Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Adventure to Uruguay and Argentina Begins

We have been going through pictures of our first trip to Uruguay and Argentina!  Lots of good memories.

Our party of 6 began the adventure in Guayaquil, then on South.  In a short time, we were able to get a broad brush look/see of 2 cities in Uruguay, Colonia Del Sacramento and Montevideo, and Buenos Aries, Argentina. We'd like to return someday and see more.

Happy to report that none of us got sick or injured, no flights got canceled, no 'bad stuff ' happened, except for some weight gain (which is already coming back off, thank goodness!) 

When we first began doing our homework, deciding where to go and live for our South American adventure, Uruguay was on the short list.  Of course, we ended up in Ecuador, but our lives would have surely been different if we had gone to Uruguay instead.  It would have been more European, more expensive, less diverse...and no Andes mountains!  If we had gone there instead, chances are we would have also ensured our US American figures, the food/wine is that good!

The food was absolutely delicious!  We ate the best beef and lamb ever, French croissants (many!), great coffee and amazing wine.  We toured the cities and got a good flavor of neighborhoods. We saw some beautiful countryside and the sea.  We attended a tango dinner show, toured an old historic winery, walked the streets and along the rivers, met some nice folks, admired art and architecture, trees and flowers.  We visited the Pope's Church!  We loved the variety of shopping, where we found shoes in our big sizes! We enjoyed the sunshine and the warm temps, mostly in the 80's F.

As you might expect, the Spanish accent of native speakers in both countries is different from any in Ecuador!  There is a more demonstrative and hand-talking way, more Italian.  People seem to talk louder, too.  And, pronunciation of certain letters (doublĂ© l and y) are pronounced as a shushing sound.  A little hard to understand, but we managed.

This trip was the first time for us at sea level for this long (about 2 weeks) in several problema.  We also didn't feel anything different returning back to altitude here in Cuenca, all good.

We'll be sharing some pictures and stories to try to give you a good overview of the adventure, coming soon....Stay tuned.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cuenca Celebrates 194 years of Independence

On November 3, Cuenca marks her day of freedom from the Spanish Empire.

The City celebrates for days, with art shows, music, dancing, food, parades, fireworks, beauty contests, rodeos and horse shows, rides for the children, and so much more!

 It's loud, it's crowded and we love it !

So many activities that one cannot see them all. 

This year, we hit the art show along the river with booths (and traffic and people) as far as you could see.

On THE DAY, November 3, we headed to the Main Square for the military presentation. 

Then, we ran into a parade for Beauty Queens!  Each surrounding town in our state of Azuay (Cuenca is the capitol) was represented, as well as the Chola Cuencana contestants for that afternoon's election and crowning.  All the women were just beautiful.


These are past Queens, we think.

So many very cute children all dressed up, too. 

A good start to the Holiday Season!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

October/November Walking

We are still walking all over Cuenca, enjoying the sights and sounds of the City.

Always something fun to see. 

This is a picture of a street entertainer, all dressed and sprayed in silver.  When the traffic stops, he goes through his routine.  Then, he walks against the traffic asking for donations.  He's been on the corner for a few days so it must be profitable for him, we're guessing.

Street art is everywhere.  New-to-us art seems to pop up each walk.

It's tangerine and strawberry season!  Vendors selling out of wheelburrows were doing good business.

Halloween isn't a huge deal here yet, but it's starting to catch on.  We think it's mostly celebrated by folks returning from the US.  When we first arrived, there wasn't any Halloween.  Now, we hear of private parties for children and adults, without door to door trick or treating.

There are other opportunities to dress up in costume here instead.

A new day care in the neighborhood.

Construction still is booming.  We count more and more buildings going up.

Cuenca's flag colors are red and yellow. 

Getting ready for Cuenca's Independence Day/Week of festivities (which is the next blog).