Did I mention I absolutely loved Cuenca, Ecuador? Of all the cities traveled to, Cuenca would rate right up there with the best. It is beautiful in the way it is historically preserved, clean and colorful. The people are relaxed and engaging. The weather, perfect! But, I have to say, my favorite aspect of Cuenca was rounding a corner, or climbing some steps and randomly seeing things like this:
Even just the everyday life of the city was filled with colors.
I am sure Teen would say his best moments in Cuenca happened when he was mobbed by a group of school girls wanting to take photos with him. This went on until the teacher chaperone shooed them on to their destination.
And I am sure my husbands best moment was meeting the Shaman women in the meat market doing “cleansings” on children and then (through his perfect Spanish which can be a blessing, or in this case, a curse) discovering that they do cleansings on adults as well. He was way too happy to sign me up- as I clearly needed the most cleansing!
Apparently, the ritual process included being smothered and beat with herbs, getting spit on, and a bottle of “magic juice” to-go (re-used plastic bottle filled with a strange pinkish liquid that smelled like dirt) . The little Ecuadorian kids did not seem to mind…
But, I think my cleansing was a little more involved:
And the cleansing wasn’t over until the Shaman Lady spit:
Teen2’s best moment was NOT necessarily eating Cuy (that’s Guinea Pig for you English speaking folks). He objected to the bits of fur still attached, the general lack of any meat, and having to look at an animals teeth on his plate:
I would go back to Cuenca again – mobbing, spitting and all – in a heartbeat. As for the Cuy? Well, been there done that.
Oh, and if you are wondering if my cleansing worked – all I can say is, I have not been sick yet this winter, even with the pestilence ranging all around me and I can suddenly leap tall buildings in a single bound (ok, not really on that last part, but I do feel pretty good…so who knows)!
Next stop Banos!
For more posts on Ecuador: