I like Cuenca already, the blend of the old colonial buildings and the new, the rios that run through town, the yellow street lamps and even the nutty traffic circles. Dinner is easy in a great little spot with music that feels like home, cheap drinks and tasty food. We stay late, talking, sharing and laughing. I can see how this family chose Cuenca as a place to live for a while, it's foreign enough, gentrified and welcoming.
Their apartment is across the street from the futball stadium...and as luck would have us, there's a big game tomorrow, Cuenca vs. Quito!
Not only do we get to sleep in a comfortable bed, have a hot shower....but there is a kitchen and we get to cook! Gratefully we start the morning out with eggs and dreams of homemade pizza for later. But first the game!! Unfortunately we forgot the camera....so you'll just have to imagine a lively game of futball in Ecuador, their national sport. And it truly was a great game...Cuenca won 2-1 against Quito, the best team and with a long standing rivalry. So imagine anthem songs sung by young and old, curse words in spanish, mani(peanuts) and cervesa!
The next day everyone was felt like staying in, Xylia sounds like she is coming down with something, and it was just rainy enough to feel right...except for me, I was itching to explore the city and practicar mi espanol. I wandered around Parque Calderon and throughout the tight colonial cobbled streets. Coming off the startling news of the recent death of a former student, I purchased a candle and entered the big cathedral. The cathedral was filled with the soothing sound of a woman reciting prayers and sermon. Walking around the perimeter I find myself standing in front of a dark statue of a woman. Her altar is low lit and she's wearing a black robe and headdress. Looking for a place to light my candle for Georgette I continue around the cathedral. Closer to the main altar is another statue of a woman, this one has a child with her, a book in hand and is dressed in a green robe with a crown, the stained glass around her is designed with red roses, doves and books. Toward the back of the cathedral was one more statue of a woman, this time she was completely carved out of white marble and left unpainted, a shock of white in comparison with the other statues. It occurs to me that I have found the triple Goddess in the cathedral in Cuenca....Maiden, Mother and Crone.
Probably the best part of this day though was what I found on my way to meet, Michael, Teddy and Xylia for dinner. Standing outside the cathedral was a street performer who had to skeleton puppets that were playing music... this guy was brilliant! I sat through a few songs with the biggest smile on my face, and I could have stayed all night. Here is a picture, but really you'll have to see for yourself....so I'll work on loading the video.
Reluctantly I left and met everyone at our favorite restaurant for our last night in Cuenca....so sad! But we had another great night, playing cards, eating, drinking and laughing.
Teddy has been an amazing host, and has now become a great friend! And Matt and Diane...we hope to actually spend some quality time time with you and your family one day. Your generosity has opened me in a new way...if ever we can return the favor, we will! Teddy we hope to see you in Portland on the other side....if not sooner!