December 12, 2015
We found out on Monday that our Visas had been approved. So we had to send our passports to Guayachil to have the visas entered into them. We are now in Ecuador without our passports (only a copy) so we can’t leave — which we don’t want to do anyway. We should have them back next week sometime and then have to go and get our cedillas (which we just found out every Ecuadorian, even those born here, have to get. You need to renew them every 10 years or so but we won’t worry about that just yet.
Christmas is BIG in Ecuador, there are manger scenes and Christmas lights all over. The Ecuadorians love blinking lights, and the faster they blink the better. It’s enough to cause a seizure. So we don’t have any lights, just a candy cane that is lit (pix will come next time) which doesn’t blink. We don’t want to get too many Christmas decorations because we will have to lug them around with us until we find a permanent apartment. And since we still don’t know if it will be here in Cuenca or down at the beach, we’re being very Scroogish with our Christmas decorations.
But here’s some roses we bought today for $3.
Everywhere you look there are stores and outside vendors selling Christmas stuff.
And even Parque Calderon is dressed up for Christmas.
There’s a big parade on Christmas Eve that lasts all day. People from all the surrounding villages come with their families, dressed up in different costumes and march in the parade. They dance and have a great time. It starts around 8 AM and lasts until the last family gets to the end of the parade route which is Parque Calderon. Our Spanish teacher, Gisella, marched in the parade last year with her fiancé Estaban’s family but she had to wear a big hat on her head made out of plaster of paris, and it was too heavy. She’s not marching this year!
We’ve done it before, but today was such a beautiful, sunny day, we decided to play tourist and took the Big Red Bus tour again. It’s a typical double decker tourist bus and we saw some interesting things from the top of the bus.
A few weeks ago, Cuenca had some sort of German week celebration and the Germans now have a building in Cuenca dedicated to German culture. There are many more German tourists in coming to Cuenca.
The bus takes you to a lookout point and gives you time to get off, snap pictures and buy souvenirs (we took pix but did not buy souvenirs.)
At the top of the hill, is the third oldest church in Cuenca (Turi). It’s not very ornate but it is easy to see that it is old!
Interior of the church (it was locked but we peeked)
Here’s some other pix from different days as we walked through Cuenca:
Some indigenous women still do their laundry in the river (we have a washer and dryer at the apartment, though so you won’t see me pounding clothes in a river!)
Graffiti is present in Cuenca (this is at an underpass along the riverwalk).
Even painted rocks.
Cows were grazing on the other side of the river from us.
Cooking a pig at an outdoor restaurant (that’s cuy(guinea pig) on the left cooker. It’s a delicacy in Ecuador and Bob wants to try it, but we’ll see about that!
Close up of the cuy
Well, that’s about it for now so I will leave you with just a few more observations about life here at the equator:
The police drive around with the lights on top of the car blinking red and blue all the time. When they are pulling someone over they use the siren. It was a little disconcerting to see the lights flashing all the time but you get used to it.
The first step onto the bus is very high. You have to grab the door handles and pull yourself up. (And very quickly, I might add)
Umbrellas are used for both sun and rain. Many Cuencanos carry umbrellas every day to keep the sun off just like a parasol. But it’s really just a plain old umbrella!
There are many “street dogs” in Ecuador but they don’t bother you. They just walk around minding their own business and somehow manage to get across busy streets without getting hit by a crazy driver.
More to come next time, hasta luego