Sunday, June 14, 2015

Corpus Christi Celebration

Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ) is a seven day celebration beginning on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday.  It is a feast celebration and in Cuenca it is celebrated with sweets, glorious sweets in gluttonous proportions, fireworks and parades.

This is one of the celebrations I have looked the most forward to experiencing since before I arrived in Ecuador. It did not disappoint.  I have lots of photos to share with you, although I didn't get parade or fireworks photos, so there will be something for you to look forward to next year.

The festival mostly takes place in El Centro, (the center) on the blocks surrounding Parque Calderon, and while it is going on all day, I find the night time celebration is fabulous with all the colored lights, the cooler temperatures and families walking the streets together. Literally blocks and blocks of booths side by side and on the wider streets two rows of them featuring the delectable treasures of the celebration.

The cornerstone of the celebration is sweets.  While you can find common sweets in the booths, there are a lot of sweets that are only made during the celebration. We tried a whole host of them as you will see below and they were each good.  A little chocolate, lots of fruits, and enough sugar to draw every bee in town to El Centro and a diabetic's nightmare. But you only live once, right?

Besides the sweets, fireworks, and parades, you will also find real food, colored spot lights, carnival games and maybe even a protest. Without further ado, I present our experience of Corpus Christi with the note that we can't wait until next year!

Our approach into El Centro

Oh My! TOO much to choose from!

Miles of sugary goodness

The treats we ended up bringing home.  See the egg? These eggs were everywhere and we knew they were confections, but when I asked a vendor "What is this" she responded "an Egg" hahaha then she told me it was chocolate, I trusted her and brought it home with me. We tried cutting the outer sugar layer, no success, we tried cracking it like an egg, no success except I think maybe I broke a chunk out of the counter top, we didn't have a hammer or a saw, so Mom ran it under hot water to melt the sugar.  Success! Fabulous chocolate inside, I think this particular treat is a joke on the Gringos, hehehe.

Carnival game reminiscent of roulette.

Another carnival game.

Fishing with beer bottles, Hey I think I saw this in Mississippi!

Outdoor cooking smelled SOO good, unfortunately we had already had dinner.

Chicken, sausage, corn and potatoes.

The following few pictures are the new Cathedral doors, usually gold, with the different cycling colored spot lights. I know, but we were transfixed and mesmerized.

Dancers in the Gazebo at Parque Calderon

Lots of colors in the Parque. They were beginning to set up the frameworks for the fireworks.

We ran up on a protest. It was really quite cool, not frightening at all, just very loud. Our US State Department warning about this protest didn't come out until the next day, Oh Well, we survived and got some great photos.

We trust our fine Policia!

Dale in Cuenca Living the good life!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

For God and Hummingbirds


Yes, I know it seems like forever since I posted a blog. I hope this one finds you all well, and experiencing life in some new way.

Here is what is going on with me.

The Book Update: The title of my first novel is Harvesting the Hummingbird. I finally completed the first draft and it is now being revised for all the fun stuff like sentence and paragraph structure and clarity. Then on to the editing phase and to my beta readers.  My beautiful daughter-in-law is working on my cover design centered around a fabulous photo generously shared by my fairy godparents Donna and Stu McNicol. It actually is Stu's photo and I can't wait to see what Sarah is able to do with it for a cover design.

I am writing this book, the first in a series, with a coauthor. His name is Sloan Moorland and he has been invaluable with helping me capture and portray the male psyche. As well as keeping me motivated.

The premise of the book is about a lady who escapes a bad marriage and moves to Ecuador. It is her story, as well as the story of her healing, encapsulated in the suspense of a very angry man, hell bent on finding her and making her pay for ruining his life.  If you read the short bursts of fiction through the April A to Z Blog Challenge, they are from the book. If you missed them, hop back and read a few.

I would love to be able to offer the book in September, my anniversary of arriving in Ecuador. We will see how long the editing takes. Fingers and paws crossed.

I am looking for someone very adept at photoshopping photos to help out with a photo.  I have a picture in my mind that I would like to take, but so far the weather here just isn't cooperating, so if you know how to "blend" or overlay two photos, and would be willing to help, let me know.

As for my Cuenca experience, I promised to share the "New Cathedral" with you. My photos aren't the best, but this is such a lovely place I wanted to share it with you. I have shared previously on Facebook photos of the outside of the Cathedral, but on Mother's Day it was open and we could get a look around inside. There were people worshiping, so I tried to be respectful, unobtrusive and sly while taking photos.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is known to the locals as the New Cathedral. Construction began in 1885 and lasted 90 years when it was finally completed in 1975. There is a tremendous amount of marble in the structure, both Pink Italian marble as well as local Ecuadorian marble and lots and lots of gold. Here, see for yourself.  At the time of it's completion, it could hold 9,000 of Cuenca's 10,000 citizens.

This week begins the Corpus Christi celebration and I hope to have lots of photos to share with you soon.  Have a great week!

Cuenca, where even the dogs can go to church. I assume they should be properly clothed.

The scaffolding is where they are repairing leaks in the dome.

Paintings and Marble work inside the front dome.

This particular niche is said to be the most popular among worshipers. It is very realistic and moving.

The stained glass throughout is absolutely stunning, my photos just don't do it justice.

The inside of the Center Dome. There are 3 blue domes on the Cathedral that can be seen all through Cuenca.

These marble columns are massive.

Rick and Mom in the foreground to try to show the scale of the columns and the building.

Doors and windows on the side of the Cathedral

The front doors. This is an older pic, but I brought it back for reference. That's my mom standing on the steps, again to see scale.
Scarlett Braden in Cuenca
 Living the good life!