Home > The Beginning > The bells, bells, bells, and frying pans!

The bells, bells, bells, and frying pans!

At 7:30 a.m., the bells started ringing. First there were robust, deep sounds. The there was a sound something like someone clanging cast-iron frying pans together. This went on for about five minutes, then silence.



Another sound. What was that? A toot. Another toot. Then a string of toots. An Andean pan pipe. It was playing “Hey, Jude.” Good Sunday morning in Cuenca, Ecuador!

After prying myself from the warm bed on a chilly morning, I went down the seven floors and walked to the park, in front of the New Cathedral. I found the Latin American experience that I’d been looking for — a shoeshine man. His name is Luis and he looked a wrinkled 70 years old. No matter. In 10 minutes he made my wizened 10-year-old Bass hiking boots look shiny and new again. He said he’s been buffing shoes at the same spot for 37 years.  He probably has many stories to tell. Another fellow was standing nearby waiting for shine, so I didn’t have time to chat more with Luis. Next time, I will.



I asked a cop in the park for directions to a market where I could buy fruits and vegetables. It turned out to be only three blocks away, down Calle Hermano Miguel. It turned out to be a block-sized building, with three stories. Meats and seafood were in the basement. Fruits and vegetables were on the ground floor. Prepared food was on the mezzanine.

I walked up the steps, sat down at a little counter and had some of the best roast pork I’ve ever tasted — and that includes South Carolina. A young woman served it up, along with hominy and marinated sliced red onion. I then topped it with a sauce made of tomates del arbol (tree tomatoes), cilantro and hot peppers. On my. I was stuffed.



I wandered around the market, buying some zucchini (calabasas) and red onions (cebollas rojas). The selections were massive, including some fruits and vegetables that looked like they were from Mars. Next time, I’ll need to visit with a local, who can explain all this wonderful-looking stuff.



So what’s up with y’all??


  1. September 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I am so glad to receive your posts, and am equally glad that you’re squeezing the most of each day! Yes, those bells are amazing, as are parades throughout the country. Seems as if some community has some sort of parade when least expected!

    I also agree about the incredible food – so much that reminds me of the South, down to ‘Lima’ beans and field peas and – as you mentioned – hominy! Keep having fun and sharing your tales! Z

  2. Skip Johnson
    September 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    You seemto be off to a great start, Frank. Thanks for the excellent photos; makes us want to visit even more.

  3. September 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Glad you are haveong such a great time!

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