Friday, December 27, 2013

The Snow Idea

Yeah, right.

There was an inflatable plastic snowman on a second-floor balcony overlooking one of el centro's busier streets here in Cuenca, and I being me, there was no camera in my pocket at the moment.

No matter, I thought – I'd just go back the next day. And I did.

No snowman.

Hmmm – it was early in the day – perhaps I could come back the next day, in the afternoon, since I had other things to do that afternoon.

Nope. No snowman the next day. Or maybe it was there, but I couldn't get close enough to tell because there was this annual Christmas parade ripping down that street like a river in flood.

This was the Pase del Niño parade, which has been said to run up to 16 hours, from around daybreak until well after dark.

There was no way I could have swum up that street against the rush of dancers or through the thicket of onlookers.

No matter, I thought – I'd just go back the next day. And I did, and that day was Christmas, and there was no snowman.

None today either, or yesterday, so I guess I missed my snowman photo-op.

But there are other Christmas decorations up – you know – Santa, reindeer, fuzzy red and white caps, bits and pieces of fake holly and so on.

This being a scant 2°53'57" south of the equator, there isn't a lot of snow around, ever, even though we're at 8000 feet (2438 m), and it never gets cold enough for snow, mostly.

The record low, ever, actually was 28.9° F (-1.7° C), but the temperature never drops below 45° F in real life, and 45° F is insanely cold for here.

So it's my bet (a safe one, I think) that people here (aside from transplanted North Americans and those Cuencanos who have lived in North America or Europe) don't know diddly about snow or cold weather, and if they had to endure some actual snow-level cold, they'd rip down all those Santa Clauses and reindeer and cute snowmen and burn them and then stomp up and down on the ashes and go have lunch and sit in the sun and be glad that they've got it so good here.

But people don't know, not here. Here the snow idea is quaint and novel, so people stick up their decorations and call it Christmas and carry umbrellas to keep the sun off.

Which seems right and proper to me, and I'm from North Dakota, so I know a thing or two about snow and cold.

More: Pase del Niño

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