Last week Terry and I took a short trip to Cuenca. All but one of our students were out of town, so we made a last minute decision to go to Cuenca with Becca and her family. The Kings had to make a trip to Quito to get visas renewed again. It was cheaper to take a five hour bus to Cuenca and spend a few days there than fly to Quito from the airport nearest Loja.
The bus ride was uneventful. We all made sure to make the last bathroom stop for the next five hours. We paid our ten cents for several pieces of toilet paper and entry into the bathroom. On the bus there were a few people who had our assigned seats, but when the bus assistant asked them to show their seat numbers, they moved to other seats. Sometimes there are more passengers than seats. There were people standing in the aisles who had a long five hour trip ahead of them. Makes for an interesting trip when someone is standing over you. Terry rationed my meds out for me, so I didn't crash when we got to our destination. Country meets City
One high point of our trip was a visit to a Mall that had a food court. A taste of home. I headed straight to the Burger King in the food court. Thought I had died and gone to heaven. Only thing that would have made it better was if they had served Dr. Pepper. We went to a store that was like a huge Walmart only a Walmart that was made in heaven. The store had wide aisles, neat uncluttered shelves it sold everything from motorcycles to groceries. Becca was like a deer caught in headlights when we walked in. She was dazed. It was too much for her brain to take in.
Half hour after we finished eating I was able to locate one of several mall bathrooms. To our surprise the toilets had toilet seats on them. Well most of them did. Most public bathrooms here don't have toilet seats. You know how people like to take stop signs in the states. Here they take toilet seats. I was having a hard time picturing someone walking the mall with a toilet seat in their hands. During the hour or so we were at the mall, I was able to locate all the bathrooms. Burger King had not been kind to me. I felt like I had a game of hide and seek going on. Everytime I went into the bathroom a lady was cleaning. I just knew it was the same lady each time and she was wondering why this lady kept running into different bathrooms.
We also visited the place where the Panama Hat is made. It is Cuenca not Panama.
As Becca and I were walking in the historical part of Cuenca, I mentioned that I really wanted to take some pictures but didn't want to look like a tourist. I got to thinking about what people thought of us gringos with our cameras taking pictures of what was just normal life to them. I would not appreciate it if someone came up to me as I was mowing my grass, washing laundry, feeding my children, walking the dog, snapping pictures, all the while speaking in a strange language. I need to get a camera phone and learn to speak the language.
The trip back is a whole different blog. Lets just say when we got into Loja I wanted to kiss the ground.