Sunday, March 20, 2011

Los Perros of Cuenca

Dogs, dogs everywhere here in Cuenca, and what an interesting lot. Street savvy (much better at getting across the busy streets than their human counterparts), fashion forward and pretty laid back for the most part.

Many of the dogs that look like they are living on the street are really someone's pet. They are an independent group. They come and go as they please for the most part. Mostly though, they just lie around. This is the "guard dog" at the little store next to Carolina Bookstore where we take our Spanish lessons. Sometimes he moves onto the middle of the sidewalk, where we have to step over him. Sometimes he deigns to open an eye and look at us.

They are all good sleepers. There's no question about that. Although our neighbors who live in the back of our apartment building say that the dogs in the neighborhood behind us don't sleep all that much at night. But then, they siesta all day, so why should they.

Sure wish I could sleep like that. There was a big crowd of us around this fellow, all chatting away. He could care less.

They come in all sizes and shapes. Some very big, some very small.

Some make a living from being photographed with families and children.

Some don't like being photographed so much because they are, well let's just say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

They do as they please, go where they like. This little fellow is small enough to slip through the bars in the gate outside our building. He does this regularly and sits there sunbathing until someone chases him away. Then he just slips back through the bars.

The dogs here are always careful to dress for the occasion. We took this last July, when the weather was cooler. Nice warm fleece.

Now, the weather is warmer, and it's time for more spring-like attire. Doesn't she just look spiffy as she prances so proudly in her summer floral dress?

And of course, special occasions call for special clothing.

This little lady was heading for her "wedding." We did not see the groom, so hope she wasn't stood up at the altar.

And no post about the dogs of Cuenca would be complete without our favorite Cuencana pooch. This is Relish. She lives in our building with her gringo parents. She loves life and living in Cuenca, except that she wishes the Cuencanos would find some way to celebrate without fireworks. She's not too fond of the boom, boom, boom. But she's always happy to see us with a wag of the tail and a bound and a wiggle. She's a mighty good girl.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's El Carnaval !!

Carnaval has arrived in Cuenca. People here love to celebrate and party, and there's no better time than Carnaval for celebrating.  Carnaval is all about having a major blast, along with lots and lots of food (especially those made with meat), before Lent begins. 

It started in earnest on Thursday night for the night of the Comadres and Compadres. To liven things up, people throw water on each other if they can using water balloons, water pistols, buckets of water -- and unfortunately some sadistic people actually freeze water balloons which can cause great injury. Most just have fun with it and are not trying to hurt anyone. Even more fun though are the cans of spray foam. Needless to say, we joined in the fun, at least with the foam.

Our friend, Julie, in a spray of foam.

Our darling Spanish teacher, Sonia, after a surprise foaming.

Sonia and her husband, Danilo, enjoying the festivities.

Friends, Jan and Lynn at Comadres & Compadres.

Jan with Sonia's Mom.

Deborah all foamed up (Julie took this picture.)

Our attacker. You can see that we gave as good as we got!

And of course, no celebration at night in Cuenca would be complete without fireworks.

The next day, was the Carnaval parade. Notice how the parade participants are both getting sprayed with foam, and spraying it back at the crowd for all it's worth.


And on and on it went.  We've had a wonderful time with Carnaval.