Search This Blog

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mom's Guilty Conscious Pays Off -- Cuenca's Shish Kabob for me!!! by Star

Last Thursday mom and dad went out to dinner. I usually don't mind staying home alone, but for some reason I really wanted to go this time. I looked at mom with my 'poor me' eyes, but she didn't budge. They told me to take care of the house and that they would be back soon, closed the door and left. I knew my eyes had some effect on mom, I just didn't know how much!

About an hour and a half later I hear the door and then I smell some of those delicious Shish Kabobs that always tease my senses in the streets of Cuenca. Am I dreaming? I must be... Nope ... those 'poor me' eyes worked! Not exactly what I had in mind, but this was way better.

Mom paid a total of 50 cents for this delicious Cuencano dish. A complete meal on a stick: plantain, peppers, tomato, steak, and sausage. Just delish!!!

Mom and dad were also happy about their dinner. They had gone out with 3 friends and the five of them ate for $6.70! Hot chocolate, chicken and pork tamales and humitas with cheese for mom, the vegetarian. They went to Calle de las Herrerias which is a very old street close to our house. It's filled with metal workers and food stands that come alive at night.

I think that I'm going to use my "poor me" look more often. It really pays off.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dogs in Heat in Cuenca, Oh My! by Star

Mom tells me that I'm fixed and that I have been for a long time. I had no idea what dogs in heat or being fixed meant until I saw some really, really strange behaviors and mom had to have "THE" conversation with me. Let me introduce you to Princesa.

Princesa is quite the cute dog, but when we first met her she was kind of 'bitchy'. Mom explained that she was in heat and that this made her a bit bitchy. Hmmmm ... Princesa was one of those dogs we thought were street dogs only to find out that they are just outside dogs: 'dogs who are left to roam during the day but that have a home.'

We go by Princesa's home all the time as it's the nicest route to the park. For a couple of days we saw that there were many dogs around Princesa's home but then the number decreased to four. These dogs wanted nothing to do with me, thank God! but they were waiting for Princesa to come out. When she did, they were all over her and she seemed to like it. Now, these were really ugly dogs and we had never seen them before, nor have we seen them after. One of them was limp, obviously hit by a car at one point not in the too distant past, yet there he was every day for a week to create more doggies.

One day we went by and there was one dog in each corner of the house, just waiting for Princesa to come out. It was quite the site and we were sad that we did not have our camera with us. The following day we were walking on 10 de Agosto, a very busy street, and here come a pack of dogs towards us. Mom of course goes on her instant panic mode until she recognizes Princesa who was being followed by the same four dogs that had been hanging around her house. Mom scolded Princesa for being so far from her home in a busy street, as if she could understand what she was saying. But, that's mom, what are you going to do? Dad did his head shake and just kept walking ahead of us.

I wonder what kind of puppies are coming out of that mix of the four ugly dogs and Princesa. The good thing is that although ugly, these were all nice dogs, and Princesa is very pretty so it all may turn out OK. Mom wishes Cuencanos fixed their dogs more often so that there wouldn't be so many homeless or abused dogs. Yet, I think that it's what is, and we can't do much about it. Life in Cuenca is different and I just embrace it with curiosity.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Altitude of Cunca Still Makes Me Tired But The Dogs Here Make Me Happy! by Star

It has been almost two months since we arrived in Cuenca and I still get tired easily. We are at 8,500 feet; and, boy can I feel it! My mom and dad are doing better than me, but I think that's because they came here twice before this year. My vet told us that it could take 90 days or so and I guess she was right.

Yesterday we went to Parque Paraiso and mom finally let me run and she played ball with me. It was fantastic. We all love this park...

I played with mom and with other doggies, but then I got tired... this darn altitude. I wonder when I'll get my old energy back.

But just as I thought I was too tired to play, here comes Capulina... don't you love that name?

I've got to get my mom to get me one of these dresses... I am feeling left out! Check this out!!! She is FRIGHTFULLY CUTE, isn't she, and so is her owner.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Diet in Cuenca by Star

I eat differently here in Cuenca than I did in the States. There is no holistic dog food here to supplement my normal diet and our stuff is still in storage in the States, so we don't have my vitamins... so, as usual, mom has been worried that I'm not getting enough of the 'right things.'

She's always trying to sneak in veggies with my chicken or beef, but I have the most dexterous tongue in the planet. I can skillfully scoop out the veggies to the side no matter how small or smashed they are. I have no idea why mom insists in having me show her how good I am at picking what I want to eat and leaving what I don't like behind... and sometimes she almost ruins a perfectly yummy meal with her additions of 'good for me' stuff...

Take today for example, I thought her culinary skills had disappeared overnight. She feeds me scramble eggs for breakfast a couple of times a week depending on how much I ate or didn't eat the night before. I'm hungry every morning so I have no idea why she won't give me my eggs every day. Oh well... today I was especially hungry and when I started eating my delicious eggs I go 'crunch, crunch'.... What the heck? I look at my plate and can't really see anything other than the egg and a bit of delicious cheese she added as a bonus... I look at her to see if I can gather what's wrong with my eggs and she starts laughing. I assume she was laughing at dad and because I'm too hungry I finish my crunchy eggs... Crunchy eggs? Still puzzled I go lay down... Hmm ... Then I learn that she was reading a post of her friend Vickie from Vilcabamba who fed her dogs egg shells last night! So that was the crunch! My dear mom also decided that I needed calcium and added some egg shells to my perfectly good eggs!

Vickie has had other ideas which at first I thought were a bit crazy, but that turned out to be pretty good. These crunchy eggs are definitely not included... For example, she feeds her dogs, Bear and Amber, raw chicken feet! Yes, you heard me right. Of course, mom decided that she too was going to give me raw chicken feet; she can't stand to look at these things and much less touch them, so she had dad cut the claws... I heard some commotion going on in the kitchen and suspected that was nothing good, so I went to the garden to play with my toys.

After a few minutes and just when I thought I was safe mom showed up with her arm stretched out and with this thing dangling of her hand. She gingerly placed it in front of me. When she first gave it to me I had no idea what to do with this thing. I looked at her saying: 'And, what is it that I am supposed to do with this thing?' Mom said 'yummy' in a way that I could not believe for a second and she immediately hid her face behind that thing that goes, 'click, click, click'. I still had no clue...

After a while though I smelled this thing a bit and finally figured out I was supposed to eat it. Once I tried them I realized that raw chicken feet are a true delicacy. I think I'm becoming the doggie version of Andrew Zimmern.

But not all my food here in Cuenca is bizarre, I do get my raw hide bones although mom didn't use to give them to me in the States. And, for dog treats I eat 'Rosquitas' or miniature 'Roscas." These are delicious and mom buys them by the bag at a tiny bakery downtown. They are a bit like a pretzel, just yummier.... they are like an inch around and have no sugar. And, they are crunchy without the egg shells! I just love them...

So, you see, when it come to food, all is well in Cuenca. But, Vickie, if you are reading this, can you please quit the experimenting? Why do you think Amber and Bear wanted your Chicken Alfredo Florentine last night?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I LOVE Shopping in Cuenca! By Star

Mom and dad go to the bakery every day like it's customary here in Cuenca. A couple of stores down the bakery on 10 de Agosto there was a fish store when we first moved in. Some weeks later the fish store was gone and renovations started. Then a couple of weeks ago the BEST store in town opened. Mom is not much of a shopper, but I love to shop, and Tiny's Shopping is just my kind of store.

I want to stop at Tiny's every time we go by, but mom and dad are a drag and they only let me go in once a week even though I pull like hell when we walk by. This is a gorgeous store and the owners are really nice and always say hi to me. I think I'm their most loyal customer! I also like the fact that they don't sell dogs or cats there. Most pet shops in Cuenca have puppy mill dogs for sale, and this makes my mom sad. Tiny Shopping is different, it's well stocked, a happy and fun store.

I love this store... especially my bones!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Meet Dharyal and Jorge, my Neighbors in Cuenca

I thought I was the most spoiled dog in the neighborhood until we met Dharyal. She wears a red dress all the time. Check this out. It's like a tu-tu! She looks so cute! I wonder how I would look in one of those things.

Before we moved to Cuenca mom told me she had heard that people here dress up their dogs a lot more than we do in the States. Although we saw some evidence of that around town they were more the sweater kind and we hadn't really seen dresses like the ones Dharyl wears.

It's evident that Jorge cares a lot about Dharyal and he is very protective of her. He is a sweet young man who is very polite, warm and friendly with all three of us. He speaks with mom and dad with a lot of respect, yet he is not shy and loves to talk with them. He is an example of how Ecuadorian kids are so very special.

We feel lucky to be Jorge and Dharyal's neighbors as we get to see them often. This is one more reason why we love Cuenca so very much.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meet Scarface, Our Protector in Cuenca by Star

Yes, he's eating a bone and yes my mom and dad gave it to him and not to me! There is a story about Scarface. Do you remember my first post about the dogs in Cuenca? Scarface is the dog we saw that first day in our walk going after and biting another dog. Mom named him Mean then. I knew she would fall in love with him though. And sure enough she did, and so did my dad. I like Scarface, but he is a very tough dog and he doesn't like to play with me. He is all business. His face has the scars from all the previous fights, that's why mom named him Scarface, that was even before he decided he was going to offer us his protection services.

Scarface's real name is Lucas and he belongs to a family in the neighborhood, but he spends most of his time on the streets wondering around. One day he decided that he was going to be our protector. So almost every time we go out for a walk he comes out of nowhere like a ghost, and says hi to all of us; first to dad, then to mom and then to me. Then he goes in front of us barking and making noises and if another dog even thinks to come our way he goes after it. Most dogs know he means business; he may be small, but he is a big mean dog in his mind and apparently in the minds of other dogs as well who quickly move away. I like it because we can walk in peace without other dogs coming and smelling my butt, but when he goes crazy mom also goes crazy... By now you probably have an idea of how neurotic my mom is... Yet this dog actually minds my mom sometimes even more than I do. He gives me a bad reputation when he does that; I wish he wouldn't. But I have to admit that he really takes his job seriously especially when my mom and I are walking by ourselves; he is truly on guard then. Mom thinks he is quite the guy. Pleeeaaasee!!!!

After our walks he follows us home so he can get paid for his protection services. And, if there hasn't been any dogs in the walk, as we approach the house he always pretends there is one, goes way ahead of us and barks like crazy and then waits for us looking like: "you see what I did; that was a big one." But we all know that there no dog. He just wants his pay. He should know mom and dad will give him bones anyway, but he likes his job, I suppose.

Mom wants me to share with you another picture of Scarface. So here we go, and that's a good bone he's chewing on! Hmm... Life in Cuenca is never dull.

Daddy, Learn Spanish Quickly, Please!!! by Star

Mom says that speaking Spanish doesn't mean that you can communicate with people in Cuenca. She also says that this is true in any language... but I know she is wrong because in doggie language we understand each other and communicate just fine and many times without the need for a bark... but humans are different. Take dad, for example, he is studying Spanish diligently, going to class, studying hours a day, and trying to speak whenever he can. So, I shouldn't be as hard on him, but he can get me in trouble sometimes.

The other day we were waiting for mom in front of the SuperMaxi (one of Cuenca's nice supermarkets). A lady came by and asked dad "Bravo, bravo?" referring to me. Dad with a big smile said said "si, si, si".... I noticed that the lady who had been trying to pet me changed her demeanor and quickly left, but dad didn't get it. When mom came out dad proudly said that there was a lady who really liked me. Mom asked what she had said and dad said: Bravo, bravo, bravo! Mom smiling told dad that 'bravo' is used here in reference to a dog as we use the word 'mean' in the States. So, my dear dad was basically telling the lady that I was a really mean dog!!!! Can you believe that?

You would think that for mom it is easy to communicate here since she speaks Spanish fluently... which to me sounds like blah, blah, blah, blah.... the funny thing is that it must sound like that to many Cuencanos who ask her to repeat what she says or who look at her like she came from Mars. Apparently she has the same trouble understanding some people here, as she also asks them to repeat what they say over and over again and in many occasions she gives up pretending she understood, but when dad asks her what the person said, she confesses she has no idea.

Wouldn't it be better if all humans learned doggie communication skills? I think doggie language should be the universal language. What do you think? Are you ready to smell some butt? Mom says maybe not.