¡El Hombre y Los Fuegos Artificiales!
Trip Start Oct 17, 2006
42Trip End Jun 23, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
On the way to Cuenca on Thursday we stopped off at a number of interesting sites. We got more great views of the other side of Volcan Tanguahua spewing ash high into the air and went to an indigenous cementery for the day of the dead celebrations. It was surprisingly commercial - stalls selling flowers, colada morada drink and whole barbecued pig and of course the ubiquitous guinea pig
After 12 hours we arrived at Cuenca and met the family of our Quito parents. Four generations of family to be exact! It wasn't exactly 'mi casa es tu casa' but eventually we managed to break the ice with our poor attempts at Spanish and they were very hospitable, if a little intimidated by us. It helped that Jon fixed their PC while he was there!
It was Cuenca's annual foundation festival this weekend and the festivities started with a bang - literally. They do things differently in Latin America... the fireworks (the eponymous 'fuegos artificiales') started with a man dressed as a cow - I kid not, they call him the 'mad cow'. Anyway, the mad cow danced around whilst the encircled crowd watched with some trepidation. Every now and again a firework would whistle up from the body of the cow and burst over the crowd, causing them to scatter with shrieks of excitement. Eventually the cow burnt itself out and the stage was set for the tower of fireworks which stood in the middle. It all started so well with nice gentle catherine wheels but after a few minutes the fireworks turned ugly and headed for the crowd once more! This time the crowd fled for their lives as fireworks landed around their ankles! One just missed Helen and Jon and caught poor Miguel between his legs, where it burnt right through his trousers before someone managed to put it out
We spent the next two days visiting various sites in and around Cuenca. Often the whole family would go out, numbering eleven, including abuela (grandma - top of four, soon to be five generations there) the 90 year old. We'd all squeeze into the pickup truck and invariably Helen and Jon spent the most time in the elements at the back. Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city and the climate is so much nicer than Quito. On Friday we witnessed the military parade, which was more fun for Helen than Jon (I'll let you guess why!) but also very Latin American in true brute force and colour. On Saturday we explored the national park nearby where we made an exhausting walk up to about 4000m in the high 'paramo' where it's too high for trees to grow and ate delicious freshly caught trout on the way back down.
We're off to our new adventure up north in the cloud forest early tomorrow. You may not hear from us for a while as a result but keep those comments coming, it's great to hear that our words are actually being read!
PS Piccies next time cos this machine doesn't have any decent editing software on it...