Tuesday, June 19, 2012

random days

I tried out new specials on the board at Moca; I added a little doodle on a rainy day to attract attention. Not many people seem to notice that board, and don't even realize when they get to discount.

I actually went out on Saturday night with Susan and our friend Kaitlin. I met Nick, who is the nephew of a couple that Susan knows through a meditation group and new cafe they run. We went to Chiplote (sadly, that is spelled correctly) for happy hour and had a very silly entertaining evening.

I had been working for a little over a week on a scarf using a little 10" loom. I have never made anything like this before, so it's exciting that I made one! It's quite thick, and wide, but it's plenty long enough. I just have to hope for a cold enough morning to wear it or send it to a friend back in the States. I've already made another smaller scarf, it's skinnier and not quite long enough for my taste, but I like it anyway. I'm in need of a trip to a yarn store, now.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

La fiesta del Corpus Christi part II

Fireworks and pyrotechnics.

La fiesta del Corpus Christi part I

Yesterday was the last night of la fiesta del Corpus Christi. I wasn't sure what it was all about, so I pulled up some info from the Travel Ecuador site (check it out for a better explanation!). It's a church festival that seems to be mainly about the sugar and fireworks here:

A special manifestation of Corpus that remains today, there is a special way in the city of Cuenca in the southern Andes, where for the liturgical feasts of Corpus is performed in the main square of the city a curious and massive sweet fair of the most ingenious, original and varied ingredients, colors, shapes and flavors, which not only brings crowds of the city but in other parts of the country to enjoy these sweet treats. It also maintains the custom of Catholic religious procession these days. These events are special and important place castles fireworks and the role of "priostes" or sponsors of the festival.

With the help of Josh (my brother's Spanish tudor), I managed to convince Nick to go with me to Parque Calderon to check out the fiesta that's been going on all week. We ate dinner at Raymipampa, then wandered through all the many booths selling sugary treats, around the park. We tried homemade chocolate covered marshmallows, candy that looked like gumdrops (but was really just fruit juice sweetened balls of sugar - I didn't like them), I had a pastry that was like a mini cream horn (and sooooo good) as well as half a candied apple. Nick bought us a couple bags of cotton candy (that he says tastes the same in the States) for later. I think I ate enough sugar to last me awhile! We took a peek into the church where everything was lit up, and we caught a small parade led by a military band, walking down the street into the church, dropping flower petals everywhere. It was really interesting to see. There was also this large wooden tower set up that we walked past earlier in the evening, that they used to set off pyrotechnics and fireworks. We were fairly close to it, only a a few people into the crowd, and once the larger fireworks started going off, sparks flew into the crowd and people backed up (Nick put his hood on!), but I was just standing there snapping away on my camera! It was the closest I'd ever been to something like that, and it was quite the experience.
I managed to capture around 70 photos, but I weeded it down to 38. A lot of them are blurred because I don't like to use my flash, but with some fiddling with the ISO everything was bright enough, I just don't have the steadiest hands, but I really like how a lot of these came out.

Monday, June 11, 2012

late photo post

Oops, I've already messed up my blogging schedule; how difficult can three photo posts a week be? Well, if you don't do a whole lot, apparently just difficult enough to not do two of them. Well, here's the past week: random snapshots along the route home from Moca; my first go at making a strawberry/brownie milkshake (that was pretty good); waking up just before 6AM to get some sunrise shots; a birthday party at our friends' Michael's and Cody's amazingly decorated apartment; being lazy around the apartment; and watching luminaries floating off into the dark.

Monday, June 4, 2012

another monday

On Saturday, Susan and I went walking around El Centro for a few hours. She took me to Carolina Bookstore, which sells books in English, and we stumbled upon a couple of craft stores and a neat little spice store where Susan found some things she wanted to make granola bars with. It was a wet and rainy morning, but it wasn't too bad. Saturday night was the first meeting of the gringo fan club for the local soccer team here in Cuenca. It had a pretty good turnout, and a lot of them stayed after to watch the Ecuador v. Argentina World Cup qualifying match (EC lost). I was working, since it was at Moca, and Melva showed me some of the things they make from the night menu. We need to combine the breakfast/lunch menu with the night menu so it won't be so confusing - it seems like we run two cafes in one, sometimes.

Sunday was the cleaning and cooking day. I had to make the artisan bread for our panini sandwiches at Moca, as well as boil the eggs for the egg salad and potato salad (Dad did the potatoes, and Nick made the potato salad). I also wanted to try to make some cupcakes, as something that could potentially be sold at Moca. I had never made cake from scratch before, and they came out alright, but I think I will try other recipes next time.Sunday turned out to be such a nice day, and we all spent it indoors!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday adventures

I tagged along with Trish, Marsha, and Kathleen to visit Artesa, today. It's a pottery/ceramics shop where they not only sell custom items along with the regular cups, bowls, vases, etc., but they also have a section that they call "seconds" which are the flawed and chipped items. I found some wide cappuccino mugs for Moca that match the smaller mugs we have, and assisted Marsha in finding a couple of nice, decorated, cups and saucers. We spent over an hour and a half there, I think, but it was very interesting to see all the different designs and colors of so many different items. To get to the "seconds" space, you walk through the working floor, where people were hand painting mugs and plates and vases and such. It was really neat to watch them work. Whenever it is that I get my own place, I will definitely get my mugs and plates and bowls from there.

A look back at the women working: