Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fighting A Cold In Cuenca

The dry rainy season in Cuenca has taken a turn for the wet, and my sinuses have taken a turn for the worst!

Despite having escaped the Carnival madness with only one head to toe soaking, I still have managed to catch a cold as the weather has shifted. The regular afternoon rains have resumed with some truly spectacular window-rattling thunder. In fact, on Monday we even had hail, which is pretty rare here.

Dear Lousy Weather: Please stop, I hate you!


Unlike me, the locals are very excited by all the rain. Dry conditions earlier in the year had led to rationing of power, with the municipal power out 2 - 4 hours daily to relieve stress on the hydroelectric systems. A lot of people supplemented with gas, which is what is used to power hot water systems and stoves here, but since the timing was never really clear, your lights and refrigerator could be out at weird times.

It was a monster pain in the rear, so torrential downpours have a smile on the locals' soaked faces. The cabbies have also been enjoying it, as they add a dollar or two on your fare for driving you around in the bucketing rain. It's not a huge deal, since you can still get across town for $5 or less, but it's still a bit of a pain.

Anyway, in some attempts to counteract the sniffle inducing weather, a group of us decided to venture up to little Banos, the thermal springs spa zone of Cuenca. It marked my first time riding a bus in Cuenca, which was kind of an adventure for me. Since the bus is only 25 cents a ride here, my friends were shocked I hadn't tried it before. Living downtown I walk to most things, so really hadn't had the opportunity before.

Banos was a good idea but a lousy experience. Going on a Sunday was dumb, for two reasons. One, the pools were really crowded, since no one had school or work. Secondly, the hot springs pools are cleaned on Wednesday nights and Sunday nights. This makes Sunday afternoons a little gross to my prissy American self. I didn't handle the crowd well with the murky water. Yes, I know thermal springs are murky naturally, but I have to believe that the little kid eating his chocolate popsicle in the kids' end of the pool didn't help!

Since then, the sniffles have not abated. I have a totally new appreciation for lotion enhanced Kleenex, since it is completely unavailable here in Cuenca and I have a red nose to rival Rudolph's! Drinking lots of 100% natural lemonades (70 cents - $1 a glass) and organic fresh squeezed orange juice (80 cents to $1.60 a glass) to try and give my body the ammunition to fight back. Really hope that it clears up by the weekend--planning some birthday outings and I definitely don't want to look like a snot nosed monster in my 30th birthday pictures!

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