Carnaval – No Time to Cruise Around Cuenca

Ecuador - Cuenca February 2016 010Anticipating a day of visiting some favored museums, disappointed we discovered the favored as well as the one new museum had closed signs. Our timing is off; this is Carnaval time and not the Carnival cruise company with a similar name. Interestingly, yesterday, they were putting up the equipment in the photo when we walked by. Today, there was no trace of it.

Feriados or the pre-lent holidays started early, reportedly many head for the seaside. That is risky behavior these days with the threats of the Zirka virus. An article in the Wall Street Journal reports 13 cases are ‘homegrown’ as in occurring in Ecuador. Carnaval will last through Tuesday, so these are going to be slower days than usual. Fortunately, we have a number of lunch dates set up.

Ecuador - Cuenca February 2016 014With our plans aborted, we wandered aimlessly. Walking around the cathedral, the vendors are Ecuador - Cuenca February 2016 013trying to attract those who are not disappearing with festive water guns in various sizes, spray foam, and Valentine’s Day offerings. Wary of our surroundings, anyone is a potential target for being squirted or drenched with water or splattered with spray foam. This is a holiday tradition.

One place we have frequented in the past is a bank lobby where they have rotating art exhibits. We were not disappointed entirely when we returned. There were art pieces on display, though the Ecuador - Cuenca February 2016 019offerings were not as extensive as they have been in the past. Regardless, it filled a need. There is still something about the ceiling that I find attractive.
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In Abdon Calderon Park, the gazebo had some interesting childlike forms hanging over the side. Because there was no one around keeping an eye on them, my best guess is that they were part of whatever happened last night. Now, they are just abandoned children waiting for rescuing. Their colorful playfulness had a great appeal and brought smiles from all observers.

There was one Guayacan tree in bloom in the park. Ron was obsessed with these trees Ecuador - Cuenca February 2016 025when we were here last year. He wanted to travel to the Mangahurco region where the guayacan forest is the largest in the country. They only blossom once a year following the first rainfall of the year. Shortly thereafter, they drop all of their yellow petals covering the ground like melted butter. We did not get to the Mangahurco region, because the blooming time is not precise, so there are no predictions for blooming or shedding times.

Looking at the cathedral, both in and outside, it Ecuador - Cuenca February 2016 027seems brighter and cleaner. There must have been a major overhaul of the building. The crispness now did not exist last year. Even the other buildings on the square are getting fresh coats of paint to beautiful the entire square block.

What we have appreciated in the past are the wonderful free concerts. Last night, we Ecuador - Cuenca February 2016 028attended a free concert held in the old cathedral. The Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuenca performed under the direction of Patricio Mora Yanza. Jhomayra Cevallos Ordóñez performed a violin solo. Pieces included works of Carl Maria von Weber (German), Henryk Wieniawski (Poland), Nikolái Rimski-Kórsakov (Russia) and José Ignacio Canelos (Ecuador). I am not the most tolerant audience for classical Old Cathedralmusic; I prepared myself to drag Ron out early. However, surprisingly we found it enjoyable to stay to the end.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.