Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Aeropuerto Empanada

Image result for grande empanada con pollo receta

Cuenca excitement before noon:

Walked to the airport to pick up wife & daughter, who will be living with us & going to school at the Universidad de Cuenca. It's only 1.5 miles, no big deal anymore. Got there early and paid airport prices for breakfast in the waiting area: a big homemade-style chicken empanada (in-bread-ed), and cafe con leche (cf. lactos, galaxy) for $3.50. In small places like this, cafe con leche means a cup full of hot milk with instant coffee added to taste. Today they had added the coffee; other places may give you the instant in a little bowl. None of the dishes match; it's a thrifty country.

The restaurant business here is competitive (of course). Restaurants will often have a greeter outside with a menu. At the airport there are three little fastfood joints in a row. If they aren't busy like today, when someone comes in a worker will strike a Vanna White pose and feature the food, e.g., a platter of robust empanandas. No kidding, except for the unfancy attire, they look just like this:

Image result for game show hostess

The women said they prepared the empanada. I didn't ask if they made them at home, but I will next visit. The typical small eatery is a public space off of a domicile, so unless the restaurant is a full-blown business, the food is essentially home-cooked. In general, Ecuadorian food is seasoned, but not spicy. If you want spicy, you're better off at a Mexican restaurant. Yep, there are such things in Ecuador.

 I sat at a window-wall and had a lovely view across the runway of the nearby mountains. I watched the plane land, park right under my nose, and let Janet and Francie out. In the cab home I had a nice time defending the US not allowing folks to walk across the border. I pointed out that Ecuador doesn't allow it, even for starving Venezuelans. No ID, too bad; and this even though V and E have free-passage rules like say the US & Canada. Etc. Anyway that wasn't the only topic while the cabbie fought traffic, we had a pleasant visit.

 As we approached home the cabbie says, wow this is a nice neighborhood (which it is) and a nice big house (also true). I responded that we sold the house in the US and used that money to buy this house, and that it's the biggest, nicest house either of us has ever lived in. We think it's almost a palace. He thought that was interesting: that a gringo's house in Ecuador could possibly be nicer than its American counterpart. It was intended as a compliment of sorts, and I think he took it as such.