Dear Family and Friends,
It seems that every time we turn around we are reminded just how different things are in Ecuador than back in the USA. Chuck read in this mornings paper that the city bus drivers and the taxi drivers are on strike until 2:00pm. This has a huge impact on the city. Most people here (including us) do not have cars and depend on public transportation. The schools were closed because the students could not get to school.
One thing I find interesting is that there was no warning. It just happened. And the other thing I find interesting is that the strike is scheduled until only until 2:00pm.
The bus drivers are striking because the courts said that they could no longer use the turn styles because it discriminates against the handicapped and pregnant women. The bus drivers depended on the turn styles to keep people honest and make sure that the fare is paid before people sit down.
The taxi drivers are striking against unlicensed taxis.
Ossie, our UK friend, Chuck and I all have birthdays within one week of each other. We decided to celebrate our birthdays together at one time. We looked at the calendar and the best date for us was on Chuck's birthday which was yesterday.
I sent out emails inviting anyone who would like to join us for lunch to meet us at the restaurant Oro Mar. Oro Mar offers a strictly seafood menu and their prices are very reasonable.
The restaurant is located on ave 3 de noviembre, behind the modern art museum. We had a nice time with many friends, old and new.
Brian and Shelley, our Canadian friends, had just returned from the Galapagos and it was fun hearing all about their adventures. We sat around and chatted on the deck of the restaurant for 2 or 3 hours before we all wandered away.
Here are a few of us....more were there but not in picture. I counted about 16 of us gringos.
I'm glad the bus and taxi strike was not yesterday. We would have been in trouble as none of us have our own cars.
Friday night Chuck and I went to see yet another parade. This was a parade to show off the contestants for this years Queen of Cuenca contest. We were informed that it started at 4:00pm. Chuck and I took the bus downtown and walked around to find that by 4:30 it was still very quiet. It gets dark here in Cuenca by 6:30pm and I wanted to take some pictures so we decided to walk to iglesia San Blas, where the parade was being staged.
I took some photos and I am glad I did because the parade did not start until after 6:00pm.
Here are some pre-parade photos:
A carriage for carrying some of the contestants in the parade.
When I took this picture, I thought these were the contestants, but when I saw the parade I discovered they were not. The lady in the center, however, is the current Queen of Cuenca. I am not sure who the other ladies are....just pretty girls to us.
Some of the Cuenca police had on their dress uniforms and their horses decorated for the parade.
Here are some ladies dressed up and waiting to join in the parade.
The lady on the left has roses and the lady on the right has cuy (cooked guinea pig) both are easily found in this area of Ecuador.
Chuck and I walked back along the parade route and tried to find a good place to view the parade. It was quite crowded so we pondered until we looked up and saw a window on the second floor of a restaurant. We decided to go there, order something and view the parade from there.
You can see from this picture how difficult it was to find a good place to see the parade.
By the time the parade got to where we were, the sun was almost set. So I will apologize up front for the quality of the pictures.
The first in the parade was the police band. Following the police band were the young ladies I photographed earlier.
Then came the angels on stilts. There were several angels, there were three wise men and even Mary and Joseph....all on stilts.
Then came a band of angels....
The angels were followed by the ladies dressed in costume that were pictured earlier. And then the floats and carriages carrying the contestants.
It was a fun night.
Today, Hugo is painting our fireplace. Chuck thought it would be nice to have it a contrasting color and to pick up some of the color in the tile. I think it is going to look great.
The buses should be running later this afternoon and we plan to go to ex-pat night to meet some friends at the Eucalyptus cafe.
I will share more about that in our next post.