Someone tell me, when did corn mazes and pumpkin patches become a THING?
I always associate an overabundance of sweets with the Christmas holidays, but in Cuenca, the holiday of sweet abundance is in June, coinciding with the religious celebration of Corpus Christi. For one week, vendors line the streets surrounding the New Cathedral in central Cuenca, tables laden with cookies and candies of every color and flavor imaginable. Just walking down the sidewalk is enough to give you a sugar high and make your teeth ache. I feel like I’ve stepped into my favorite childhood board game, Candyland, or like I’m touring Willy Wonka’s factory. Continue reading
There’s no place like home. I decided to start my series of mini-blog posts about favorite spots in Cuenca in the place where I spend the most time – especially now that I’m preparing lectures and lab assignments.
The past two weeks have been about trying to settle in, finding a routine, and feeling comfortable living in a city. To that end, I spent last weekend playing tourist. It’s a strange thing to go from pure cultural immersion, to taking the double-decker bus along with a group of other North Americans past my jogging path by the river. It’s like I’m moving between worlds. The world of tourist, and the world of inhabitant.
(Caution: Vegetarians may want to skip this post!) Where can you buy tomatoes, papayas, onions, a new pair of sneakers, a can of spray foam for Carnaval, and a live chicken all in one go? That would be Cuenca’s largest local marketplace, Feria Libre!
I’ve spent my first three days in Quito mainly going from one appointment to the next, learning to negotiate taxis and buses, trying to figure out where to eat, or resting my aching feet. But I’ve also gathered a few random insights I thought I’d share here – like how to cross the street, how to get a big meal, and how much fun it is to sit around and chat with people (sorry, still no touristy photos – just a foodie photo!)
A late night arrival in a new country means some major disorientation on Day 1. Combine that with the fact that shadows point south, not north, and my head starts to spin. After one day in Quito, I’m happy to spend an evening hibernating in my room and processing what I know is a little bit of culture shock.
And if you’re wondering why I have only one photo to show you after a full day in the city…well, one of my ways of adjusting is to leave the camera at the B&B in order to keep a low profile until I get a better feel for a place. It’s bad enough that I occasionally have to stop and look at the map I keep folded in my pocket. I can’t help looking like a foreigner. But I can avoid looking like a clueless foreigner.