said anything and just let her try and use the corkscrew on it. That would have been some entertainment.

We also get some “helado de paila” as well which is an ice cream that is made by pouring cream and coconut over a very cold surface and mixing it vigorously until it turns into ice cream. When we get it, I find it completely different than Italian or American ice cream. It’s almost a hybrid of sherbet and ice cream with the coconut tasting so fresh it must have come off the tree that day.

It is still raining out and we are comfortable here, people watching and sipping some light wine and decide to order another half bottle.

“Are you sure you don’t want a whole bottle? You get a free hat if you order a whole bottle.”

“Yes, we know, but really, we don’t need another hat. We have plenty.”

“You could put it in your room, as a souvenir, to remind you of this nice day you are having together.”

“Look, the wine you’re offering tastes like cleaning fluid and the free hat looks like it was made out of corn stalks and will fall apart if exposed to strong sunlight. Thank you. No.”

It is a very relaxing afternoon. We look at the menu but can’t find anything else that seems interesting enough to stuff ourselves with and just sit, talk and people watch in the plaza below us. Eventually the rain stops and we decide it’s time to move along. Wendy heads to the ladies room and I ask for the bill.

The waitress responds with a string of Spanish I don’t understand so I ask her to repeat it. She does and I still don’t understand. “I’ll just wait until your girlfriend comes back you ignorant gringo.”

“The waitress wants to ask you something. I didn’t understand her.”

“She probably wants to know if we want a hat with our bill.”

So funny that girl.

“What do you want to do now?”

“Let’s go look at some blasphemy.”

“The gold tinted church?”

“Yeah.”

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