Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Walking in April -- Cuenca, part 2 and Pachamama

Several things this month to share...

We have more pictures from our April walking adventures and a little about Pachamama (Mother Nature).

First, we'll share some pics. 

We're still discovering  new-to-us street art.  Lots of talented artists here.

April flowers blooming.

One day we got an extreme storm, complete with lightening and thunder, and a doublé rainbow!  What a show!

Beautiful sunsets and sunrises, too.


Another day we took a ride to Tarqui, right outside Cuenca.  A fun country scene...

We've always had a healthy respect for Pachamama (Mother Nature).  Growing up in the San Francisco área, we appreciate how fast nature can change, whether it is an earthquake or rip tides on the beach.
Yesterday, we experienced a 5.3 earthquake in Cuenca.  Lots of rock n roll, no damage or injuries here, but it did get our attention.  Out of habit, the first thing we always do when we feel a quake is locate our shoes!  And, it prompted us to kind of review stuff we might need in an on hand, an exit plan, wáter/ food, etc.
Ecuador is Earthquake Country, just like San Francisco. Cuenca is not as risky for big ones, but you never know, especially if you travel to those áreas more at risk,  North to Quito, for example.
Pachamama also showed her forcé with recent rains, mudslides and flooding of the rivers.  One river rose so rapidly it caught an 86 year old woman doing laundry at the river and swept her away.  Her body has yet to be found.  Yesterday we read that a rescue team of 3 went searching for her body and one man, the Fire Chief of Paute, drowned when the boat tipped over.  Again, Pachamama got our attention! 
We don't go anywhere near the rivers, including the pretty walking paths, when they roar from the storms. Each year we witness rescue teams out looking for children and adults alike.   It's no time to decide to fish or do laundry or enjoy the scenery or whatever anywhere near the rivers, if you have a choice. 
Pachamama can also cause some concern along the beaches.  High waves are predicted for  this weekend, so be careful. We grew up respecting the ocean and her tides, but so many have no idea what can happen.  Each year it seems we hear about folks getting swept away on our Coast, just like we'd hear about the crazy tourists in SF.  If you have no experience with the ocean, it's time to educate yourself if you're headed that way.  Those of us who lived in California already have that caution ingrained in our DNA. 
Stay safe!  Pachamama is beautiful and peaceful, most of the time. Ecuador's beauty will take your breath away, from the majestic Andes to the gorgeous coastline.  But, she can change on a dime.
Feliz Cumpleaños, Rox! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Walking in April 2015 -- Cuenca, Part 1

We're always amazed and delighted at what we see during our walks all over the City.  Always something new,  interesting and fun  (to us, anyways).

Construction continues in the neighborhoods.  Yet another condo building going up.

Buildings come down, too!  Here are views from friends' penthouse patio, 5 stories up.


Sidewalks are still being improved, yeah!  Lots of folks at work beautifying Cuenca.

Cuenca celebrated Doce de April with great pride.  (12 of April, Cuenca's birthday with the Spanish, 458 years ago.  )

Downtown was full of City flags (red/yellow).

 Not sure what this demonstration was all about. 

April street scenes.

Part 2 coming soon.

Monday, April 20, 2015

15K Run Sunday

Music! Cranked up LOUD!

 The big race start line was right at Ital Deli on Av Solano.  This event was to be a huge event, with about 10,000 participants!

We watched the set-up and listened to the speakers.  The PA system was a little garbled, but we did catch the basics... 

We probably heard just about every tense of the verb "to run''!  The speakers thanked the sponsors, announced the star runners (from all over the world, not just Ecuador), gave instructions to the runners about the overall course ending at the Stadium nearby.  They pumped up the crowd to get them going.

With the countdown at about 8:30am, phase 1 of the runners took off down Av Solano.  This group was the junior group, about a half block of participants.  Of course, the Chola Cuencana song blared...

Then the sun got hotter and we worried about the runners in all that oppressive heat. The intense sun was so bright.  We almost broke a sweat in all that hot and we weren't even moving!

Then, about 10am, the rest of the runners took off.  A sea of red shirts and even more confetti!

After the runners left the área, the street cleaners and the takedown crew got busy.  Confetti everywhere!  The takedown was so fast that within an hour you'd never know the event and people had even been there.  The music continued to just about the last possible moment before workers packed up the speakers.  Loud but fun!  Great tunes. 

After all that excitement, we decided to have a pasta lunch at a nearby restaurant.  It's a good thing we didn't stretch it out as the rains came in right after we got back.  Torrential rains, with lots of lightening and thunder right over our heads.  We really lucked out, got home just in time. 

Storms like this one seem to happen more this time of year.  We remember a similar show when we first arrived in Cuenca in March timeframe.  Each day it would rain like crazy, almost like clockwork, mid-afternoon.  Today's storm hit about 3pm for more than an hour. 

A fun, action-packed, too hot then stormy Sunday!