Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trip to Cuenca

Aunt and me

Carnaval in the cold!

Awesome balcony

Lauren is an exchange student from Eugene, Oregon, living in Cuenca. She came at the end of January to Machala to visit the exchange students. She stayed with Anna, an exchange student here in Machala who is also from Eugene, Oregon. We showed Lauren some of Machala (like Jambelí), and she got to meet my family. It was funny because she has a strong Cuencan accent, and generally, the people on the coast don't like how they speak. When she met my family, they were all correcting her idioms and joking about her accent (they didn't hurt her feelings, don't worry). At the end of her stay, Anna and I started talking about how we wanted to go to Cuenca. We got it worked out with the families and went back to Cuenca with Lauren!

We stayed with Anna's aunt who lives in downtown Cuenca, above a little shoe store. The first day there (Wednesday, January 27) we met with a bunch of exchange students - even some others from Machala! We went to this beautiful neighborhood of an exchange student (with parks and grass!). We played some tennis in the amazing cool weather and went back to the house for hot cocoa. I even got to play some piano!

The next morning there was a protest in the street. I watched from the little balcony. I spent a lot of time looking from that balcony - it was so cool! Anna and I walked around downtown and to the river. We went with Anna's cousin to get the cousin's daughter, Domenica, in a little mall. We met with Mathilde (a fellow Machaleña from France) and some other Cuencanos and ate pizza. We went to Lauren's house and met her family. We watched some Homestar Runner because we were remembering how we used to watch these funny cartoons.

Friday Domenica's brother, Carlos, was at the house. We secretly filled up some balloons with water and he pitched them from the balcony on unsuspecting passersby. Later Anna and I went with Domenica and some friends to a park with some water balloons. It was crazy because sometimes trucks would pass by, filled with people in the bed, and they'd unload water balloons on us. And it was cold. After that dealio, Lauren came with us, and we went to this dumb party. It was horrible because there were only like 15 people there (4 of whom were dancing). For a lot of the time, Lauren, Anna, and I just sat outside on the nice grass talking. At one point I went with the friend (Gudy) who owns the car to get cigarettes for another friend. We didn't find an open store so we just went back. When he was trying to parallel park, I saw two guys about two meters apart looking like they were going to fight. I noticed one scrape something on the ground and it turned out to be a hatchet! He then started striking it on the rock wall, and sparks were flying around! Then Gudy just pulled out and we drove in circles for a parking spot. We got the girls then eventually dropped Domenica at her house. Her dad then walked us home. He is such a nice and cheery fellow! That was one crazy day.

I dreamt that I was talking with some friends on the patio of my house in Puerto Bolívar. My real brother, Andy, was there, too, and he had a drum. He was playing it really loudly, and I couldn't hear my friends. Then I woke up, and there was a parade outside on our street with bands and really loud drums. Anna and I went to her cousin's house and got ready to play Carnaval. We played with Domenica and Carlos. We got water balloons ready, had buckets, a hose, foam, and corn starch. In the end I was on a team with Carlos. We experimented with the balloons, filling some up with water and air, others with foam and water. The ones with water and air worked the best, if they didn't explode in the moment before they left our hands. The ones with only water would bounce off the target and just explode on the ground. The hose was pretty dominant, except we double teamed it - one was the distraction and the other went for the faucet. Or we would just put a kink in the hose. After that whole deal, we were pretty much frozen, and we cleaned up. We met with our exchange student friends and went to eat. It was crazy because so many exchange students from Machala were in Cuenca. What a coincidence.

Sunday we packed up and reluctantly went back to Machala. The weather in Cuenca was so nice and cool. When we arrived in Machala we were sweating and uncomfortable. Oh well, c'est la vie.

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