Thursday, May 31, 2012

By Magdalena -- Winds in the Willows

We're delighted to share another snapshot of life by gifted writer and friend, Magdalena.  You will enjoy this one as much as the other snapshots (do a search on this blog for previous publications and her bio). 

We'll share more from Magdalena later.

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Magdalena Herreshoff 16/05/2012


Winds in the Willows


It all started with mother’s day, a fine lunch at the Hosteria Uzhupud turned into NO electricity, NO internet and too early to bed. My eyes and mind gave out; all of a sudden I felt old all over; I itched from mosquito bites and noseeums, who haunted me with welts on my ankles. I scratched them wildly never giving up, raw, and bleeding until he yelled: STOP!

It was the next day I called the Luz people to explain we could not do this again: Another night of no light. They sent out a crew after lunch. Two men on a loud motorcycle, the older one in front, the younger one on top of metal climbing equipment - I could imagine what his ass felt like flying over Uzhupud potholes - he stopped the rattling motorcycle right smack in front of me in the middle of the dirt road waiting, arms crossed.

“No luz” I threw up my arms. He gave me a torrent of words I did not understand, and asked “ ¿De d√≥nde es usted?” “ Washington,” I said. When the machete hit sharply against the first willow branch, the older hombre had taken over, carefully saying “Washington”, “Washington” as he whacked his way up the tree doing his best to impress the gringa below; the younger hombre yelled “eso”, “si”, “no”, “si eso”.

It was all over for old willow limbs stroking silver wires into the wind, weeping the scents of mandarinas, black walnut, sweet jasmine and bamboo gone wild. The luz came on, however there was no luz for me, not until the 3 inch black moth, wings spread, lit into my house. He moved inch by inch along the wall, like a magician’s black cape never stuttering. My eyes, focused all night on his black wings,
made me nervous like the winds in the willows stroking something out there in
the dark night.

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Looking up into the skies at Uzhupud

























Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cuenca's Construction Projects

Cuenca's Municipality has funded and begun several renovation projects.  All Patrimony projects are in support of preserving the City's rich heritage.  Cuenca was named a UNESCO City in 1999.

 Lots of folks with jobs and working hard.  We check on all the fast progress on our various walks around town.

The last one on this poster is 'veredas' (sidewalks!).  There are about 19km of sidewalks being repaired in Cuenca's historic area. Good news for us walkers!



Here is a recent pic of some street work at San Sabastian near the Museum of Modern Art.








Another street project near San Sebastian.


Construction has just begun at Parque de la Madre (Mother's Park).  The scope of the project includes an underground parking area for about 140 cars.  Once done, the extra parking in the area will make a huge difference!

This Park is also a popular one for joggers and others.  The planned upgrades will be nice for all.






We are including several of the construction signs.  Most of the signs include the project scope and the budget figures.  Lots of $ allocated to improve the City.

(You may have to enlarge the pics to see the details.)




New street art brightens up the barrier fences, some with a message.

These are some favorites by local artists.
























You might need to enlarge this one to see the US flag...















There is a military guard stationed at this art display.  Perhaps to protect it from the taggers, a good thing.


























This one has pictures of the Pope surrounding it.






Love the shoes!

Another sign for 3 Nov renovation along the river.  This sign is over the walking bridge across the river, seen facing Av 12 of Abril.











Picture looking at some of the construction on 3 Nov.  (Av. 3 de Noviembre is the road/path that runs along the other side of the river, runs parallel to 12 de Abril.)






New street art at this construction site.






















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So much construction, old and new, around our Cuenca!


Here is a progress pic of a new apt building, River View, in our neighborhood. 








It's another huge building with a huge working crew.








 The nearby underpass construction is reported at 70% complete!  Another big-bucks' project and right on schedule.

The City's light rail system project is scheduled to begin before the year is over, too.

So many changes in Cuenca in just the last couple years, just makes your head spin.



One more picture of the beautiful river.
A peaceful place in the midst of all the noisy construction.










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PS -- It's a national holiday this 3 day weekend, beginning Friday.  Ecuador is celebrating the Battle of Pichincha, May 24, 1822.  Officals have moved the holiday to Friday the 25th this year, a day later, so families can enjoy the long weekend.
If you're in Cuenca, you may see military parades.  We're hoping to see them tomorrow and through this weekend.  Also, a National Holiday here means banks and most stores and services will be closed. 

Happy weekend!  Viva Ecuador!





Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Celebrating Mother's Day

Walking on Sundays is always a treat, and we headed on out on Mother's Day. 

Walking on early Sundays usually means less traffic, less noise, less pollution and less hot or rainy weather.






It was good walking weather.  Skies were blue with puffy white clouds.  There was a little chill in the shade, but blasting hot in the sun even though it was still early.  We walked on the shady side of the streets.

You can see the long shadows.  It was about 9am when we walked this street.




Sundays are always for families and Mother's Day was no different, except there were more balloon and flower vendors doing a brisk business.











Some Moms worked today...
























Some Moms enjoyed the Square and the sunshine with their families. 










We found room on a bench to sit and watch.



















































This vendor is selling ice cream out of a cooler.  Always a good day for an ice cream treat!









Love the sun glasses!




























There was a very talented music group performing with strings, trumpets, guitars and wonderful voices.








The music sounded more Mexican than Ecuadorian, but most of the spectators seemed to know all the words!

































































A few more street scenes on this balmy Sunday.






















































We hope all Moms had a delightful and relaxing day this Mother's Day!

Feliz Dia!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Repeating Patterns, Part 2

More repeating patterns...  they are everywhere!

"Repeating Patterns" was one of our walking themes.  All of these pictures were taken here in Cuenca.


Road construction repeats patterns....
























Building construction, too.























Textiles...















More interesting balconies...








































Street tiles at the Flower Market.





Church fronts...
















Some repeating patterns are simple, some fancy and detailed.























































There's a repeating patttern here also, in this window display.









































































Happy Mom's Day and Happy Weekend!