Sunday, February 15, 2015

Be (Lated) My Valentine

Realizing I have taken a vacation while on vacation, I will do a little catching up. Being out of the center has been a very different experience. Having the river at our doorstep has been the ultimate relaxation experience.

We took a walk along the river on the path to the very end. What is stunning is that along the way, there are dozens of flowering plants all well maintained. On one side, you have the river rushing over rocks like rush hour traffic in a hurry to get somewhere. On the other side, you have grassy areas cushioning your feet like green foam rubber while you feast your eyes on the varieties of fauna.

After one mile of river walking, the path ended so we were going to take a cross street and return to the apartment

walking down the major road. What we did not expect when we started on the cross street was to find a small field with two cows and one bull tethered in their respective spots. Surrounded by high-rise apartment complexes, in the midst of all, there is a patch of country living.
Roses may say, “I love you”, but here they also say you are cheap. Ecuador grows over 60 varieties of roses, with the multitude exported to the US, Canada, Italy, Germany, and Russia. They have over 5,000 acres of land devoted to roses and this is a (pardon the pun) growing field. Needless to say, browsing the flower market each time we are around the center square is a must thing to do. Strangely, we have not bought any for ‘home’ only because we never intend to return ‘home’ for hours.

Other surprises included seeing booth after booth appear on the side of the new basilica peddling Valentine’s

paraphernalia. Items ranged from helium balloons to stuffed bears that would dwarf me in size. Significantly, the flower market is directly across the street; gorgeous bouquets of assorted flowers are available for $3.

Carnival in Ecuador started on Thursday, February 12. Of course, we again were in the wrong place at the right time. I stopped at the tourism office to check on festivities as we had read this was a major celebration. It is, but not in Cuenca. Tourism informed me that all celebrations would be held elsewhere.  The one tradition that they do maintain here is squirting others with colored foam and
spraying them with water. With the advent of technology the spraying has progressed to powerful water guns, but for those financially challenged, buckets of water suffice. 

For days now, we have been relaxed, not doing much at all. We seemed to have visited all of the museums that are open for business. Being outside of the city center has been a deterrent for getting out early in the morning and going somewhere. Now, we laze about thinking about getting a bus to the center, and then laze some more. 

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