For the last week or so it's been raining pretty consistently in Cuenca. The month of December was pretty dry, and now January has been, on the contrary, pretty wet. There are usually three different types of rain here. It can rain hard in the morning and then clear up mostly by the afternoon. It can also be beautiful in the morning, followed by a powerful rain in the early afternoon that will be short lived. Or, it will be cloudy for most of the day and in the late afternoon it will start raining gently late into the night. After it rains it will always get much colder.
It's very hard to dress appropriately and to stay dry in these conditions. While walking to work I can pass through two different spurts of rain. Another problem is finding a good umbrella. I cam down with an umbrella that was fine, but one night in November I left it at someone's house after a dinner and though my friend told me she had it, I have yet to get it back. I bought a replacement for $2, but the first time I opened it up I found that it was already broken. Though it rains so often here, no one sells a good umbrella, and even though a lot of people have good umbrellas, no one knows where to find them.
A professor at the university told me that a lot of people bring their umbrellas back from the United States, Canada, or England. I just don't understand why decent umbrellas can't be made or sold here in Ecuador. Especially if the only real seasons are Wet and Dry. In the meantime, I have to just keep dodging the rain as best I can, and hopefully I'll one day find my old umbrella (unlikely) or come across a better substitute than I've found so far.
This week has gone by pretty well. My boss Peter visited on Monday for a site visit and reviewed my class. Later that night he took us out to dinner at an Italian restaurant called La Vina, just up the road from where I live. It was a great meal and was the first good Italian food I've had since I was back home in the States. Otherwise classes have been going by normally and I have next week to look forward to, when the September volunteers will head to the coast for a Mid-service conference. We'll be heading to a place a little south of Puerto Lopez, a resort called Alandaluz.
We should be leaving either Wednesday or Thursday, because we are excused from classes for the conference and those of us who live far away from the coast get an extra day for travel. It will be a good chance to see more of the coast, since I only know Machala and the airport and bus terminal of Guayaquil.