Wednesday, November 3, 2010
CUENCA 3. .. 7AM – THE WORK DAY BEGINS
CUENCA THROUGH AN AUSSIE GRINGO’S EYES
To recap, the reluctant traveller and I have arrived in Cuenca to visit family. We plan to stay 3 months, but already I have fallen head over heels in lust with Cuenca. I can’t get enough of it, join me as I kaleidoscope our visit into one single day.
The building our children, Jen and Chris, have purchased is in the process of extensive renovation and at 7 am every morning excepting Sunday the workers, Hector, Patricio, Edwin and others who changed as weeks turn into months, arrive to start their day. Without exception they turn up spick and span attired for a social event rather than a back breaking nine hours of hard yakka, hanging their town clothes carefully on nails in various corners of the work site before changing into the more practical bits and pieces they will wear while working on a multitude of messy jobs.
At days end a scrub under the tap, back in their good gear and you could never guess only moments before these handsome young men had been immersed in mud and debris.
It is still early morning and street cleaners are out meticulously sweeping their patch, a chore they will repeat again in the afternoon. Cuenca is a clean city, the most debris you might see is the occasional fruit peal or the even rarer cigarette butt, and these would no doubt have been carelessly tossed away by a thoughtless tourist. I don’t recall seeing a native Cuencan lighting up a cigarette.
At breakneck speed buses from outlying areas bring workers into town.
At this early hour district produce markets throughout the city are opening for business, fruit and vegetables arriving fresh from outlying districts; smells of freshly baked rolls and pastry filling the air.
In the same Mercado the meat and poultry vendors are stocking their counters, fish has arrived from Guayaquil on the coast while in the small Almuerzo cafes that dot the city, meals for as little as US$2 are being prepared, some to be eaten for breakfast.
The flower market squeezed into tiny El Carmen Square between Plaza San Francisco and the Cathedral across from Parque Calderon gradually turns into a riot of colour.
Cuenca is stirring and I’m anxious to get out and about.