CUENCA DIGESTExpect to pay more for a taxi ride this weekend

Apr 11, 2009

If you call a taxi over the holiday weekend beware: many drivers are raising their rates. Spokesman for the city of Cuenca said that the practice is widespread and customers should negotiate a fare before commiting to a ride.

The number of taxis on the streets is half of the normal level and bus service is also reduced. According to several taxi passengers, fares on Friday were inflated from 30% to 50%.

Cuenca poor receive the gift of fanesca

Continuing a tradition that began 15 years ago, families in Totoracocha neighborhood provided fanesca, Ecuador's Easter soup, to hundreds of poor Cuencanos on Friday. Recipients included prisoners, children at the Tadeo Torres orphanage, employees at Terminal Terrestre and other low-income people.

According to Sara Castro, organizer of the event, the tradition began in 1994 when she visited a family friend in the local prison. “He was unjustly accused but I realized that all prisoners, no matter their circumstances, were under-nourished and needed a good meal,” she said. “We also wanted them to remember that this is the holy week.”

Preparation for the annual event begins a month before Easter, when the Castro family begins to receive donations of ingredients to make the fanesca. They also take donations of plates, spoons and napkins and other items required to to serve the soup. Actual preparation begins a week before Good Friday.

Inca Trail project studies restoration and history

El Qhapac Ñan, more commonly known as the Inca Trail, is the subject of a multi-national study that hopes to reestablish parts of the trail and provide a comprehesive history of entire system that once connecteded western South America, from Argentina to Colombia.

In Ecuador, there were over twenty thousand miles of roads crossing the country from north to south and from east to west, according to Matthew Estrella, dean of the University of Cuenca’s School of Hospitality Sciences. The college is assisting in the study which focuses on Incan roads in Azuay, Loja and Cañar provinces. Estrella visited several sections of the route and said that a large amount of work is required to complete the assessment. “Much of the route is in disrepair and some of it has simply been forgotten.”

Estrella and national authorities believe the project has economic as well as educational benefits and predict a high level of tourist interest. In June, representatives of National Geographic magazine plan to visit Cuenca and the magazine has said it is interested in assisting in the project.

 

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