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Published: August 11th 2013
Ever had one of those days when nothing really worked out like you planned it or thought it would? Well, today was one for us. We finally started feeling better a couple days ago after a long walk to the Museum of Culture (sorry no photos allowed) and spent a few hours. Had a nice lunch at a small place called El Maize (Corn). Wonderful roast pork and sweet potato pancakes. Delicious! Walking back we ended p in a place called the “Coffee Tree” and finished the day with cappuccinos…very good ones.
We came home and decided we would get up early (before 9am) and catch a bus to two towns south of here, Gualaceo and Chordeleg. Gualaceo is noted for it’s outdoor Artisan Market and Chordeleg for its silver and gold jewelry making.
So began an early breakfast and then preparation for the journey. Given that is has been exceptionally cold and windy, we dressed warm to start and made sure we had raingear as the forecast said there should be some this afternoon. We had not walked more than about 4 blocks when the sun came out blazing. It got hot so fast we were sweating in
the next couple blocks. Off with the fleece. Got to the bus station and it became so hot, Mike removed his long sleeved shirt and wore just a t-shirt. Kate was down to one sun proof shirt. So the first part of the plan, dress warm to stay warm, got taken care of by the weather.
Waiting in the bus with no breeze and no AC got kinda sauna like and we couldn't wait for the bus to leave. Finally it did and, to our surprise, we were about to be “treated” (well maybe not exactly) to 3 young men hustling various objects from a cooking magazine to some kind of candy to cheap jewelry. Each of them had about a 15 minute spiel, which was just enough time for each to do their thing and leave the bus so the next one could take over. Hell of a way to make a living if you can even call it that.
We arrived in Gualaceo after an hour on the bus and headed out for what Lonely Planet describes as a large and bustling Mercado de Artesanias. We walked to the river, crossed it on an old wooden
trestle bridge and took some photos of folks doing their wash in the river. We had not seen this activity since Ethiopia. Then we began to wonder where the market was located. LP said it was spread out along the river in the park. All we could see was the park and more clothing washers. Finally we decided to check LP again and, sure enough, we had read the directions correctly but not all of them. Right at the beginning of the description it says "every sunday...." SUNDAY? Hell this is Thursday. There is no market on Sunday. After a short rest and a little grumbling, we decided to head for the second village, only 10 minutes away by bus.
Back to the bus station, on another bus for a 10k ride to Chordeleg. As we arrived we realized it had gotten really hot so we trudged uphill looking for a restaurant and a cold drink.. There was one…just one. At least the beer was cold. After a short and not very good lunch (ah but the beer was cold), we went in search of silver jewelry. Lots of it, in fact every store in town sold the stuff,
gold, silver etc etc. After searching for a ring for Katy that was not full of filigree and what she calls fru fru, we took a few photos of the lovely square and some wall art, trundled back to the bus station, and climbed in for another ride in a sauna. 10 minutes later we boarded a second bus for Cuenca.
Since it was nice and warm....well really hot, why don’t we get back to Cuenca, take our packs home and go out for dinner to the Arab shwarma place we saw yesterday, says Mike. Good idea says Katy. We could at least make this part of the day work. About ½ way to Cuenca, it began to rain a little. No big deal, but as we got closer to the bus station it began to really rain. And, by the time we got to the bus station it was a torrential downpour. Into our fleeces and raincoats, camera into its plastic bag in the backpack, we headed out. Well not quite, we stopped at the door to the street, watched the sideways blowing water and opted for a cab. To end all this, the cab, normally about $1.50
was... you guessed it, the same price as one of those fru fru rings we did not buy. We paid it, got out at the hotel next to our digs and dove into the coffee shop to watch everyone else get drenched and end our day with a nice warm Cappuccinos and apple strudel. After all our screw ups, we figured we deserved this treat.
When we finally got back to our apartment, tired and laughing cause that is about the only thing you can do when you screw up a day like we did, we flopped on the couch, turned on the TV and watched a bad old Miami Vice show. This time around it was hilarious. Two grilled cheese sandwiches and more wine than we deserved we fell in bed early. Tomorrow we are headed out for haircuts, a massage and Katy gets a pedicure. Better days to come....well hopefully.
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