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Quick Videos – A Bit of Weather

So it’s been a fairly rainy winter here (everyone keeps reassuring me that this is out of the ordinary ;)), but I honestly don’t mind – I’ve always loved storm-watching, and this is turning out to be a storm nerd’s paradise!

The first clip showcases an interesting Ecuadorean architectural feature – unlike homes in the US, Ecuadorean homes generally aren’t ‘sealed’.  For example, our skylight has an open gap so that a little bit of outside air can get in, but it has a gutter mounted below the edges for drainage.  Usually it works pretty well, but you’ll see that sometimes more than just air comes in!

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Art for Art’s Sake

Artistic expression is a core value of Ecuadorean culture, including everything from street performances, artisanal craftsmen, to dozens of museums. In that vein, one of my favorite art forms here are the murals that pop up around the city. The subjects range from the whimsical to the fantastic, and everywhere in between, showcasing the talents of the many local artists. It’s an interesting contrast to the US, where much of this art would be considered graffiti or vandalism and would be painted over or otherwise removed.

Another interesting observation is that the murals are generally treated with respect – it’s fairly rare to find a high-quality mural that has been defaced, unlike much of the street art I used to see stateside.  Anyhow, here are some of my favorites from our recent travels in Cuenca and Vilcabamba…

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Say Hello to my Little Friend

So… Martha wasn’t feeling well and crashed early, so I was messing around playing a game in the upstairs office…  I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and turned my head just in time to see this little guy fluttering around and coming in for a landing…

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Just for the record, that’s a support beam of about 30cm across, this moth was huge! I’m just glad it wasn’t a bat 🙂

Fortunately the office has a big door area to the outside, so I opened it up and he flew off into the night…

Just so many cool things here…

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In-Town Outing: Museo del Banco Central ‘Pumapungo’

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Near the intersection of Calle Larga and Huayna Capac
Tue-Sat, 8AM – 5:30PM

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Much to my delight, museums are abundant in Cuenca, sprinkled liberally around the city like gems.  One of the coolest ones I’ve seen so far is located in Banco Central on Calle Larga near the Pumapungo archaeological site:

Museo Banco Central is the largest museum I’ve visited so far in Cuenca – there are rotating exhibits on the main floor (currently exhibiting comic book characters designed by Cuencano schoolchildren), the basement level contains a museum of currency, and a series of upstairs galleries showcasing Ecuador’s many regional indigenous groups.  Sadly, we had limited time, so we did not get to see the numismatic museum, but that just gives us an excuse to go back!

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The really interesting thing that I took away from this museum was the wide variety of ethnic groups in Ecuador and the amazing range of their artistic expressions – it reminded me of the Native (North) American cultures our family experienced during our years in Alaska, Washington, and the Southwest.

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New Year’s Cuencano Style

Happy New Year everyone!

One of the things I truly love about Ecuadorean culture is their style of no-holds-barred celebration, and New Year’s Eve was a magical experience in that regard.  This being our first NYE here, we decided to take it kind of easy, relaxing at home and hanging out on our front porch.  As afternoon set in and the first fireworks started going off, the city vibe shifted from the day-to-day hum into an anticipatory high.  As things ramped up, it was incredibly interesting to hear the sounds of different neighborhood celebrations as the winds shifted, and catching whiffs of grilled food for the revelers.  After dusk, the festivities began in earnest, with about 6 hours of random aerial fireworks from neighborhood displays.

The real fun started around 11:30 PM, when the incredible fireworks displays ramped up even more, culminating in this display I caught on my cell phone around 3 minutes to midnight:

 

 

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Royale with Cheese

From Pulp Fiction:

Vincent: It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just…it’s just, there it’s a little different.
Jules: Example?
Vincent: All right. Well, you can walk into a movie theater in Amsterdam and buy a beer. And I don’t mean just like in no paper cup; I’m talking about a glass of beer. And in Paris, you can buy a beer at McDonald’s. And you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Jules: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?
Vincent: Nah, man, they got the metric system. They wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.
Jules: What do they call it?
Vincent: They call it a “Royale with Cheese.”

One of the major reasons I relocated to Ecuador was to experience new things, and Ecuador sure delivers!

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The Chameleon Valley

I’ve dubbed Cuenca “The Chameleon Valley” because it never looks the same twice – as the day progresses, shifting cloud cover and sunshine alternately shroud and highlight the various hilltops and valleys, lending a magical quality to this beautiful location.

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At Long Last, the Adventure Begins!

After several months of house hunting, the ultimate garage sale from hell, an interstate drive, 2 flights, and 48+ hours of no sleep, Martha, Bosco, and I finally arrived in Ecuador!  The new house is as awesome as we had hoped, with a great view of the city and surrounding valley, and located in a friendly neighborhood in the Misicata section of Cuenca, just off Avenida de los Americas (the Pan-Am Highway).  The best part is that there’s nearly an acre of land for Ms. Bosco to patrol , a welcome change from my tiny lot in Phoenix.

 

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