Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Holiday Season Gearing Up

It's October already and we're all gearing up for the holidays.  There are several coming up.  Our Holiday Season tends to blend all the holidays together for one BIG Party for a few months.  Music, fireworks, children in their holiday outfits, art exhibits and more.  FUN!

We start with Columbus Day's 3 day weekend.  The City was quieter as families headed out of town and businesses shut early. Felt like a Sunday in some areas. Traffic out of town on Friday was much more busy, with more road checks and cars. 

Right around the corner is the Nov 3 celebration of Cuenca's Independence Day!  Expect fireworks, parades, lots of people. 

Nov 1 is All Saints Day with special Church services.

Nov 2 is All Soul's Day, Ecuador's version of the Day of the Dead, so families will be bussing up the grave sites and visiting the cemeteries. 

From there, we go right into the granddaddy of all holidays...Christmas!  More parades and celebrations, with the most fun on Christmas Eve. 

Cuenca hosts a parade of parades that goes on for hours, all over the City.

 New Year's Eve is fun here, too, with the burning of dummies in the streets...out with the old, in with the new.  Fireworks all over the City, too!

Speaking of Christmas...  one of our favorite events that we are honored to support is the wonderful Kid's Christmas Party, hosted by our family on the coast, Bob and Roxanne.  They work their tails off each year to provide gifts, food and fun to now about 350 children in their community.  This will be their 5th year and they have it down, running like clockwork.  Give a look at their blog for more info on how you can help to make this the best event ever for the children.  There are also some fun links to previous parties. 

You can see what a wonderful and heartwarming event this is, where every donation goes directly to the party, no middle people taking a cut or redirecting the money somewhere else, including their own pockets...

Bob and Roxanne's Kid's Christmas Party is our kind of charity!  Simple, very organized and focused for the biggest bang for the buck.  We hope you agree and will give a little something for the party this year.  The pictures of happy children with Papa Noel are priceless!

Here's the link:

All of these pics are from events from previous years.  You can go back in our blog to see more.
We'll be posting more info and pics of each holiday 2012 later.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More Walking Av Mariscal Lamar -- Hello Kitty!

Lamar is the street that we often walk to town.  We pick it up at the Punto Deli near our SuperMaxi.
Av Lamar will take you all the way through town to Av H. Capac.  No turns, just keep walking straight.

Here is the outside of the busy Mercado, 3 of Nov.

Lots of grains in bulk in the shops outside the big market.

We didn't go into the market building this time, but we know it's filled with beautiful produce.

This market will undergo some renovations and repairs soon.

Some Lamar street scenes.  We're bouncing around with the order of the pics...but these are all of Av Lamar.

This building needs some work!

Closer to downtown, you can see the more fancy buildings and shops.

An English language school for children.

Great old buildings, mixed in with newer ones.

Generally, the further we walked toward Town, the more fixed up and modern the buildings.

More fun clothes down a side street.

Back on Lamar, a little bit of everything.

As we walked through the neighborhoods along Lamar, we walked the variety of sidewalks...old, new, narrow, safe and not.  Sidewalks and the street are newer closer to downtown.

Av Lamar is a straight-shot to downtown.  On these days, we zigzagged a bit toward the Square or cut up a couple blocks to Sangurima, easy to do.  We really enjoyed the various neighborhoods we passed through. 

Lots of variety:  Old and new buildings, small shops and services, the big mercado, fancy shops and little tiendas.

It's a busy thoroughfare, too.  Best to walk this stretch in early mornings or weekends to avoid the traffic and bus fumes.  Some of the sidewalks are so narrow you'll need to walk in the street, so less traffic is good.

The new light rail will be built along Lamar!  This is Good News ,should replace some of the stinky buses and busy traffic.  The light rail project is slated to complete in 2014.


For all the Hello Kitty fans!  A costume shop!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Paute Valley

We like to get out of town and go to the countryside in the Paute Valley for a few days.  Quiet and peaceful.  Smells good, too.

We found a country road to walk down one morning, complete with greenhouses full of tree tomato plants.

Open fields and the Paute River reminded us of our ranch in Oregon.

We returned to Cuenca, re-charged, relaxed, rested and ready again for the City.