February 1, 2011

Hasta Luego

It’s been around half a year since I moved to Cuenca and that new car smell has definitely faded. My original plan was to stay until I’m ready to officially retire (quite a few years left) and at that point move back to NYC to enjoy my twilight years--back to my real roots, so to speak. But of course, all plans are subject to change and one never quite knows what’s around the corner.

So it’s time to say goodbye to this blog, which has been a wonderful venue for the initial stages of what might be a long-term love affair. Or not. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m moving over to spanking new digs--maybe I’ll see you there.

Note: I've modified the name of my new blog--you can now find me at:

January 22, 2011

Another Day, Another Parade

Here they come! I know, I know, another post about a parade but I just can't resist them. It's been at least a week since a parade has passed by so when I heard the distant tell tale sounds I scrambled off the sofa and actually tripped over my feet getting to the camera. Good thing I didn't hit my head though I can tell I will have a nice bruise on my leg tomorrow. But I got my pictures, so all's well that ends well.

I was surprised to see that this was a parade honoring the Traveling Child. It seems a little late for it and I wonder why it's taking place today. Notice how small the opening is on the windshield of the car in the photo above. That's what I call commitment to aesthetics!

It was actually quite a well organized parade, almost military in its precision, in spite of its lyrical instruments

and customary guy on stilts.

I love this shot.

And I found this sequence remarkable. There was a lovely strewing about of rose petals (notice the girl with the basket, on the upper left-hand corner),

which left behind this trail,

and a cleaning crew right behind, efficiently and almost obsessively picking up and disposing of every petal. OCD, Cuencano style!

January 17, 2011

Parque El Paraiso

The weather has been warming up lately and yesterday was the perfect day for spending some time at the park. Parque El Paraiso is the largest green space within walking distance of downtown and a very popular family destination on Sundays.

There are ducks and paddle boats on the lake and all kinds of ways for families to amuse themselves.

I particularly like the way this little girl surrenders herself to the moment.

It also appears to be a favorite with couples, for both overt

and covert displays of affection.

Lots of grass for people to lay on as well some unusual benches created out of tree trunks, good for seating as well as for sleeping in a pinch.

I loved this simple and efficient design.

The design of this world clock was also quite fetching but not surprisingly, the clocks did not actually work.

There were quite a few signs posted, with rules ranging from "Please throw garbage in cans" to this one "For your safety, please don't climb the trees". I have never seen so many rules posted in a public place in Ecuador.

I believe dogs are supposed to be on leashes and I wonder if the diaper on this dog is so that the owners feel safe letting it off the leash in case of an accident? I didn't think it was a very good idea but it was hard to tell what the dog thought about it. Maybe it's piece of performance art?

January 14, 2011

Discount Cards

I had to fill a prescription yesterday at the pharmacy at Mount Sinai hospital (Farmashop) and discovered that you can buy a discount card for an annual cost of $5. This card gives you 12% off the cost of prescriptions (and free home delivery), lab tests, radiology, and doctor charges. I think it's a great deal for those of us whose have monthly prescription costs, which are not covered by medical insurance. (Farmashop prescription costs are normally 5% off the maximum cost, so in actuality you get an additional 7% off.)

I also noticed that you can use your SuperMaxi discount card for 10% off prescription charges at Farmashop (but not for other medical costs at Mount Sinai). So if you already have a SuperMaxi discount card check out again what other benefits it provides, besides discounts at SuperMaxi and Sukasa.

The discounts are only available when paying cash. When paying by credit card the discount with the Mount Sinai card is 6% and the usual 5% with the Supermaxi card.

January 8, 2011

Mystery Solved

Ha, remember the giant artwork I posted about a little while back? I got the scoop! Apparently, Mario Sarmiento Merchan, owner of a clothing design studio, decided to go for the Guinness World record for largest dress ever made. It took 21 square meters of fabric, 20 people, and 3 weeks to drape the 21-meter high garment over one hundred 6-meter long tubes of galvanized steel. The workers climbed up an internal staircase within the cylindrical structure in order to shape the dress.

The artwork is titled “Fantasia” and represents the apocalypse, illustrated through artwork in two parts, on the front and the back of the dress. The front of the dress is decorated with illustrations of large native flowers, visible from a distance of 200 meters, painted by Cuencano artists Cristina Quinde and Edgar Leon. The back and train of the dress are covered with a painting of an erupting volcano. The refuse at the foot of the dress symbolizes the devastation of the world.

Mystery solved. One question remains--what’s the connection between the construction of the world’s largest dress and the apocalypse? I still say hmmm...