Clouds Over Paradise

Although the natural beauty and fantastic food should be enough
for anyone, the Dowbrigade has unfortunately been so jaded by our decades
in so-called "civilization" that we often feel the need for more sophisticated
entertainment.  Therefore it was with some surprise and pleasure
that on our initial reconnoitering of the latest developments in town
(we haven’t been back to Banos in about three years), we discovered a
DVD rental shop with many of the latest titles and what looked like a
great collection of used paperback books in a new local coffeeshop.

We promptly rented "Kill Bill, vol 2". "Mystic River" and "Troy", all
of which came out after we left the States and which we are dying to
see.  As far as we know, these movies have not been "officially"
released on DVD in the US, so these must be pirated copies, a supposition
made even more obvious by the price; any three movies, unlimited time,
three dollars ($3.00), leave your driver’s licence as security. On our
way back to the Sangay, we stopped at the coffee shop and picked three
novels, not as new as the movies but ones we wanted to read, one Tom
Clancy, one John Grisham, and one Nero Wolfe.

However, not everything is as perfect as we would want it to be, even
in this little piece of paradise in the Andes.  When we went to
pay for the books we were told it was exchange only; we needed to trade
in a book of our own, plus pay $1.00.  When we explained we were
not carrying around any of the books we had already finished and offered
to pay $2.00 for each of the worn paperbacks, we were told, sorry, no
exchange, no books.

Then when we got back to our hotel room, we discovered that none of
the movies would play on our iBook! They were not even real DVD’s, but
extended play video CD’s, and try as we might we could not get Quicktime
player to fire them up, or convert them into a watchable format.

So today we have our eyes peeled for any discarded books, or sympathetic
travelers who might be persuaded to part with one of theirs.  And
we have NO idea what to do with the movies…..

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