So I have been in Ecuador for a little over two weeks now and the following are my top 10 impressions of this small city.
1. Cheap - Bread for 12 cents, lunch for $1.70, a good beer for $2.00, bus for 25 cents, taxi anywhere for between $1.50 and $2.00. If you are looking for a rich experience on a budget Cuenca is the place you want to be. For example I am going to Sol y Agua this weekend with a bunch of friends and it will cost me roughly $30 including transportation, food, drinks, and lodging.
2. Colonial - I feel in love with the architecture as soon as I arrived. Every building has a rustic, colonial feeling to it, it is absolutely gorgeous.
3. Indigenous - Cuenca and Ecuador has such a rich history. First the Canari, then the Incans, and finally the Spanish. I have seen all groups represented in Cuenca. However there is such a stigma attached to being indigenous, people tag them as uneducated and lower class. For this reason the younger generation of indigenous linage are choosing not to embrace their heritage.
4. Dangerous - Okay not dangerous in the fact you are going to get robbed or killed, Cuenca is actually a pretty safe city. Obviously at night you need to take more precautions but that is the same in any city. What I mean is they are crazy drivers, they shoot off fireworks with people 20 feet away, and they don't believe in car seats for children. I guess Cuecanos just like living on the edge...
5. Foodie Paradise - There is so much variety here in Cuenca. You have your Empenadas, plethora of fruits, fresh bread and juice, and of course cuy. :)
6. Religious - Very catholic, very devoted, very conservative. This also means beautiful churches and not too much leg exposure.
7. Wild - Check out my post about Cajas.
Chendo - just kidding
Chevere - Cool
Siga no mas - Go ahead
9. La Compania - just go there and thank me later.
10. Just do it - okay this is more just advice, but it doesn't matter what it looks like, what it smells like, if you are scared, or even terrified. It is worth it trust me.
Well those are my ten first impressions/advice for Cuenca, Ecuador. I have cooking class today and a charla on Andean music. Stay tuned.