Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bus Stops And Friendly Cuencanos

The weather changes every hour in Cuenca. I was walking back from the Coopera near Avenida de las Americas when the skies opened up. Of course I had no umbrella. And the nearest bus stop was 3 blocks away. Frequently a bus will stop if you flag him down. The buses run every 5 mintues and I was able to flag the next bus in about 3 minutes thus avoiding a complete soaking. The fare is 25 cents but the driver usually makes change if you have a 50 cent or $1 coin. I  purchase a bus card and pass my card over the card reader. Students and seniors over 65 pay 12 cents when using a card. The down side is that the bus drivers are frustrated Indy race car drives. In my scores of rides I have only met 2or 3 bus drivers that drive safe and slow.

I ventured out in the afternoon to buy some Blu-Ray discs. I found a tienda that sells them 3 for $10. On the way there waiting for the light to turn green I exchanged a smile with a Cuencano about my age. Note to readers I know about 400 Spanish words but my conjugation of verbs has a long way to go. He asked me in Spanish "how it was going" and if I was an American.  We found out that we lived only a block away. In the next 10 minutes we chatted about our children, grandchildren and the crazy Cuencano cab drivers. I told him I had an errand to complete and then I was walking to Super Maxi ( the big supermarket in Cuenca. He asked me if I needed a ride to the store. After waiting for me to shop he drove me back to his apartment.(a block from my apartment) . He invited me in for coffee and we agreed to meet Thursday for a walk.  All in All a great experience and maybe a new friend in Cuenca. I'm sure I killed  the tense in a couple of my Spanish sentences but I have found Cuencanos to smile and appreciate that I am using Spanish. My favorite mistake was when asked if I like the fish in Ecuador. I quickly replied, "Me gusta mucho Cortina. thinking I was saying "Corvina" which is Sea  Bass. I really was saying, "I really like the curtains".

The picture below I captured in the Tomebamba River where some Camapasinos were washing their laundry.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

El Centro And Futbol

The New Cathedral is almost always on my walking route. It's a great place to people watch and there's music and in this video one of the reasons why children are so well behaved in Ecuador. I also snap my wife and Dean outside of Banana's Restaurant.

The next day on my walk to SuperMaxi I pass the stadium and there are some pictures of police on horseback protecting the crowds at a Futbol game. They take that sport very seriously in Ecuador.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mercado 9 de Octubre

Cuenca has many mercados. The biggest is Fiere Libre. I went there once with a Spanish speaking ex-pat and was overwhemed. It's was indeed a visceral experience. A smaller and gentler Mercado is Mercado 9 de Octubre located at Mariscal Lamar and  Hno Miguel.  Today I ventured in and was awed by the 2 floors of vendors. I  mostly stayed on the first floor and was very proud that I conducted all the transactions in Spanish without using hand gestures. I even asked for a nyapa( spelling) which in Quecha means an extra.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birthday, Tomebamba River And Empty Streets

My birthday celebration lasted two days.  The night before my birthday I had a wonderful meal with our new Cuencano friends and on my birthday Sharon and I had dinner with two other ex-pat couples at the Hotel Victoria. I highly recommend the food at their restaurant. I had the Filet Mignon ($8.25).  The rest of the movie contains shots of the Tomebamba River and some of the closed streets during a bike race this past weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Favorite Street Entertainer Is Back

Most every day I walk on Solano to El Centro and on the corner of Doce de Abril and Solano there is usually a street entertainer or two. I've always wondered how they decide who gets what corner.  In any case this guy has definite potential. I also snap some of the scenes by the Tomebamba River and the construction of the new condos near Tres Puentes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

3 Months In Cuenca

3 months ago Sharon, Feisty ( our 16 year old kitty) and I left Oregon and started our retirement in Cuenca.  We have been very fortunate so far.  We have met some wonderful expat and Cuencano friends and our apartment is 20 meters from the ever changing Yanuncay River.  A son of  a Cuencano friend one day described the river as angry and told me that the rivers take on the personality of a human. Today I took my camera and shot the river at different times of the day. Today, I would call the river "friendly".

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Children Working With Their Parents

In Cuenca you often see Campesino women and their children selling fruit, potato chips and lotto tickets. In the first part of the movie you can see a tiny toddler dressed in a pink sweat suit working near her mother. In the last part of the movie you can see a son working with his bus driver dad.  Bus drivers unlike their counterpart in the U.S. make change. The  bus driver's son swipes the bus pass when passengers give coins larger than a quarter.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Churches, Stilts, Soldiers, PlantMan, Rivers

I had good intentions when I started this video. I was going to shoot video of at least 10 of the scores of churches in Cuenca. I easily became distracted with students on stilts, soldiers guarding the Provincial Government building and the rivers. But the most interesting distraction has been the "Plant Man".

Cuenca is a city of 400,000 people. I walk everyday and I have seen this man 5 different times. Yesterday, I saw him in two different locations. Next time I see him I'm going to buy a plant.