A few observations about life in Cuenca.
1. Here you don’t see beggars just standing on a curbside with a cardboard sign… They actually do a little show while you sit at a red light! And I mean, a pretty darn good show, juggling , balancing acts , a guy had a soccer ball and he did a crazy balancing act with the ball on his head doesn’t sound impressive but I know I could never even attempt it! In my humble opinion, they deserve a hand out, they actually did something creative to earn a fewcoins ! After they finish their show they dash around to the cars and nearly every car gives them something .
2. You don’t see any 24 hour fitness gyms here…. We are staying right across from one of the many parks in this city and we see people exercising all day long. They are very creative with their workouts too. The other day there were three teenaged kids , two were doing sit-ups on the grass and one was running up and down the hill between the grass and the river! And people are jogging and walking constantly . Last night we saw a guy laying down on his back, bench pressing a huge concrete brick! Now that’s creative!
3. Fathers here seem to be very involved with the children. Although I see many of the indigenous women with babies tied to their backs, I see so many men walking witht their wives and the men have the baby swaddled up in their arms. It’s so sweet to see the dad look down at his child with such tenderness. It warms my heart! We went into the modern mall today to just see what they have and again, even in the grocery stores the entire family is together . And more times than not, dad is pushing a stroller or carrying a baby protectively in his arms.
4. Children and teenaged kids are very affectionate to one another. I saw three teenaged girls with their school uniforms on walking down the street holding hands and chatting and laughing! I don’t think I have ever seen that at home. And young siblings carefully guiding the younger ones safely across a busy street . In the park there was a group of adolescent kids and when a new kid walked up to the group she kissed each one of her friends on the cheek. Wouldn’t it be nice to see such kindness more often with our kids at home?
5. Very few people smoke here. Probably because they can’t afford it .
6. They do stare a lot at us strange gringos. I think we must stand out with our Teva’s and baseball hats! But they are always very friendly! When you greet them they respond with a warm greeting in return.
7. Unlike in the States, children are safe here! It’s not uncommon to see young children out and about without a grown up hovering close by. It would be extremely rare to hear of a crime against a child in Ecuador.
8. OSHA does not exist here. There is some construction going on right in front of the inn that we are staying at. We can’t help but laugh at the dangerous conditions and all the lawsuits that would ensue in the states. There are really deep holes with nothing around them! They are like a well, if you fell in you would be in soooo much trouble. There are many areas where there’s rebar sticking up just out of nowhere! Even just walking around on the sidewalks you always have to keep an eye on the ground which can be difficult when there are so many beautiful things and people to see!
9. There are no regulations about air pollution here, sadly. The busses spew tons of black smoke all day long. We have been told though that the government is soon providing new bussesa that won’t do that and they are currently constructing a light rail through the Old Town center in the hopes tha there will be fewer busses.
10. People in Ecudor speak much slower than any other spanish speaking country I have visited. This is very helpful for us Spanish-impaired gringos. If you even attempt to respond to them in Spanish they are extremlt helpful . I have heard that this makes it much easier to learn the language .