Well, good morning everyone and Merry Christmas to all. It’s Christmas morning here in Cuenca and I thought I’d better catch you all up on what’s happening down here. It’s 7 a.m., the streets are wet (but the rain has stopped) and the clouds are low on the mountains, but they’ll burn off as the morning progresses. I imagine the munchkins are still sleeping, but they should be up soon and I’m sure there will be plenty of joy and bright faces this morning. We are wishing we could be with the family and grandkids today and are hoping for lots of photos and videos. Perhaps we’ll be there next year.
We’ve moved into our new (brand new) apartment (about a month ago) and are loving that. We bought appliances and furniture and are getting very comfortable here. Mimi has her massage room all set up and has been building a nice little business over the past month. We’ve been at peace here … up until lately that is.
Thanks mainly to a screwup by our attorneys (and the ecuadorian goverrnment changing the system), we will now have to return the the States sometime in January (at their invitation) and then re-apply for visa status, which means doing the paperwork (and the expense) all over again. Sigh! To their credit, the government here is much more interested in the welfare of their people than say, the United States government, and they are trying to get this immigration mess straightened out, but we got caught right in the middle of the changes. So, we’re planning on flying back to Florida late in January. Then we’ll see where the wind is blowing us.
In the meantime, I thought I’d better send along some images from Cuenca. Mimi and I were in the mountains a few weeks ago, so I’ll include a couple of photos from that trip. The rest were taken at the Christmas parade yesterday in El Centro (the old part of town). It is the biggest Christmas parade in South America and goes from 9 in the morning til 4 in the afternoon. The day was sunny and warm – gorgeous. Here are the photos with explanations below.
The first image is Mimi and Grace getting orchids (yes, they are wild and everywhere) up in the hills around Cuenca. The next few photos are from that trip – a picnic by the river, the valley, etc. We were a little above 10,000 feet on this trip. The rest of the photos are from the Christmas parade and festivities in El Centro. As you can see, people dress either as biblical characters or in their native dress (especially the kids) and parade through the streets. People come from all over (even outside the country) for this celebration, which ends up with the baby Jesus being taken to the new cathedral (blue domes) and a big celebration taking place. There are a couple of photos of vendors – we buy some of our fruits, especially strawberries, from the wheelbarrow vendors. The blue uniforms are street cleaners – it is a very clean city. And, of course, there is one of Mimi next to the big xmas tree in the main square. Mimi and I only stayed for a couple of hours, then walked home – yes, we’re BIG walkers now – it was only about 25 blocks.
We’ll see what the future brings … when it gets here. We’re still adventuring!!!