Monday, December 31, 2012

Rx in Cuenca, Ecuador

Written by Karen.
One of the biggest challenges that we faced before we left on our trip was how to ensure that Adam could continue to take his required medications.  These aren't unusual or high-risk medications, rather they are the everyday, preventative and ongoing maintenance medications that are required as a commitment to better health.   

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pase del Niño Viajero

Written by Karen.
The big Cuenca Christmas Eve parade was today and it didn't disappoint. The weather was cloudy and cool - perfect parade watching weather - and the mood was festive.  The City erected a serious sound system in the downtown main square and for the next 8 hours played familiar and unfamiliar Christmas carols and music.  

The Pase del Niño Viajero parade and celebration in Cuenca is said to be the biggest in Ecuador, with Ecuadorans coming from all over to participate and to watch.  As we understand it, the purpose of the parade is to highlight Mary and Joseph's travels and to honor the baby Christ child.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Eve Before Christmas Eve

Fresh rose petals on the side of the road 
Written by Karen.
The evening sky is turning pink, complimenting the dark gray and white clouds above and casting a pinkish-red glow over the city.  The colors of the buildings seem to warm and provide a contrast with their blue, orange, yellow and white facades.  Although the skies have been overcast for most of the day, it is still warm outside.  The air is almost soft as it settles in for the night and the first lights of the evening sputter on.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Buses and Baños

Piedra de Aqua, Baños
Written by Karen.
Except for two taxi rides that we took early into our visit to Cuenca, we have preferred to take the local bus to our destination.  This might seem to be an odd preference, particularly since a taxi costs less than $5.00 USD, but where would the fun be in that?  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Venturing Out: Chordeleg, Ecuador

Written by Karen.
Adam gave himself another reprieve from shaving today.  We woke up to find that our Cuenca apartment didn't have any water.  Again.  Zero.  Nada.  This is the third day without having water.  Unlike what we are used to in the States, there is no notification - either advance or after-the fact - that you will not have water and when you might expect to have the water turned back on. You find out that there is no water when you turn the spigot and you get nothing but air.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Flashback: Bogota, Colombia - November 2012

Written by Adam
First of all, I am certainly no expert on South America.  It’s actually my first time ever visiting this continent.  I remember studying South America in about the fourth grade - Peru, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, the Incas, the Spanish conquest, that sort of thing.  Pretty perfunctory, and certainly the material was not presented in any meaningful context at that grade level.

South America was that huge continent located below “ours”.  Mexico was that large country in between the two continents, along with that famous canal in Panama that changed shipping in the hemisphere forever.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Venturing Out: Gualaceo, Ecuador

Written by Karen.
We walked down the dusty cobblestoned streets to the Terminal Terrestre (the bus station) which is in the southern part of Cuenca.  We planned to take a bus and explore several towns: Gualaceo, Chordeleg, and Sigsig. We wound up exploring just one today: Gualaceo.  Cost of the bus ride: 60 cents USD one-way per person.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Venturing Out: Turi, Ecuador

Turi, Ecuador
Written by Karen.
Right outside of the city of Cuenca and atop a surrounding hill is the tiny parish of Turi.  We had read that you can see a very nice and expansive view of Cuenca from this little town, so we walked across the City to catch the bus heading towards Turi.  Cost: .25 cents each for a one-way trip.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ups and Downs of Traveling Slow

Cuenca, Ecuador
Written by Karen.
After not making a fully auspicious entrance into the City, it took us another six bumpy days until we were able to regain our footing and begin to hit our stride here in Cuenca, Ecuador.  

Cuenca itself is a charming Spanish colonial city of approximately 350,000 residents, with a vibrant historical downtown area that is fully being used in the everyday real sense, despite its UNESCO designation of a World Heritage site. The colorful architecture has been well-preserved in the historical downtown district and the cobblestoned streets and sidewalks make exploring the city a pleasure. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stuck for a Moment

Written by Karen.
Welcome to Cuenca, Ecuador.  I breathe a rather large sigh of relief.  We are high in the Andes mountains; we are so high that both the clouds and snow cover the sharp outlines of the craggy and rugged mountains.  As far as altitude goes, we have dropped from 9315 feet in Quito to 8370 feet here in Cuenca.