March 19, 2010

Secret Gardens

I was walking around yesterday looking for the Registro Civil (Hall of Records) so I could get my cedula (national ID card) when I noticed this courtyard through an open street door (that blue door on the left opens right out to the sidewalk). That would be my ideal type of home but unfortunately small colonials are very difficult to find. These traditional homes, built around an interior courtyard, tend to be enormous, with upwards of eight or ten bedrooms. They used to have big families back then--so most likely, no colonial home for me.

Walking around I realized that the weather advisory warning to make sure to use sunscreen and sunglasses because the sun has been so strong was right on the money. Since I tend to get going slowly in the morning, I have the inconvenient habit of not getting out until noon or so, which is, of course, just about the worst time to be out and about. So I actually used a parasol today! (Well, it was just my regular Totes collapsible umbrella, which I always carry with me because you never know when there’ll be a quick shower but a parasol sounds so much better!). I felt a little self-conscious at first but then I noticed how many Cuencanos were using them as well and then I felt just like a native.

I found the Registro Civil and because I was born here, it was just a matter of minutes to get my cedula, so that’s another reason to feel like a native--I now have official ID! I’ve been feeling a little chagrined because a Cuencano mentioned that I sounded like an Ecuadorean who had learned Spanish abroad. So even though I am completely fluent in both English and Spanish, I apparently have a slight accent in both languages! Rats!

I know this has been mentioned elsewhere but another thing to be aware of is the heightened possibility of tripping because of the cobblestones. I took a pretty spectacular fall the other night, though in my defense, it was dark and raining. Women in particular need to wear proper walking shoes, I think. That doesn’t mean hiking boots! Just low heels and preferably not backless sandals, where your foot is not held securely. And walk slower--I am still given to walking at my New York pace when I’m waking alone but the longer I’m here, the slower I’m walking, which is all to the good.


Connie Pombo said...

Beautiful entryway! I look forward to meeting you in June. My hubby was in Cuenca last month and we have rented a condo. Retirement here we come! Yes, cobblestone streets/sidewalks are beautiful to look at, but treacherous to walk on. I took quite a fall in Europe in November and I'm still recovering!

looloo said...

Hi Connie, great to hear from you. I've been reading your blog and it sounds like we're going to be making the big move around the same time. We'll definitely have to meet for a little celebration!