We have been in Cuenca, Ecuador one week this last Friday. We have explored the market, met lovely young neighbors, been to the SuperMaxi and watched the young teenagers of the city begin to celebrate Carnival because Easter is early this year, and lent is just around the corner.
Our drive from Guayaquil to Cuenca through the Caja Mountains was very beautiful, we were driven by a van driver who obviously knew the road and was not afraid of the foggy narrow roads or the big trucks he had to duel with, in order to move with speed and grace. I counted three different ecosystems that we traveled through. I have confirmed that, sense arriving in Cuenca. We will go back when we can stop and do more photographing. Although Bill got some good shots as the driving sped past various items of interest.
We are on the 7th floor of a 7 floor building in a lovely apartment, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, nice kitchen with laundry room off kitchen. Dining Room and Guest bedroom have sliding doors to a long narrow terrace that affords us a view of the four brothers and sisters, of a Doctor and his family who live in a 4 story house across the street. The children dropped water balloons on passing cars and buses yesterday afternoon. That is part of the Carnival Celebration. This family is great to observe, since the family dog has just recently produced five little puppies, the pups and Momma are housed on the spacious terrace, a birdseye view from my terrance. Daddy scoops poop at about 10 a.m. every morning before he leaves in his suit with his briefcase, we think he is a lawyer (abogado) or maybe a doctor. Mama is also a professional and a housekeeper cleans and washes clothes during the day.
The very first day we met a lovely young couple with a 1 1/2 year old little boy. Robert, Fernanda and little Robert have become new friends. She is a native of Cuenca and is studying for a PHD in law. Robert (Dad) is a very interesting man, who is Canadian originally. He has a job as a diamond driller, he is called to work by his Canadian Company all over the world. He drills looking for minerals. Just two nights ago we were honored to meet her parents. Her mother is a teacher of elementary students, her father runs a family business that he has run for 40 years. They are lovely, speak very little English, but we communicated fine. They are looking for a house to rent for us. More on that later. We have been doing lots of fun stuff with them and exploring the city at the same time.
The first Saturday we were here we went to find the centro of the city, where the old churches are and the seat of the government and the most beautiful park I have ever seen, Calderon Park. It is beautifully planted with great variety of blooming flowers and trees, lovely benches tucked in so you can sit and "people watch", one of my favorite pastimes at parks, airports, train stations, etc. Just off the park about 1/2 block we found a textiles market. We felt the apartment needed some color. The man that owns the apartment is American, but lives in Japan, the whole place is done in browns and beige. Those of you who know me, know I do not do much beige. So we invested in a beautifully woven table cloth in turquoise, reds, yellow, greens, blues. It is perfect and I bargained down from $25.00 to $21.00. Just around the corner from the textile market is the flower market. At the moment the plaza where the indigenous women usually sell is being redone, so they are a little to the side and a bite crowded. But, the flowers are spectacular to see and very fresh and very inexpensive. I bought two bunches, one for the dining room table and one for the bedroom. They were each $2.00 each. They would have been $15.00+ in the U.S.
On Monday, Robert and Fernanda wanted to take us to a market that is quiet and not crazy busy. So we drove across town in their car and visited one of the many open air markets that exist in this City. It was clean, well organized, no flies and very fresh. Women were shelling peas, some were peeling garlics, (I bought some of both items) The best bargain was 4 avocado (aquacante) for the grand sum of .32. Yes, you read that right, .08 each. I made a wonderful guacamole on Wednesday after they has sat on my window sill and softened up a little. I also purchased spices: cumin, cloves, oregano and one more I am forgetting. Each little sack was .25. I told Bill the next trip we were going to splurge and get the .50 size.
I know in a earlier blog I said that Bill was going to post some pics. But, he has been very busy getting all his
electronic gadgets up and working. You know he is not complete unless all the gadgets work. So we'll see maybe my getting ahead of him will motivate him somewhat. Two quick final things. I have a cleaning lady coming tomorrow, Monday. We have been told by Fernanda to pay her $12.25, the .25 is for her bus ride home. She will clean from about 8-1 p.m. the whole apartment. The Supermaxi is the grocery store, very expensive, but carries what the markets do not. All for now. CIAO, Dean and Bill
PS Here are some pics at this link