Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in Cuenca... all about the ninos!

We attended several events that really got us in the holiday spirit.

A Christmas dance show, full of lively Christmas music and dancing, sure got us going in the holiday direction.  Lots of children in the production, as well in the audience.  We were especially taken with some tiny little girls tapdancing their little hearts out!  They wore gold (too big!) Santa hats ...  adorable!

Cuenca's Symphony performed at a local neighborhood church (for free).  Lots of Christmas music, both familiar Christmas music and not-so-familiar...both in English and Spanish.  Children (we think perhaps the kids were from the local parish) began the concert singing carols...  their sweet voices brought a tear to the eye.  Some of the voices were so much bigger than they were!  A joyful noise!

We had heard all about the parade-of-parades on Christmas Eve...The parade of children is even better and bigger than we had heard!!  Just about every child in Cuenca dresses up in costume, everything from clowns,  lots of angels and Biblical costumes, as well traditional and historic dress...Children from all over Ecuador and neighboring countries come to march in the parade, too.  The parade officially began at 10am, but the staging areas got busy way before that, and the parade itself goes on and on for several hours so the children can all participate.   We hear that the crowds numbered close to 80-100,000...  looked about right to us!

Besides the ninos and their parents, we saw decorated horses, sheep and cows...and colorfully decorated 'floats' on the back of huge flatbed trucks.  (Many of the trucks were provided by the military; everyone got into the holiday spirit!)

Lots of music!  Military bands, carolers, traditional Andes' flutes and more.
You can tell it was HOT weather by all the umbrellas and hats...sun gets really intense here at the equator.

We took close to 300 pictures, but here are a few to share:

Lots of children carried 'dolls' representing the Baby Jesus.  Some of the 'dolls' have been in the families for generations.

If you look closely, you'll see
the backs of these elaborate, detailed well as a wagon full of 'Ecuadorian bounty'...including a roast pig.

3 wise men in blackface.

This doggie was decorated, too...can you see he's carrying his chicken toy in his backpack?

Another babe-in-arms.  And, roasted cuy (guinea pig).

We had a delightful time this Season!  We hope all of you did, too.
Wishing Everyone a Very Happy 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A City of Parades -- Peace March, too

We love parades and there seems to be at least one or two in process each time we go downtown.

Rich didn't have his camera the day he saw the new garbage trucks and school children marching together.   And, we didn't get a good shot of the emergency vehicle procession, complete with sirens and flashing lights...this one went on for blocks and was VERY loud!

We had the opportunity to be IN a parade last week. 

Cuenca (along with other Ecuadorian cities) celebrated the Ecuadorian leg of a worldwide, 90 day, March for Peace and Non-Violence.  It was open to all. 

The March took us all over the City, right along with many school children.

A great cause...great weather and a great walk with great friends.... how could we resist?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More info on the adobe rental

Thanks to all who have asked for more details on renting the adobe apartment.

I've put some details down and we welcome any questions!  More pictures coming. 

You can also contact Bob and Roxanne (Rich's brother and wife) to inquire about their unit (3 bedroom/2 bath, fully furnished, too).  It's in a modern 7 story building, top floor.  Email is

Monday, December 14, 2009

Adobe rental is ready! (Pictures)

For those who have been following the progress on the rentals...

The adobe rental is ready!  Thanks to everyone who cheered us on!

We still have some minor plumbing/painting work to finish off in the next couple days and some little odds and ends, but, basically, it's done.  We are now drafting an ad and getting the word out.

Here are some pics.  We think it turned out pretty good!

You will remember this apartment is located in an historic adobe building, across from the Tomebamba river.  The complex is over 100 years old. 

We added hot water, fixed the ceiling, added back another window in the living room (that had disappeared in years past), updated the kitchen with granite and tiles, added laundry facilities and better lighting, re-did the original hardwood floors (eucalyptus!), painted, patched, shopped up a storm and more!!

We learned alot about getting things done within the historic district...  special rules and restrictions and special approvals required. 

Living room (Chuck and Nancy H).  Thanks, Nancy W, for helping with some of these photos.

2 Bedrooms (1 queen and 2 twins)

Laundry porch (off kitchen).

Views from bedrooms

All the furniture and appliances are new. 

1 Bath with shower...

We're making good progress on the 2 units at the Fragata building, too.  More on those later (still targeting about Mar-Apr 2010.  These 2 are the wheelchair accessible ones.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sunday Delights

We started out our Sunday walk by admiring these wonderful RED blooms...we have to keep reminding ourselves that just because it's December, it's not winter as we remember from Oregon...

Since there is always something fun to see and do at the main Square,
we headed there.

Feliz Navidad! This is the HUGE decorated tree, right on the Square.
It's not one big tree, but many artificial boughs tied together in the shape of a giant tree. Still pretty!

We wandered over to the flower market and there were dancers and lively music...

Christmas garlands decorate the flower booths, and a nativity scene in a market nearby...starting to feel a little like Christmas!

And, a parade! Lots of horn-honking, RED shirts and flags, LOTS of excitement!

We understand the Cuenca soccer team did something good! We think we heard that the Cuenca team came in second in the City League...Yay Cuenca!!

We think the Team is on the double-decker can see even the Policia got into the celebration!
The fans were loud, noisy and so proud... Another Sunday delight!