This Thursday, June 6, the New York Times, Home/Garden section, is featuring our life in Cañar with a full-page article with photos. This has been in the works since April, when the writer and photographer visited Cañar, but I didn’t want to say anything until we had a publication date. An on-line version, with a slideshow of 23 photos, will probably go up on Wednesday night. I’ll send a link on this site as soon as I see the article.
If you’re curious to know how this has come about, I’ll be happy to tell you, as it falls under the subject of “shameless self-promotion.” When Our House in the Clouds came out in March, I sent an e-mail to a writer I’ve frequently read and liked at the Times’ Home section, mentioning the book and adding a few photos. She wrote right back saying she’d pass the message on to her editor. Within days I heard from the editor, who said they might be interested “if you haven’t already had press.” (Well, I thought, I can probably hold off all the other media clambering for interviews and coverage.) A writer, Sandy Keenan, got in touch to say she was reading the book, and might be interested to come to Cañar to do a story. Were there any hotels nearby?
Thus began a wonderful couple of weeks in April. Sandy and the photographer, Tony Cenicola, came at separate times, stayed with us as house guests, and proved themselves true third-world troopers. Sandy’s luggage went on to Lima, Peru, and didn’t show up until five days later, mere hours before she left. Tony’s Avis rental car, along with some of his equipment in the trunk, was towed the first night from in front of his hotel in Cuenca, and impounded by the traffic police as “possibly stolen” (for no other reason than it was on the street at night). And it stayed impounded for the eight days of his stay, despite escalating calls to Avis agents, lawyers, Cuenca officials, and finally, the assistant to the mayor. No one could do anything, although a journalist friend in Cuenca valiantly took on the cause.
Tony had to rent a second car while continuing to pay for the first. He began a blog to friends called, “Daily Cup of Kafka.” Finally, a judge’s order allowed him to get his equipment (our journalist friend was key to this triumph), but the car was not liberated until seven days after he left. Tony was charged with lawyers and court fees, impoundment costs, plus the rental for both cars. (One of his parting comments to me was: “You told me not to rent a car!”)
But through it all Sandy and Tony calmly carried on with their work and enjoyed Canar, the people they met, the local sites, and Michael’s meals. Certainly, we enjoyed them.
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We are back home after a very chilly month in Spain, making Cañar feel positively tropical. (Newspaper headlines our last day: “Spain Braces for Coldest Summer in 200 Years.”) I’m hoping to write one more blog about our trip – despite the weather we enjoyed our time and learned a tremendous amount about the Basque history, culture and today’s political/economic situation.