Cuenca

Published on March 22nd, 2014

19

El Centro Flower Market

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Whew! Fully six weeks here in my new Ecuadorian home, and (finally) I’m happily acclimatized to breathing 25% LESS oxygen at 8,000 ft. (good grief, no WONDER I was feeling like crap that first week!)

The weather here in Cuenca remains most idyllic – every blessed day blue skies, sunny and temps in the 60-70’s.  As evening falls, a reliable gathering of ominous black clouds wafts over the mountains dropping a brief shower – just enough to add a bit of variety and drama to an otherwise dreamily perfect climate.

So very many facets to yet another resettlement in a new foreign land. Starting from scratch (knowing nary a soul, nor where to even BEGIN to build a new life) can be decidedly daunting to be sure. But the truth is, I THRIVE on it – a whole new culture to learn about, new foods (loving the “queso fresco” – fresh white cheese, much like feta – tucked into a slit banana and grilled at the curb), bartering with the lasses at the Mercado for all manner of freshly slaughtered “cerdo” (pork), “pollo” (chicken),  “carne” (beef) plus (freshly trucked from the coast) “pescado” (fish) and jumbo shrimp (a half kilo, 3 bucks).  Figuring out the local bus system (.25 and apparently we dodderin’ old folk can ride for half that!), not knowing what’s around the next corner, what might I find down THAT lane (then simply turning said corner and wandering aimlessly down one cobbled “calle” after another).

Which brings me to today’s pictorial edition of my new home – just one of MANY lovely corners of Cuenca – the El Centro Flower Market – situated across from those spectacular blue domes of the “Catedral Nueva”, but a block from Parque Calderon (and thus just 4 blocks from my front door).  I make a point of passing by there every few days to tote home a bouquet of roses, lilies, daisies and other fragrant eye-candy (2 bucks w/ a bit of genial barter – no extra charge for the Spanish practice!) to brighten my new apartment.

In short – THIS is an every day part of my world now here in Ecuador:

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Interesting note: every stray petal is saved in boxes – to be later strewn at religious festivals and parades.


About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!



19 Responses to El Centro Flower Market

  1. Sue Pearson says:

    Wow those flower markets are gorgeous, Thanks for such nice pic’s showing them…And so affordable to have all the time!

    • Dyanne says:

      Yes Sue, the flower market is a treat, and I love having fresh flowers in the house all the time!

  2. Steve C says:

    It’s Sunday morning here in No. California and our weather has also been in the 70’s lately. I’m not trying to compare, just saying it’s Spring, and a beautiful time of the year.

    Your post this morning is a perfect way to start out a Sunday morning. A cup of coffee, the Sunday paper and a few travel blogs to keep me focused, and I’m a happy guy.

    I’ve just recently reworked my get-away plan to include Ecuador as one of the first stops. Your description of Cuenca is my idea of a place that I seek out while traveling. Da Lat and Chiang Mai are also high on that list too. The count down is now down to about five months. Then I’m off living a life similar to what you’re doing.

    Keep on keeping on! Your posts are like reading a good book that never has an ending.

    • Dyanne says:

      Well gosh Steve – glad you’re enjoying my ongoing blather here at TL (and g-knows – at my dodderin’ age – I favor thinking it’s a “never ending” book) 😉

      Nice too, to think of you there up north in my native land – likewise sipping your Sunday morning cuppa as you read (my own here is a most reverently homemade cup of “cafe con leche”).

      Good for you for setting a “Great Leap” date. As you must know (if you’ve read much of my TL mutterings here) dumping all my “stuff” and buying that one-way ticket to Hanoi, was the bar none, BEST thing I ever did. If you have any questions and/or just need inspiration – do give me a private holler.

      And yes, though few have even heard of Dalat, Vietnam (it’s happily not on the Asian Banana Pancake Trail, as is Chiang Mai) it truly is my personal Shangri-La. But vastly different than here in Cuenca, so yes, good to sample different corners of the globe til you find one that especially tickles your unique toes.

  3. Stacey says:

    Looks gorgeous! Would love to skype soon! We must have a catch up ASAP!
    Stacey kindly contributed to world literature by posting…It’s official… I’m Staying in ChinaMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Yep Stace – Cuenca/Ecuador seems to suit me well. Sounds like you had a bit of a rough start in China, but glad to see you’re still hanging in there. After all – you did say that you wanted an “adventure”, and Beijing is nothing if not THAT, yes? 😉

      And yes, Skype – we’ll have to synchronize our variant time zones for a chat soon.

  4. What a gorgeous post, Dyanne! Wow! I love that flower market. Your photos are stunning. And the bus is even cheaper– 25 cents for adults, 12 cents for students and folks over 65. I know–sounds impossible, but it’s true. We can hardly afford NOT to ride the bus! LOL We need to get together soon. Sara wants to meet you, too.

    Hugs,
    Kathy
    Kathy Mccullough kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Follow your Bliss: Transform Ordinary Furniture into Extraordinary ArtMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks for dropping by Kathy (and can’t WAIT to play w/ all the pretty paint colors at your art furniture workshop next month).

      25 cents for the bus you say? Hmmm… Ilene Roberts kindly guided me to Feria Libre by bus awhile back, and… I thought I dropped .50 in the slot. Guess not – I’ve now edited the fare in my post – thanks.

  5. Good to see you surfacing for air over there in Ecuador. 😉
    Ruth Elisabeth kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Review: Language Master KeyMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Indeed, Ruth – I dare say “surfacing for AIR” is the operative word here. It surely was a bit tough the first week or so, but now that I’m acclimatized to these rarefied heights, I’m loving the (major) differences between Asia and Latin America.

      Question izzz… where are YOU hanging these days? Last I heard it was… what? Paris?

  6. Nina says:

    Sounds like an awesome place, maybe I should consider swapping Chiang Mai with Central America… Enjoy your time, it sure looks lovely place to live.

    PS: I love your motto!

    • Dyanne says:

      Given that I recently lived in Chiang Mai myself Nina, I can tell you that the two “darlings” of the expat crowd both have their merit. They’re both very economical to live, and both have an excellent infrastructure for we digital nomads. I prefer the cooler climes here in Cuenca (not to mention none of the infamous “burning season” in Chiang Mai) but if you favor the tropics, just head down a tad in altitude and/or there’s likewise plenty of beaches to choose from along the coast.

      And probably the best difference between Ecuador and Thailand – is that here, the visa situation is far more amenable to long-term stays. None of that silly running to the Mae Sai every 14/30 days. Here you can get a 90 days freebie upon arrival, that’s renewable for another 90 days.

      In short, my stay in Vietnam/Thailand was perfect for exploring all those many wondrous neighboring lands on that half of the globe, but Ecuador is likewise great and gives me a whole new continent (South America) to explore. So a “nomadicfreelancer” like yourself might well give Ecuador a go.

      And yes, g-knows this surely “ain’t no dress rehearsal!” So best try to sample all the candy in the candy shop this time around, yes? 😉

  7. Gail Kuger says:

    Delightful, looks for homey, colorful and historic — like a movie set!
    Gail Kuger kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Creamy Asparagus Ends SoupMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Excellent metaphor, Sis – I often feel like I AM living in a movie set. Here amid the cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs and jaw-dropping ornate cathedrals – the movie “La Dolce Vita” springs to mind! 😉

  8. Cuenca sounds really lovely. Do you feel as safe wandering around at night as you did in Chiang Mai?
    Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque) kindly contributed to world literature by posting…To Write or Not to Write, That is the QuestionMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Actually Suzanne – interesting you should bring that particular question up as…

      Though I generally don’t bat an eye at the preponderance of fear mongers who proclaim that travel in {insert most any patch of foreign dirt on the Planet, but of course excluding movie theaters in Colorado, school yards in tranquil Connecticut towns, childcare centers in Oklahoma, uh… need I go on?} Nonetheless, I must admit before I arrived here in Ecuador, I WAS a bit put-off by some of the ominous tales being told about this or that city in Latin America.

      Ah but now that I’m here, I can honestly report that all the fear-mongering is (as usual) highly overrated. There’s surely far LESS crime here in Ecuador than in my native U.S. of A. land, and the answer is: yes, I feel quite safe here in Cuenca. As safe as I feel in most every blessed place I’ve roamed on the globe (including solo across all of South Africa which, sadly seems to perpetually be an especially ripe target for idle fear-mongers – sigh…)

      That said, there ARE ways to mitigate the chance of becoming a victim of course, but such would take a separate post (not to mention plenty has already been written on the subject – just Google for “safe travel tips”) and even then – such safety practices are the same be it traveling in Chiang Mai, Cuenca or Seattle.

      • MCRT says:

        I have had many people ask me about fear of losing Stuff while traveling. As you say, risk seems higher in many US cities. I’ve told lots of people to look up the USA on the British or Australian state department sites.

        “There is a general threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

        You should be alert to the dangers of car and street crime. See Crime”

        • Dyanne says:

          Well yes, “losing stuff” is ever a concern when you’re on the trail, Mike. But that’s why I travel with so little, and don’t flash around expensive techno toys, jewelry, etc. Nor would I do so amid the streets of Seattle (I once had all my pricey camera equipment stolen out of the trunk of my car in Pike’s Place). ;(

          That said, personally I pay little mind to what the US and/or UK/Oz State Dept websites say about global safety/travel alerts. They’re all notorious for being excessively conservative (understandably so, as it’s a COA – Cover Our collective A’s sort of thing).

          Indeed, if I relied solely on such dire missives to direct where I roam – I’d probably never even leave my front door in Hometown, USA.

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