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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

God, what a Blast!

It's our favourite time of year, says I, tongue firmly planted in cheek. It's no secret that Ecuadorians like noise. Loud music, car and building alarms, barking dogs and cars without mufflers are common occurrences here. They also like celebrating Saints days with noisy fireworks that sound vaguely like cannons. They can be heard all over the city and every church (and there are lots of them) has a special celebration annually, where the devoted get up early and light off these noise makers before heading into services.
La catedral nueva
Generally speaking, it's not all that bad, given a few blocks of distance, the sound isn't completely heart attack enducing, but when the church is right next door to your house, it's a whole different matter. Why do they do this? Who knows, there are many theories, but none really make sense. Someone told us it was to scare away evil spirits, but that's not logical. War is noisy and I can't think of a better space for lingering malignant entities. If someone has an idea, I'd love to know.
Iglesia de San Francisco
We live next to the church of Cristo Rey, or  Christ the King and this Saturday is when Catholics traditionally celebrate his transfiguration. (Or so says the internet, I had to look it up.) This is (apparently) a big deal here. At 5:39 Monday morning, we were awoken with a bang...literally. Now here's the funny thing: these "sound" fire works go off randomly all over the city, in a similar fashion to people lighting candles at the alter; not everyone does it, but some people do. So just as you're settling back to sleep, off goes another one. The first day there were only 6 (not counting the ones during normal business hours) randomly spaced out, so that sleeping was just a distant memory.

La iglesia de Cristo Rey (we think it used to be
a monastery)

Yesterday there were seven, before 8am. They're loud enough to make the windows shake and car alarms to go off. This, of course, would never happen in North America, what with noise by-laws and an aging population prone to weak hearts and nervous constitutions, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone here.  
Iglesia de Santo Cenaculo (?)
I know what you're thinking...don't live close to a church. Ha ha! Just try it. Unless you're willing to move out into the countryside, there is going to be a church near you. It's rumoured that Cuenca has at least 52 churches, one for every week of the year, and that's within the city limits. I can see 17 from our windows and that doesn't include Cristo Rey, which is behind us.
Iglesia de San Blas
Only three more days to go until it's back to the dogs and alarms.  

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