Winter arrived last week in Loja. Usually expected for the months of July and August, this year the bad weather reached the city in early June. Since then I hasn’t stopped raining in the town, and the winds have caused some havock with trees. Let’s hope this means that the end of winter will come earlier too.
With the upcoming municipal elections, the municipality has carried out in the last months a serious reform of the downtown area to allow a better flow of traffic. In the last two years the population of Loja has greatly increased leading to horrible traffic jams in the downtown area at peak hours. The reforms have included, reducing the parking areas in certain streets (allowing for two lanes of traffic instead of one), installing new traffic lights and changing old ones. Of course, this will be a temporary solution since traffic will continue to rise.
Tomorrow (August 20th), the Virgen del Cisne is arriving in Loja. This celebration congregates devoted followers from the whole country following her pilgrimage from its church up in the hill, for five days until Loja. It also attracts like flies the corresponding number of traders looking to increase their sales and politicians looking to increase their acceptance.
Finally this week the Catamayo airport has been closed to undergo a serious remodelation and expansion. I say finally because speculation over its closure has been in the mouth of everyone for the last two years. The delay in this process has been provoked by the complaints of the afluent sector of Loja, requiring an alternative airport in the area during this period. The closest existing airport was in Cuenca, more than a four-hour drive northwards. Finally a new small airport has been built in Cumbaratza, just 15 kilometres away from the neighbouring province capital of Zamora.
The usual 30 minute trip on the taxi, has now become a 1-hour long trip on a good but windy road to Loja.
The planned time for re-opening of the new Catamayo airport is planned for late this year or early 2013. However, taking into account the schedules here, this is not full-proof.