Ecuador is described as a third world country, but Cuenca isn't exactly a third world city. Sure, we have lots of beautiful old structures,
but Cuenca also has modern buildings
and shopping malls.
And the "information superhighway" definitely has an exit ramp that says "Cuenca."
(Those aren't live wires hanging there, are they? Nah--impossible!)
So in many ways you could say our city is a blend of the old and the new,
(Two Direct TV dishes?? I've only got one :-()
but if there's one area where this place is firmly rooted in the 21st century, it's in the ever-present safety measures to protect our citizens from harm.
For instance, fireworks, while dangerous, are a big part of celebrations here. Precaution is always taken to make sure no one is standing too close.
Cuenca is a pedestrian city. The sidewalks are kept in pristine condition so no one trips
and curbing is meticulously uniform. Observe these two different corners of the same intersection:
Mirror images, am I right?
New condos and offices are coming out of the ground all over town.
(Um, what's crooked, that building or everything else in the photo?)
and no expense is spared to use the latest ultra-modern equipment.
People freely walk through these construction sites, so extreme care must be taken to prevent accidents.
(Notice the safety tape)
Open manholes are carefully covered
and walkways are built across open water.
When completed all standard safety features are included, like these handrails in the stairwell of our own apartment building.
This little pictorial is presented with tongue placed firmly in cheek. Sure, some things here aren't as "safe" as we were used to in our previous lives. But there's a concept in play in this culture that has been largely forgotten in the US called "personal responsibility." If you get hit with fireworks you must have been standing too close. If you step in an open manhole you weren't paying attention. There's no question more could be done in the area of safety, but given a choice between under-regulation and over-regulation, I'll take Door #1 every time.