Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yesterday I was on my way to the Coopera and I saw Mark and Connie out in front of their building and had to swing over to say hi.  Mark was on my 'must contact' list while Rachel was away.  We had promised each other a bike ride in the Cajas together.  Scarlet has now carried two strangers while Rachel was away and Scarlet is doing just fine! Mark hadn't been on a bike for at least three years since an accident on one of those narrow two wheeled cousins spit him out in pieces.  Mountain bikes are made for the rugged and biking around Cuenca is rugged.  You need a mountain bike here, period.  I'm not sure, but I think Mark is now a convert to the sturdy wide grip of a Mongoose.  Our starting point was going to be Palermo but we decided to do a little cheating.  We hailed a bus #1 that looked kind of empty heading west and asked the driver if we could take our bicicletas on his bus.  No problema!  This bus took us all the way to Sayausi where we said muchas gracias and knew that we had a leg up on the climb up the Cajas. 

We really didn't get too far as we ran into rain that put a damper on our enthusiasm.  It is still a treat for this farm boy to get out of the city though, so it's all good.  

Speaking of farm boy, I just had to have a look at these ladies and their pig.

They were having such a good time and when I came over to ask if I could take their picture with their cerdo, it just got more fun.  I really wonder how they can even roast their pet porkers here.  You know in the states pigs don't have near the people connection that they do here.  When I came over to offer to help I actually thought we were taking seniora cerdo some place where she was to become tocino.  I found out they were just taking her for a walk and I really wasn't needed.

But I felt grounded again knowing that cerdos (hogs) are pretty much the same north and south of the equator.  They are stubborn but kind of fun.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Waiting Patiently for My Bride

I really thought that a week or two without Rachel would be fine and that we would only appreciate each other all the more when she returned from the states.  It's been over two weeks now and I was to meet her as she arrives in Guayaquil tonight.  Mother Nature had other ideas.
Thankfully Rachel loves snow as she probably didn't get enough of it growing up in Sapulpa Oklahoma.  Well, even Sapulpa and neighboring Tulsa got the full force of one of the biggest blizzards in recent memories.  All flights are cancelled and the airport is digging out.  Nobody is going to work.  For some, like Rachel and her daughter Bianca, it's just an excuse to extend their holiday, play a lot of scrabble, Play Station 3 and eat a lot of popcorn.  Those of us from Iowa know how to handle these storms,  Oklahomans not so much.   Most Oklahomans don't even own a snow shovel so they look for spades, rakes, spoons, and other devices to remove that white stuff.  Some just wait for spring.  Like her mother, Bianca is pretty resourceful and an exception to the rule.  They both look like they're totally enjoying it!

I'm pretty sure they don't have the equipment in Tulsa to clear the streets like Iowa and Minnesota.  It's just a different deal.

Snow is snow and cold is cold whether you're a Hawkeye (Cyclone) or a Sooner (Cowboy).   It can be beautiful, annoying, a lot of work, dangerous, or a lot of fun depending on your frame of reference.   By now you know how Rachel and Bianca see it.  All I know is that Rachel isn't going to be on the plane tonight, and I'm ready to have her back in Ecuador!  Now you know how I see it. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ecuador Parades

Ecuador and it's people never cease to amaze me.  They love their parades!  A year ago on January 16 I was in Otavalo and there was a Christmas parade complete with Santa, Mary, and Baby Jesus.  I was told it was just to wrap up the Christmas season and that they do this all over the country.  I shouldn't have been surprised two weeks ago (also about January 16) when I was on my way to the Cajas on Mongo that my trip was pleasantly interrupted by an indigenous parade with all the same characters that I saw in Otavalo a year before.  Then today (January 30) I'm riding my bike down to Parque Abdon Calderon just to take in the warm day and sunshine and color comes flooding down Calle Presidente Cordova in the form of children on horses and yes, Mary and Joseph and the whole gang. After you've seen the really big Christmas Eve parade, El Pase del Nino Viajero in Cuenca, easily the largest Christmas parade in Ecuador, the parades that follow pale in enormity, but not in spirit.

I know I don't accidently fall into every parade that goes down the street.  I'm sure I miss at least 90 percent of them which means that there's a whole lot of parades going on that I simply never see.  I'm pretty sure that just like in the states, people work, go to school, play soccer and have four generations of family over for dinner every Sunday.  What's different however is that all the rest of the time Ecuadorians are planning or getting in costume for the next parade.  You've got to love a people that celebrate life like this. 

I honestly think some of the dads are just going along with it to be good dads, but the kids never seem to tire of it, even a month after Christmas and two months after the Christmas parades started.  They've all been decked out and parading the streets several times already.  The flowing dresses and the glowing faces seem just as fresh as they were in late November.

Merry Christmas one more time!