Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Busy Holiday Season!

It's been a busy couple of days since Christmas. Nothing spectacular but several walks into El Centro, both for the exercise and seeing the sights. Today was no exception. I had fun snagging a couple of photos from the bus...coming and going.
Angels waiting....
Funny costume, guy pretending to be an effigy (viejo)
Doing the Santa walk?
We had a leisurely walk to Don Colon's, passing many places selling effigies and masks. The flower market was gorgeous and quite busy, too.

After a delightful lunch (Stu had grilled chicken breast with rice and beans, I had a hamburger and fries - we both got soup, juice and a pudding/yogurt type desert for $4 each), we continued meandering around the city. It seems as though animals were center front today.

Only one of several we saw today. Most were along the Tomebamba river, probably headed for a small parade.
Who is walking WHO?
No, not the same dog! There were several in the park today.
We kept seeing kids in angel costumes and got a kick out of these colorful plastic trees in the park. There were lots of street vendors selling bright yellow 2015 glasses for celebrants. No, we didn't indulge.

Effigies were mounted on taxis, cars, buses, trucks and we even saw one in the entrance to a parking garage.

And a few general photos, just for fun!

Adorable little animals that danced
Sweet face!
Neighbor already setting his effigy on fire
So how will we celebrate New Year's Eve? We plan to take our little froggy effigy out to the street and burn it, bringing in good vibes for 2015. We bought him last year but never set him on fire.

After we clean up our mess, as best we can, we will bundle up (yes, it gets cool in the evenings) and head up to our rooftop terrace with a few beers and our cameras where we hope to get some photos of the fireworks across the city.

How about you?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

BBQ in Cuenca: Joe's Secret Garden

Our only visit to Joe's Secret Garden, half a block from our apartment building, was for Thanksgiving. We enjoyed it and often watch the Saturday crowd from our windows. A bit pricey for an every week visit, when they sent out the mailing for this week's dinner...well, read for yourself.

Yeah, it was a no brainer. We arrived around 5:45, got our drinks and I snapped a few photos.

The food was delicious and we had great company at our table, two gals I had friended on Facebook before their move here. They arrived while we were in the states and this was the first chance we had been able to meet.

Funny thing, they were from Memphis as is Joe Sr. They had a blast talking about areas and people they both knew. Yup, small world! Thanks for wonderful conversation, Pat & Dale!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cuenca: The Pase Del Niño Parade

This is not your traditional Christmas parade, this is a more than 500 year old tradition, watched by over 400,000 and participated in by over 35,000 people of all ages. It is a day long affair, with floats gathering in the dark hours of Christmas Eve day and continuing until late afternoon.

The highpoint of the celebrations is the festival of the traveling Infant Child, the Pase del Nino Viajero. This year's parade began officially at 10:00 a.m. at the Corazón de Jesús church on Gran Colombia. Cuenca’s Archbishop Luis Gerardo Cabrera carried the Traveling Child statue to an alter erected at the main entrance of the church.

For tourists and foreign residents, and traditional, Christmas Eve’s Pase del Niño (the Passing of the Child) parade is a colorful and often bizarre mixture of the sacred and the profane. To locals, it’s a time-honored combination of Catholic and indigenous traditions that produces a festival of homage to the Christ child. ~ Cuenca High Life
The parade even consists of horses and llamas, ridden by children carrying local produce, chickens, candies and other goods. They march together with musicians, actors, dancers, military personnel and bands of all types, resulting in a rich, colorful and musical display.

We watched all the floats lining up on Las Americas, they started in the wee hours, still dark, and it was after 3PM before the last one had moved on to the main parade route. These were all taken from our apartment window with camera zoom ;)

Here are some wonderful photos shared by a new friend, Lainie. Thank you!

We will continue to see small parades through till the end of January. Last year we took photos from one on Primero de Mayo, the street we lived on, as well as driving through one on our way to a party!

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