Wednesday, March 30: in Cuenca

Dan, Theresa & Lane's room
Today is Dan, Theresa and Lane’s first full day in Cuenca. Here they are in their room in the hostel discussing the plan for the day with Nancy (photo by Lane).
Since we didn’t have the fixings for breakfast, I walked down the steps and through the park to the SuperMaxi. I arrived shortly after 8:00 am. It was closed and there was no indication when it would open – so I walked back.
While I was doing the SuperMaxi run, Dan and Lane started their day by running down and up the 100 steps down to the river five times. Since Cuenca is at an altitude of 2500m (8200 ft) it was a rather exhausting run.
After the run we we set out looking for a place to have breakfast. Eventually we settled at the one shown below. (photos by Lane) Interestingly, there was no attempt to have all the orders arrive at the table simultaneously.

Coffee prices at the restaurant Gerry & Theresa wait for their orders

After breakfast we walked to the main food market.

Produce area of the maeket Bananas and other fruit Peppers and other vegies

In many cases the vendors were more interesting than the produce they were selling

A produce vendor A vendor of carrots and peas A cheerful vendor

Whenever a customer approached their stall, the vendor was alert and attentive. However, they were not idle when there were no prospective customers. They shucked peas, stripped kernels from ears of corn, knit, or did some other form of handicraft. The vendor in the rightmost photo below was selling fresly made cheese.

Dealing with a customer Busy knitting when no customers Fresh cheese for sale

Fresh herbs and spices
This section of the market smelled wonderful. The vendors here were selling a wide variety of fresh herbs and spices.

Roast pig

In this section of the market you could buy ready-to-eat foods. These vendors were selling roast whole pigs. You could pick whatever part you liked and they would slice it off for you.

The next section of the market featured meat and fish. There were some huge sections of what appeared to be tuna as well as many smaller fish.

Large slabs of meat Huge chunks of tuna One of the fish mongers

Vendor of tack for horses
One end of the market had vendors that sold various types of handicrafts. There were sellers of shoes, hats and clothes. This vendor sold tack for horses.

Security calling hor help Just before we left the market an elderly gentleman collapsed on the stairs up to the second floor. Here a security guard is calling for an ambulance to provide assistance for him.
Handicraft market

Just down the street from the produce market is the handicrafts market. Here a native lady is doing some fine hand embroidery.

Here we have Daniel, Theresa and Nancy trying on items that they eventually purchased.

Dan trying on a Panama hat Nancy trying on a sweater Theresa trying on a bright wool sweater

After visiting the handicraft market we stopped briefly at the flower market and then visited the new cathedral.

Huge cascade of flowers Some of the more interesting flowers Side altar in the cathedral

Lowered on a rope
When we emerged from the cathedral, we noticed a fellow being lowered on a rope to repair someting on the side of the telecommunications building across from the main plaza.
Theresa and Dan carrying their purchases home.

Here are Theresa and Daniel carrying their purchases from the markets on their way home.

As we walked home we stopped in to see Johnny’s building. The crew had finished removing the rubble from the courtyard and so we could go in to see what the interior looked like. Unfortunately, Johnny was busy talking to the architect and so he didn’t have time to show us around.

The first interior courtyard Walls are a mix of brick and wooden beams

Lane gets a haircut

The last item of business on the way home was to get haircuts for Lane, Gerry and Dan.

Once we got home I did a rather useless SuperMaxi run. The supermarket was open and I picked out a lot of the things we needed but, when I got to the checkout I found that I had left most of my money back in the room. So I returned empty-handed and frustrated. Later on in the afternoon, Theresa, Nancy and I did another SuperMaxi run and this time we did manage to get the groceries home. However, by that point I was so bushed, Theresa cooked supper.
Heavy rain in the evening
In the evening, we had a thunderstorm with very heavy rain that went on for hours. They must have gotten at least 2″ of rain. Theresa and Daniel spent the evening getting acquainted with some of the other people their age who are staying in the hostel.