Cuenca and Gualaceo

We headed next to Egar's hometown of Gualaceo, a small town of about 30,000 people. Gualaceo is outside of Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city.

The Cuji family residence. Edgar's grandfather and many extended family member still live here.

When we arrived we were greeted with a meal of freshly grilled cuy. For those not in the know, "cuy" means Guinea pig. Yes, those cute cuddly Guinea pigs you had as a pet. We ate them, and they were good. Tasted like dark poultry meat.

Teh next day we toured around Cuenca. This a church in the central plaza.

The state supreme court building.

The river running through Cuenca.

Credit: Justin
Some ramshackle Cuenca architecture.

Credit: Tamarah/Mike
The "bridge to nowhere"

The lights of Cuenca as the sun goes down.

Credit: Tamarah/Mike
After a night of extremely hard drinking, we got tickets to see the local pro soccer team play a match. We bought unauthorized reproduction jerseys for $5 each to fit in better.

The game. Cuenca beat Deportivo Quito 2-0.

Credit: Justin
A woman coming from the Saturday market in Gualaceo.

The next day we headed up into the moutains, to Cajas National Park. Cajas means 'boxes,' named after the square shape of many of the lakes in the region. Parque de Cajs is in the 'paramo' region of the Andes, a wet, cold, windy region at high atlitudes. The soil was generally soft and moist, with lots of moss-like plants growing on it.

The rare polylepsis tree, that grows in some of the highest altitudes of any tree in the world.

Llamas also call the paramo home.

More Cajas scenery.

Credit: Justin
Mike up in the trees.

Credit: Edgar
Brett points the way.

When we returned to Cuenca, we found ourselves in the middle of the celebration for the festival of Corpus Christi. The main plaza they set up the castillos, or 'castles,' of fireworks. They're lit once and then proceed to burn through a whole bunch of various firework. This drunk guy decided it would be fun to dance in the middle of the fireworks.