Cuenca is coming to an end, it’s sad but also exciting for the next place that we go to. Sadly my mom’s parent’s aka our grandparents are gone. It was sad to see them leave, and now another set of grandparents are coming. It’s not as sad as it would be if nobody else were coming. It’s going to be really sad when my dad’s parent’s aka our other grandparents leave because we won’t get to see any family for almost four months. We will be doing so many more adventures that it will make the time go by really quickly.
Another sad thing that happened was we had to say good-bye to our Spanish teacher Luis. The day after he left he sent us a really, really nice email talking about how good we were to him. He also told us that the card we gave to him was going to be placed on his special shelf where he only puts the most important things that he owns (special books, pictures of family etc.). It took us quite a bit of time to write him an equally as nice email because of how busy we were. I don’t even know what my parents said because they wrote and sent the email and I have not had very much time to ask them what they said. He was the nicest Spanish teacher’s anyone could ever have asked for. At least that’s what I think.
Here are some of the differences that you can find in Cuenca. First one is the time that you can take to cross a street. So you know in Calgary it’s only around 20 seconds, well here it can get as high as 75 seconds, just to cross a 25-meter road. Man! People are either really lazy here or they can just walk at a normal speed when they’re about 500 meters away from the start of the road.
Another difference is that their roads in the center of the city are made out of cobblestones. It’s really bumpy when a motorcycle rides on it or a small car like the one that we rented to go to a lot of the places that we have been to. When you look closely at the road you can see where the cars have driven.
The final difference that I think is most important for travelers like us is people stay up really late here. They party until around 2 in the morning and then they’re not tired the next day. It’s very surprising to me. Well I guess in Canada it gets darker earlier in the winter, so people stay at home.
A couple of days ago we went to the zoo called Amaru Zoológico Bioparque. There are so many animals in the zoo including lots of reptiles and amphibians. Quite a few more than the Calgary zoo. It is also on a mountainside so it’s a pretty good walk, especially for my grandparents.
There were two very interesting things that you can see at the zoo. First is the lion feeding at 1:00pm. The lion exhibit is about half way through the whole zoo and I think it is the most interesting thing to see at the zoo. They put enormous amounts of meat, 40 pound pieces (they need to haul them in a wheelbarrow) and then hide them so the lions actually get some exercise. If they just threw it over the fence, the lions would fight each other and then sleep right then and there. Zero exercise.
The second thing that is interesting to see is the Ardillan monkeys. Lucky enough we got there when the monkeys were near the café. Those little hands of theirs were so quick that you didn’t have enough time to snatch back whatever they took. One of the monkeys jumped on a lady and tried to steal food. She didn’t let him though.
One of the things that we saw that was horrible was people feeding a monkey a plastic water bottle. The monkey tried to chew on the plastic but lucky it couldn’t. They basically taunted the monkey to grab it. They were not very nice. Then they tried to feed it another bottle to try to get the other one back. Weird humans.
Él tour de la ciudad en autobus
Yo fui en un tour de autobús con los padres de mi mama. Mis abuelos. Fuimos a las diez y media de la mañana. El lugar dónde compramos los boletos fue en el hotel de ellos. Después necesitamos caminar al parque central. Allí el autobús nos recoge. Era un autobús de dos pisos. Era un día caluroso, fue buena que era caluroso porque muchísimas de las días eran lluviosos. En total fue casi 2 horas. Solo hay un lugar que puedes ir al suelo y caminar un poquito. Hay un parque en el parte debajo. Mi hermana y yo jugamos allí por casi 15 minutos. Solo tenemos 45 minutos en total para caminar. Después necesitamos ir en el bus otra vez.
Casi todos los semanas a las martes vamos a nadar. Solo con mi papa y mi hermana. Tomamos un taxi allí. Y cuando caminamos a la casa, es casi 35 minutos a un buen velocidad.
La piscina es una piscina olímpica. Es una piscina de 50 metros de largo. Tiene un gran trampolín, pero hay casi 5 trampolínes que son de tamaños variables. Yo solo puedo ir en lo más bajo, porque no puede ir en lo más altos. Nadie puede ir, está cerrado. El jacuzzi no es muy caliente, pero a veces es un poquito caliente.
Cajas National Park
We’ve been to Cajas National Park twice. Well at least my mom and I have. The first time that we were going to go my sister was a little bit sick, so she and my dad could not come. The second time that we went she could go, because she was not sick, nobody was sick.
The first time that we went was with a lovely gentleman named Don. My mom found out about him through a Facebook group. He came with a guy/friend named Steve. I was surprised when I saw the age of him, he was around 61 years old. That’s just a guess by the way but I’m pretty sure he was older than fifty years old. It was about a 45-minute bus ride. It was pretty windy at the end so I got a little bit carsick.
When we got to the top there was a little area where you had to sign in. I have zero clue why they wanted you to sign in. Maybe because they wanted to get an approximation of how many people came each day.
We took the hike that was all mainly downhill. It was sort of hard on one part of the body, the quadriceps muscles.
At some points it was a little bit hilly. I think that it was called the red loop. I totally just guessed there. My mom just said that it was called the route number one. It took us a little bit longer than usual because we were going with Steve. There were a lot of parts where you had to scramble downhill, so it was a bit more difficult for Steve.
It was a pretty fun time. I hope that if you go that you have a great time like we did.
It was pretty nerve-racking when my dad said that we were going to get a haircut in Ecuador. We were going to get the haircut at a barber across the street from our house. We had looked in there a couple of times and told them that we were going to get a haircut.
The first time that we went, my dad and I got a haircut. My dad also got a shave done. The second time that we went my grandpa Lyall had a haircut and a shave, my dad had a shave, and I got the design in my hair that I have now.
When they finished my haircut I really liked it. It was better than the super fancy place in Calgary that I go to, even though it was a hole in the wall place. I wish that we could just fly there every 2 months to get my haircut instead of going to my regular place.
The people that work there are really nice. The main guy Diego (the most experienced barber) speaks a little bit of English, which was helpful for my grandpa. Diego also has seven kids and he’s only 27 years old. Crazy! That’s just the culture here though.
Drive to Guayaquil
The drive to Guayaquil from Cuenca was gross and beautiful at the same time. The first part of the drive was really winding road and through the mountains. If you know me than you know that I get carsick pretty easily.
So when we started the drive I was feeling fine, but then when we started to go into the mountains the road started to curve a lot and I became really carsick. Normally when I get carsick I try to go to sleep. I actually had a rest, but when I got out for the first time it was freezing.
We got out at the Tres Cruces viewpoint. It was very cold, at least for the Ecuadorians. It was very windy and you’re at the top of a mountain. You had a pretty great view of the Cajas National Park valley.
The second time that we got out it was humid because we were at sea level but still very far away from our destination. Our destination was Guayaquil; after we went to Guayaquil we would go on a plane to Lima.
So when we got out to go to the bathroom, I felt drowsy and then bam! I barfed and it splattered all over the cement floor. It was disgusting. That’s only the second time in my life that I have barfed. After that commotion I felt sooooooo much better for the drive.
Cuenca has been good to us and always will be. I personally will remember it for the rest of my life. I will miss things and be happy that we are leaving. Sadness is not going to ruin the whole South American trip though.
Hasta la vista, Jasper.