Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cuenca's El Centro Sidewalks - CUIDADO (BE CAREFUL!!)

The Sidewalks of El Centro

Jagged pipe sticking out of sidewalk right in the path of a doorway!
 In the USA, the sidewalks of El Centro would be a lawsuit waiting to happen!  No words can help to visually describe the unexpected obstacles and hazardous objects protruding along the sidewalks and streets.  One has to come here and experience it for themselves.  It's a miracle I haven't yet broken a leg or taken a nose dive, and only because of Bo continually watching out for me and catching me many times.  Even when I'm paying attention, I find myself tripping along, catching myself from hitting the bricks, and I'm constantly amazed at how clumsy and unsteady I feel in my daily walking treks through the city.

I've learned to wear the proper shoes for long walks.  I've learned to be more cautious about paying attention when I'm sight-seeing along the way.  A friend gave me some good advice.  She says she stops when she wants to look at something (that's because she learned this after breaking her foot her first week here - ouch!)  Bo and I are continually amazed and have to laugh when we see yet another crazy object to add to the many we've become used to and cautious of.

I had to take an afternoon and go out and photograph what I'm talking about here.  In all my researching to learn about Cuenca before Bo and I came here, I never read anything nor saw any photos of the condition of the historic streets and sidewalks.  Therefore, I've focused on taking closeups so someone never having been here can be forewarned.  When you first walk these streets, keep your eyes ahead and continually looking down before you take each step.  Do not look up without stopping!  Pay attention!!  They don't do lawsuits here - so you won't be collecting from the city if you take a nose dive and injure yourself.

I love that there are no city ordinances for every little thing, no permits, warning signs, rules and regulations that make one feel like they have little freedom or that give them an open option to sue.  Even though there are death traps along the streets of El Centro, there is a freedom in our steps knowing that we are responsible, and that's a good thing!
Ecuadorian women love their tacones altos (high heels)!  These are nothing compared to some of the heels I've seen click clacking down the hazardous streets.  Well-dressed women fly by the pipes and holes and uneven sidewalks.  Not me, I'm in my athletic shoes!

I'll be walking along an even-tiled walkway and all of a sudden!
This little girl is looking down and paying attention!
Double Whammy - A pipe and a whatever that is! 

Athletic shoes, business shoes, and more tacones altos rushing through the surprise streets of Cuenca.
These two rows of concrete posts are to keep the traffic in line - I think!  I saw a gentleman actually trip over one of these.  He did, however, catch himself.

Sidewalks will suddenly narrow (PHOTOS above and below), and some will have to pass by via the street.  Just hope a bus, taxi or car doesn't come too close to the curb!
I hope this pedestrian isn't looking up!
The balls (whatever they're supposed to be for) are no longer in these three places, BUT, the protruding spikes are.  Did they leave them there for decoration?  I think NOT!
(PHOTO above and below) Holes like this are everywhere on the street of El Centro.  If you're not wearing athletic shoes or flat-sole shoes, CUIDADO!
This walker has enough sidewalk area to go around.  There used to be a tree growing here, surrounded by fencing, but it must have died and they forgot to fill in the hole and level it out - again I think!
 Okay, that's my story on the sidewalks of El Centro - and my message to those coming here for the first time (or second, or third.....).  Don't say I didn't warn you!!!


  1. Since we have been to Cuenca twice now, we have experienced the sidewalk hazards (Quito has them, too but not quite the variety). In Anchorage, Alaska where we live, 6+ months of winter snow and ice obstacles at our feet keep us alert. At least in Cuenca, we will be able to enjoy "perpetual spring" as we keep ourselves from taking a tumble or twisting an ankle! The dog poop situation is another matter! Mara Gano

  2. yes, Mara,
    "Perpetual Spring" weather makes everything worth it! Bo and I lived in Anchorage one LONG winter, and we know the snow and ice! Those are fond memories though. So, at least you know how to walk cautiously no matter where you are!! I'm not sure if I'll do a blog posting on the poop though (LOL).

  3. Linda, I was going to post some pictures of the sidewalks in Cuenca too, but you've done such a great job there's no need. Keep up the GOOD WORK. Never a dull moment. Steve from South of Zero

    1. Glad you liked the post, Steve. I truly mean it to be a word of caution, especially after you sharing with me about your nose-dive and other falls I've heard about! Glad I covered what you had intended to. Yeah, I agree - never a dull moment living in El Centro. Cuenca, gotta love it! Every day is an adventure!
      Looking forward to Sunday....


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