One of the most beautiful things about living in the Palermo is its nearness of one block from the Rio Tomebama. The walkways along the river, the beautiful park settings, the joggers as they make their way along the paths, the families who do their laundry in the river, the people who enjoy their day of relaxation, the young lovers walking hand in hand while occasionally stealing a kiss from one another, the amusements for the children--all make for a day of awesome tranquility.
The Tomebama is one of four rivers that flow through Cuenca, and is a very narrow river. Many in the states would laugh at the idea of even calling it a river. In fact, when we have dry spells, the river becomes shallow and would more accurately be referred to as a brook. However, it would be a big mistake to underestimate this river. When the rains pour, and the river fills as water makes its way down from the Cajas, the mighty roar of the Tomebama is one of magnificence. The river is of little use for swimming, canoeing, or river rafting. The waters are far too treacherous and tumultuous for such activities, as the raging waters cascade eastward from the Cajas over the numerous rocks that cause the sound of endless rapids, I can not help but experience a spiritual oneness with what I imagine as the sounds of thousands of indigenous drums beating out the crescendo of hundreds of generations of traditions that continue in the blood, pride, and spirit of their contemporary offspring.
The photos today present the beauty along the river, the ferociousness of the waters when the river is high, the people washing their clothes and belongings along the banks of the river, the wonderful equipment in the playground area that adults often use as much as the children. Those who can not afford health club memberships can get a work out on some of the equipment that makes me wonder why I have never seen parks around Chicago make use of the same concept of wellness and well-being. Where there are people in this very enterprising city of Cuenca, there will be food vendors as well.
I took these photos on the Sunday afternoon of March 17th as I made my way to the Coopera; where I purchase my organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, quinua and whatever type of grain one would want, as well as milk, and meats. I count my blessings everyday that I have an opportunity to live in a city nestled in a basin of the Cajas where we are replenished continuously with fresh water, and where we are the only city not only in Ecuador but in South America known for having the safest drinking water. Even Norte Americanos can drink directly from the tap in Cuenca. The soil in Ecuador is amongst the richest in the world. One can only hope that this sliver of paradise can be preserved, without destruction by international corporations and corrupt politicians.
All but one or two of the last photos were taken when I was on my way to the Coopera. I was in the store about twenty minutes. I was amazed upon my walk back from the Coopera that the number of people in the playground area of the park had doubled. Mules are often on site on the weekends as children can be provided with rides, but unfortunately for my photo shoot there were none today. Generally, the soccer/volleyball area you see in the photos normally have young and middle age men playing one game or another on the weekend afternoons with dozens of people seated and enjoying the games.
In the background, are the recently built highrises that speak to the affluence of the area. Although the west side of Cuenca is often referred to as "Gringolandia", a large majority of the people in the area are Ecuadorians (Ecuatorianos), and there are just as many gringos living on the south side of town, as well as in El Centro. In fact, recently I am meeting increasing numbers of Gringos living or moving into the Monay Mall area on the northeastern side of town as well.
I am sorry I can not provide you with the roaring sounds of the Rio Tomebama, but I do hope you enjoy a view of one small part of Cuenca that provides beauty and tranquility. You can click on any photo for a larger view: