Un blog Travellerspoint

Cayagama Puerto Santa Ana... Pagracho! (by : Manon) - Part 2

rain 20 °C
Voir Aventure 2011 2012 sur la carte de Abud Nantel.

We soon discovered that contrary to our previous volunteering experience, our hosts here didn’t have much time to “take care” of us. Esteban was quite taken with his various responsibilities (all of which he does on a voluntary, unpaid basis), while Letitia worked from 7am to 3pm in the daycare all week, and took university classes in Puyo all day Saturday and Sunday. Shirley, the most outgoing of the two twins, was therefore our guide and caretaker. What a character she was! Seven going on twelve…

For the two weeks that followed, we slowly found our place in the village’s daily life:

• Esteban arranged for me to give a few hours of English and computer classes at the school, with help from Alain and the girls. We were only able to do this for three days (school was out for winter vacations), but the children loved it and I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to bond with them. Everywhere I went, children would smile and wave, and run up to me to give me a great big hug!

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• Letitia had to go to Puyo for a daylong meeting, so I filled in for her at the daycare. Again, making friends with the affectionate wee ones was quite special.

• Practically every afternoon, we went out to the cancha to teach children and adults how to braid bracelets (a skill we had learned in Puerto Quito, with Pedro’s family) and this became so popular that everyone in town seemed to be sporting one of our multi-coloured bracelet by the time we left!

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• The twins being out of school, we ended up taking care of them for the two weeks. I took over Letitia’s kitchen, and learned to cook bananas and soups with next to nothing… The village stores basically sold beer, canned tuna, crackers, eggs and candy. Sometimes, one of the shops also had bread. The rest, you had to harvest from your fields or purchase in Puyo (we therefore indulged in two daytrips to Puyo to stock up!).

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• Alain joined the evening “indoor football” games and became quite popular with the local boys (especially when he bought the after-game beer!).

• We went for our daily tarabita run across the river, and treated the girls to a bit more candy than usual to make up for the limited daily diet.

• We met the local parrots, some of which were quite chatty! Saying "hola!" and "vamos!" and cackling like old ladies every time we started to laugh!

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• We learned how to make clay bowls with Elsa, Letitia’s sister-in-law: shaping the clay by hand; painting it with natural paints made of various mineral pigment (with small paintbrushes made from her son’s hair); baking it on an open fire and varnishing it with chunks of natural resin.

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Perhaps not surprisingly given the weather, Arianne also got sick: fever, muscle pain, vomiting, headaches… knowing that flu and malaria symptoms are almost identical, I had a short period of irrational panic (there are no reported cases of malaria in the area) until we saw the travelling doctor who luckily happened to be in Santa Ana the next day. Diagnosis: throat infection. Treatment: amoxicillin (the same stuff the kids get for ear infections at home). Phew!! Nothing dangerous, and a drug I actually recognized… Thank God! The episode did help remind that we are indeed in the tropics.

Alain and I quite enjoyed our stay, but it was more trying for the girls. The rain, in particular, made it difficult to explore and enjoy some of the village’s best features – swimming in the rio Santandero, playing outside with the local kids, going for tarabita rides, walking the various forest trails… We did a bit of it all, but constantly feeling wet and cold (along with a limited diet) did put a damper on their mood. We actually decided to call it quits for the homeschooling for the duration of our stay – they were sufficiently stressed and grumpy as it was! Thankfully, they got along well with Sacha, Shirley and Samira and the five of them enjoyed some happy times together, watching Disney movies, playing with iPad, swinging on the hamock and buying out the local tienda’s full supply of Ritz crackers!

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The most wonderful experience, however, was participating in the village “mingas”: community work where everyone comes together to contribute to a common project. Mingas are as much social as they are work and it is delightful to see the men, women and children combine work and play: they are chatty and love to play pranks on one another, so laughter echoes throughout the day – especially when the traditional “chicha” (a fermented yuka beverage which they revere) is passed around!

Alain joined the men in a Saturday morning minga, where they worked on the tarabita building and grounds – he got to practice his machete skills again, clearing the grasses that had invaded the bus stop.

We also participated in two mingas at the Orchid Garden – a project led by Letitia’s brother Thelmo. Roughly 1km down the road from the village and up in the mountain, they are building a covered orchid garden where one can see a breathtaking variety of orchids collected in the surrounding forests (and augmented by cultivated species), along with a “camino ecologico” – a 2km trail that winds across the tropical forest back to the village. On our first visit, we helped them core “chonta” trunks (a type of palm) to make flower pots in which the orchids would be planted. It is here that we discovered a local delicatessen: a big fat white worm that lives in the trunk of the chonta. They are apparently rich in protein, have a buttery flavor, and are eaten raw, steamed or baked. I tasted a raw one and can’t say I fell in love with the texture, but cooked, they were delicious.

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On the second visit, I went alone (while Alain and the girls spent the day in Puyo to recharge their batteries) and was treated to a full-blown rain forest experience… Letitia’s sister Sylvia, her mother Maria and her sister-in-law Elsa invited me to join them as they went to collect orchids deep into the forest. Armed with weaved baskets and machetes, the women led me through the thicket of threes and vines, pointing out the properties of various plants, flowers and trees. We walked for three hours – in the pouring rain – collecting orchids and various fruit for my education and pleasure. At one point, we came across a very tall tree – at least 15m – and Maria, the grandmother, started to squeal with delight. Up there was a particularly delicious fruit she absolutely had to get her hands on… So the women worked at getting to these fruit for at least 45 minutes! Shaking the tree, wrapping vines around its trunk to make a ladder, climbing on one another’s shoulders… To no avail. So Maria took things into her own hands: she disappeared for about 15 minutes and returned, dragging behind her a small tree that must have measured at least 10 meters. I could barely lift that thing off the ground! But she swung it upwards and managed to knock the desired fruit out of the tree. She was simply amazing! And when we finally returned to camp, the others had prepared a meal of soup and “maito” (fish wrapped in various plant leaves and cooked on the open fire). We enjoyed a meal together around the fire, sharing a common “plate” of food served on a large banana leaf. Everyone there was a member of Letitia’s family except me, and I felt privileged to be treated as one of their own.

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Not long after that, Letitia’s youngest sister, Veronica (21) and her mother came to visit us at the house. Veronica has a two-week old baby girl and has been abandoned by the baby’s father, who wants nothing to do with either her or the baby. Shyly, they asked if I would be the yet-to-be-named baby’s godmother. How does one refuse? I was touched by the request, yet hesitant given that it will likely be a long time before I return, if ever! But Veronica seemed so scared and vulnerable, and the baby so unfairly abandoned, I accepted – on the condition that Veronica pledge to finish her schooling as soon as she could.

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On our last day, we participated in the women’s minga in the village. A group of 34 women have founded a formal women’s association whose Kichua name means “Valiant Woman”. They have built a large hut with the aim of creating a space where the women can pool their resources, work together, and expose their work for the tourists they hope to attract to the village (as a complement to the Orchid Garden). The men worked on the building, the women worked on the grounds, and Alain and I joined the team responsible for garbage picking. We also decided to contribute financially to their project, by giving them the 250$ they needed to bring electricity to their workshop.

This minga was a particularly joyful one, as the women had supplied pails of chicha for the workers. With the alcohol in the chicha, and the first bit of sun anyone had seen in weeks, they were hilarious! Laughing, teasing, chatting… and they ended the day by throwing a few chickens into a huge pot to make soup for everyone – and Liliana, a reputed prankster, took the opportunity to cover Melida, the president of the women’s association, in chicken poo she collected when the poor birds were being plucked and quartered!

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It always seems as though the last day is the best… After the minga, we were invited to a farewell dinner hosted by Letitia’s other sister Teresa, her husband Tito and their six children. With Esteban’s family and ours, it made for a happy feast! They showered us with gifts of handmade jewelry and heartfelt thanks, and it was with a very sad heart that we bid them goodbye. And while this may have been slightly more trying for us as a family, it was undoubtedly the “real thing”: we wanted to see, feel, share the lives of those less fortunate then us and were given a beautiful opportunity to do just that with an entire village of beautiful people who took us into their lives and homes, with love, laughter and many life lessons.

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Posté par Abud Nantel 19:34 Archivé dans Équateur Tagué ecuador puerto_santa_ana Commentaires (5)

Cayagama Puerto Santa Ana... Pagracho! - Part 1

rain 20 °C
Voir Aventure 2011 2012 sur la carte de Abud Nantel.

We left Quito on a cold, rainy morning and boarded a bus for Puyo. The cost for the 5 hour bus ride was 7$ per person… Can you imagine doing Ottawa-Toronto for that price?!?

The road from the capital to Puyo winds through mountainous terrain that takes your breath away – and you heart, if you forgot to take your Gravol! The scenery is stunning, with lush green mountains that seem to have erupted from the bowels of the Earth only yesterday and deep gorges where the rivers run fast and wild. This part of Ecuador, the Sierra (the Mountain), is all green and water and life is abundant.

Puyo is the capital of Pastaza province and proudly claims the title of “Ciudad Canela” (Cinnamon City – although I’m told that cinnamon is not a traditional crop here). It is a non-descript mid-size city, full of “bazars” (shops) and restaurants, and a regional bus station. There isn’t much to see, but Puyo is the entry point to the Amazon basin so many come here as a jumping off point to jungle tours. Sadly, however, the forest in this area is secondary forest – that is to say, the primary Amazonian forest was decimated 40 years ago by landowners and businesses who stripped it of its precious woods and planted various non-traditional food crops in its place. Slowly, the area is being reforested and while it looks jungle-like to us gringos, one has to travel quite far from here, to the Yasuni or Cayambe reserves in the North, to see true-blue, primary Amazonian rain forest.

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We were met at the bus station by our host, Esteban Freire. Esteban is of the Ashuare people: short, swarthy, with dark eyes that aren’t afraid to meet yours and a solid handshake. He is intense, a man of few words, but we liked him instantly. Later, we would learn that he is the elected chief of the village, as well as the president of a local “fabrica” that processes fruit into juices and jams, creating employment for approximately 200 people in the region. He is a man committed to his community and completely dedicated to fostering progress and change. Interestingly, he almost never used the word “I”, always referring to himself as “nosotros” (we) and referring to “nuestra communidad” (our community). It became quite obvious to us that he is a particularly insightful and principled leader, much respected by everyone.

Together, we boarded the local bus that would take us to Puerto Santa Ana, about 1.25 hours beyond Puyo. The bus left the city and followed the main road for a while, but suddenly veered to the right and turned into a narrow and bumpy dirt road that seemed to plunge towards a small river. We thought at first that it was going to stop here, let some people off, and continue on the main road but… No! Instead, it plowed through the river and onto the dirt road that continued on the other side, for another 45 minutes. The road seemed deserted, with the occasional cluster of wooden houses or lone cow to confirm that the area was indeed inhabited. And then, suddenly, the bus stopped in front of a two-story wooden structure, on the shores of the mighty Rio Pastaza…

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As we stepped off the bus and looked around, Chloée exclaimed incredulously: “This is all there is to the village?!?” And then, to add to the exoticism, we watched some of our fellow bus riders climb on top of the wooden structure, where they jumped into a “tarabita” (a metal basket mounted on a zip line that serves as a ferry across the river), to catch another bus that was waiting on the other shore to take them to Palora. It has been raining a lot in recent weeks, and the chocoloate-coloured Pastaza was running wild and furious. In the distance, you could see three parallel ranges of mountains and the peaks of volcanoes shrouded in clouds. We knew instantly that this tarabita ride would be one of our daily activities…

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Esteban invited us to climb up a set of steep stairs carved into a rock face to reach the village, which sits on top of a cliff overlooking the river. First, we walked passed the school, which was comprised of 4 small buildings, clustered around a rusting play structure. Then, we reached a large, square, open area, around which you could see a covered football (soccer) field (known as “la cancha”) and some fifty or so wooden houses, partly hidden by trees and hedges of flowering hibiscus.

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There it was: Puerto Santa Ana, population 318, comprised of a mix of Kichua, Shuare, Ashuare and Zapara peoples (most speak Kichua, however, as the village is in traditional Kichua land). Esteban gave us a quick tour of the village, explaining that some of its population lives along the roads that lead in and out of the village, and that most tend “chacras” (gardens or fields) outside the village for their daily sustenance (mainly yuka and various kinds of bananas and fruit trees).

Esteban’s house is comprised of three buildings: a two story wooden house with two bedrooms and an open space with a small work desk and a hammock (we were given one of the rooms, while the family shared the other room). The second story is still open (i.e., no walls) and serves as a space for hanging laundry and for storage. The kitchen is in a traditional bamboo hut, with thatched roof, adjacent to the house. It has a cooking area, with a stove and a few dishes, a table, and a fire pit – they often cook part of the meal on the open fire. Finally, there is a small cement block outhouse, where you must “flush” by pouring a pail of water in the toilet. This house is actually one of the more comfortable ones in the village, and it has the luxury of having electricity. No one has running water, but again, Esteban has the luxury of having two 200+ gallons tanks to collect rainwater, thus avoiding the need to carry water from the river.

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We met Esteban’s wife Letitia, with whom I would develop a strong bond, and whose father actually founded Puerto Santa Ana some 50 years ago (of his eight children, six still live in the village and have large families, so they all played a prominent part in our Santa Ana experience). Esteban and Letitia have twin daughters, Shirley and Samira (7 years old), who are as different as two girls could possibly be! Shirley, the dominant twin, in outgoing and fearless, while Samira is tiny, shy and always giggling. Their older daughter, Sacha (12 years old), was sweet, shy and soft spoken, and got along wonderfully with both our girls. Sadly, she would join us only on the weekend: she is attending school in Puyo because she has “graduated” from the village school. However, because of the distance, she must live in the city – alone in a small house with her cousin, also aged 12.

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We would soon learn that children here must grow up very fast, often too fast, because their parents simply don’t have the time or resources to care for them as they would like to. Most families have at least 4 to 6 children, and some have up to ten. Some parents work outside town, while others work in the fields. And even if there is a stay-at-home mom, she must manage all the household chores, the children and the fields on her own. Recently, the government set up a daycare for little ones aged 1 to 5, providing some relief to their busy mothers. Almost every woman I spoke with told me that they had married and had their children very young – it is not uncommon for women to marry and have children by the age of 16. Not one of them failed to point out, in a matter-of-fact way, that life here could be difficult: their limited resources are stretched thin, some shared stories of abuse, they must constantly fight (that word came up time and again) to improve their lot every day, for the benefit of their children.

On the day we arrived, we were treated to the first real dose of sun and heat we’d had since we arrived in Ecuador. We were ecstatic! And on that clear, starry night, we went out to the football field to look into the night sky and track the constellations with our nifty StarWalker iPad app… In minutes, we were surrounded! Kids and adults alike swarmed us to see this amazing contraption and reveled in rediscovering the night sky this way.

However, that pleasure was to be short-lived… While we slept, the clouds returned, bringing buckets of rain... It rained practically until the day we left. Ugh!! We tried to do laundry 5 days before leaving and even though we hung our clothes to dry inside the house, everything was still wet when we left. So much so that we had mould growing on our clothes and bags!

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Posté par Abud Nantel 18:14 Archivé dans Équateur Tagué ecuador puerto_santa_ana Commentaires (2)

Quito (by: Manon)

semi-overcast 16 °C

It is often through the juxtaposition of opposites that artists highlight the uniqueness of their subjects and if I were to paint two Ecuadorian cities in this way, I would surely choose Mindo and Quito. While they sit less than two hours from each other, they could not be any more different… The former is green, lush and tiny; the latter is of various shades of white and gray with specks of colour, dense and stretches as far as the eye can see.

At an altitude of 2,800m and with a population of close to 3 millions, Quito is the world’s second highest capital (after La Paz, Bolivia). Like many South American cities, it has its roots in early cities build by pre-Colombian peoples. Here, the Quitu built their capital and temples and even at this time, before the Inca and subsequent Spanish conquests, the place was known as the “middle of the Earth”: through the use of solar clocks, the Quitu observed that the Sun, their God, shone from one side of the world for exactly six months, and from the other for the remaining six months. They also noted that on specific days – the equinoxes, at high noon – the Sun withheld the shadows of all things alive and inanimate for a few frightening minutes. They built observatories and temples along this line, to worship the Sun along its path. Few of these temples remain, but the line, known as “the camino del Sol” (the route of the Sun) is celebrated in a very nice little museum on the equatorial line, 22km away from Quito (see Chloée’s blog on “La Mitad del Mundo”). We had a great time there and learned a lot! We unfortunately ran out of time and missed the “Museo de la Cultura Solar”, but maybe we’ll be able to get to it when we return to Quito in a few weeks…

Now the location of the ancient Quitu capital made sense as long as it kept itself to a manageable size… But today, Quito seems to be bursting at the seams – literally! The city was built in the middle of a very (very!) narrow valley that seems to stretch lengthwise forever. As such, the only way to grow the city is for it to elongate… “Una ciudad salsichon”, as one taxi driver put it! From various vantage points, such as the Panecillo (a hill from which a winged Cirgin Mary benevolently looks down at the little people), you can see Quito spill into the valley ad infinitum – a Milky Way of densely packed white and grey houses, with the occasional touch of bright pink, green, blue or yellow and a number of large urban parks.

The last time we were here, we lived with a lovery lady in the North of the city, near the airport, but this time, we wanted to get closer to the action so we set up shop in the Mariscal – the city’s “downtown” core. However, we hadn’t realized just how touristy this area could be! Hostals, bars and restaurants crowd every corner and everyone you run into is either a gringo, or someone there to cater to their every need… But this is also the safer part of town to be in – and I can attest that at not time did we ever feel the least bit at risk. If you avoid doing anything dumb, Quito is really not as bad as many would have you believe. Quite the contrary! We found the people here to be very welcoming and helpful and the police is very present, in a reassuring kind of way. We did learn, however, that Quito could use a bit of infrastructure help... One day, a violent hailstorm came down on us followed by torrential rains, and within minutes, the streets were literally flooded...

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We had reserved a room at the Hostal El Centro del Mundo, recommended by the Lonely Planet and another friend, but upon entering the place, realized that yes… we are pushing forty and travelling with 2 kids. Dimly lit, lots of lovely young backpackers in their twenties, a happy hour every night, shared bathroom with sporadic hot water, no functioning electrical outlets in our bedroom and three loud bars across the street… We had already paid but quickly decided to sacrifice the 24$ and find another place to stay! So we ended up one street over, at the “Viajero Feliz” (the happy traveller) and for an extra 5$ a night, we scored a private bathroom, free wi-fi and relative quiet! Phew… that was a close one! And funnily enough, we ran into Sebastian, a German whom we’d met in Mindo, and with whom we shared breakfast in the morning.

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We spent the week catching up on homework, and enjoying the sites of Quito… Aside from our trip to the real equatorial line (Mitad del Mundo), we hired a taxi for a day trip to one of South America’s largest indigenous markets, in Otavalo, about 2 hours from Quito. This turned out to be the best idea we’d had in a long time! Milton, our driver, was a wonderful guide and helped us discover some of the beauties in the area:

- The village of San Pablo del Lago: the name says it all! This tiny white village sits at the foot of a soaring mountain, on the shore of a beautiful lake. We arrived early in the morning and everything was silent, the lake’s surface as still as a mirror in which the mountain admired itself in all its morning glory. And suddenly, a group of tiny, adorable, dark-haired children arrived for a school outing, gaily feeding the ducks and singing their nursery rhymes. It was “picture perfect”.

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- The Cascada de Peguche: just on the outskirts of Otavalo, you can find the “Bosque Protector Peguche”, a small park where you can enjoy walking trails that lead to a beautiful waterfall. While our guide brought here to see the waterfall itself, I was absolutely taken by the forest – I had not realized that one could find eucalyptus in this part of the world! Oh, the smell! And the colour of those bluish leaves against their ivory trunks! It was divine…

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- The market in Otavalo: I was somewhat fearful that this might be a huge tourist trap (which it may well be), but this market is also a “feeder” for all the other indigenous markets in the area… and I thought it was worth the visit (not to mention that the centre of the city itself is also pleasant by Ecuadorian standards)! Stall after stall after stall of woolen products, carvings, hamacs, bags, etc. of every shape, size and colour – a feast for the eyes! We didn’t go completely bonkers, but couldn’t resist stocking up on the alpaca wool: blankets, scarves, sweaters and a shawl for me… What we saved on the price, we paid in postage to send it home, but hey! They were beautiful, we live in a cold country, and they make great souvenirs.

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- Cotopachi: this was to be our next stop, the “leather city”, known for its leatherworks across the country… but one glance at the shop windows, and we decided that we had spent enough in Otavalo! So we moved on…

- Laguna de Cuyacoche: “the lagunes of the gods”. At over 3,400m, this lake formed in the crater of an ancient volcano, with a diameter of 3.5km and a perimeter of 9km. In its centre, three small islands are forming due to latent volcanic activity. The air here is thinner, crisp, clear. The lake is so clear that you can see the grains of sand at the bottom, even in a 1m of water. It is easy to imagine where it got its nickname…

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And then, there was the road from here to Quito… while the mountain in Puerto Quito and Mindo where green and lush, the mountains here had a semi-desertic feel: sparse brush, blue agave cacti, yellow earth that appeared dry despite the frequent and abundant rain. The road – a new toll highway built by the Correas government – wound its way around innumerable peaks, offering us breathtaking views of plunging valleys and running rivers. And it is along this road that they are building the new Quito International Airport! I cannot imagine how the pilots will be landing planes here, in the thin air and with all these mountains in the way! But it was absolutely beautiful.

So back to Quito…

A few interesting we discovered in the city:

Obviously, there is a lot of poverty here… but people are pretty creative in their efforts to make a few dollars: the squidgy kids are replaced by street performers who juggle fire torches and perform unicycle tricks at red lights to win a dollar from their unwilling spectators in the front row. People peddle their wares – food, trinkets, etc. – on the streets, at red lights and even jump in and out of buses to find buyers. But the ones who come on buses are the best: they jump on and very politely and eloquently present the benefits of their product, with the poise and seriousness of a Baptist minister – whether they are selling candy or a magazine on health through fruit therapy (we saw both!)… not to mention the Hare Krishna monk who was selling booklets on Yoga and Healthy Eating.

The cost of living here is also erratic: the average Ecuadorian makes approximately 290$ per month, up from 260$ since the latest tax hike by the Correas government who is attempting to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, one road, school and business at a time. However, before the national currency (the Sucre) was pegged on the American dollar in the late 1990’s, people lived well on 4$ a month! So it seems that on one hand, costs are rising much too fast, and on the other, some things remain incredibly cheap: eat like a local, and you can buy an amazing meal, complete with soup, fresh juice, a plate of meat and desert for $2.50, or you can go to the Mariscal and pay 12$ for a bad pizza (or got to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Toronto Restaurant!). Walk around the old town and buy what you need with pennies from the indigenous sellers, but go to the local mall and you’ll find middle-class Ecuadorians in JC Penney or at the Sony Store. A bus ride is 0.25$ and a 15 minute cab ride costs 4$ at most, but an organized tour will cost you 100$... And it’s not only the gringo/local difference – it really is a matter of which socio-economic class you belong to, and therefore what you can afford.

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The city’s “Casco Colonial” (colonial quarter) is a fascinating exercise in contrasts… the architecture is so colonial you could forget you are in Ecuador and imagine yourself in Spain. The churches are lavish, covered in goldleaf and full of paintings of Spanish hidalgos and missionaries converting willing savages; many houses, schools and other public buildings have baroque or gothic airs that point to their European architects; the streets are paved with cobblestones and the squares are large, airy and elegant… but the people in the old town are mainly indigenous. Everywhere you look, you see tiny women with woolen shawls, dark skirts and felt hats, carrying flowers or vegetables on their backs, on their way to some shop or another. We spent a whole day just wandering around this part of the city and thoroughly enjoyed the sites, sounds and smells…

I was especially taken by the Monasterio Carmen Bajo, where some 20 cloistered nuns live separated from the world by the walls of their convent. To make a bit of money, they make a variety of products, which can be bought at the convent’s shop… or you can go to a small room in which there is a turnkey, where you call out to the nuns and in which you place your money. From the other side of the door, a disembodied voice responds and your money disappears into “the other side”, and then your order appears. It was amazing to me that this is still possible today… And the line-up in front of the convent shop was entirely comprised of old indigenous men and women, who came here in search of god knows which holy product.

We also visited two wonderful museums: the first, the Museo del Banco National, houses the country’s best collection of pre-Colombian art, including a entire section of gold and silverworks by the pre-Inca peoples of Ecuador. Stunning. And a wonderful learning opportunity for the girls. We also loved the Yaku (water, in Kichwa) museum, where a superb exhibit teaches children about the properties and importance of water… and a wonderful “burbuja” (bubble) room, where a huge vat of soap water is provided for their bubble-making pleasure. Again, superbly well done and a wonderful learning opportunity for the girls.

And on last day, we enjoyed one of the city’s many urban parks. On a beautiful Sunday morning, we joined the locals in the El Ejido park, where we rented bicycles for the girls and soaked in the sun and family atmosphere until the rain drove us away.

Hasta luego, Quito!

PS More Quito photos to come... ran out of town to upload the last batch! ;-)

Posté par Abud Nantel 12:33 Archivé dans Équateur Tagué quito mitad_del_mundo ecuador otovalo Commentaires (2)

La « Mitad del mundo » (par : Chloée)

semi-overcast 17 °C

On est allé à la « moitié du monde ». C’est là que passe la ligne de l’équateur qui divise le monde en deux.

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On avait un pied dans l’hémisphère nord et un pied dans l’hémisphère sud.

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On a fait quelques expériences comme : l’eau qui coule dans le drain d’un lavabo tourne vers la droite au sud, et vers la gauche, au nord. Et sur la ligne de l’équateur, l’eau tombe tout droit.

Une autre expérience était qu’on pouvait mettre un œuf en équilibre sur un clou. C’est parce que sur la ligne de l’équateur, la gravité est un peu plus forte et elle pousse tout droit vers le bas. Partout d’autre, on ne peut pas faire ça.

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Une autre expérience était un test de force : on a découvert qu’on est moins fort sur la ligne de l’équateur.

Enfin, on a marché sur la ligne de l’équateur avec les yeux fermés et les bras tendus, pouces en haut. On marchait tout croche.

Ces expériences, on les a fait dans un musée sur la ligne de l’équateur, qui était dehors. Dans ce musée, on a aussi vu des traditions de l’Équateur (des Quitus, qui étaient là avant les espagnols) et des maisons des indigènes.

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On a aussi vu des cadrans solaires et on a appris que le jour de l’équinoxe, à midi, pendant trois minutes, il n’y a pas d’ombre sur la ligne de l’équateur parce que le soleil est directement au-dessus.

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C’était intéressant.

Posté par Abud Nantel 12:28 Archivé dans Équateur Tagué quito mitad_del_mundo ecuador Commentaires (4)

Mindo (par : Arianne)

semi-overcast 18 °C

Nous sommes à Mindo. Mindo, c’est petit, plus petit que Puerto Quito. Le village est dans un groooos trou de montagne. Les montagnes sont très à pic et sont pleines de brume le matin. Si tu y vas en hiver, tu dois te lever tôt pour aller faire tes affaires parce que sinon, il va pleuvoir tout le reste de la journée.

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Il y a beaucoup d’oiseaux dans la forêt. Tu peux faire un tour pour aller voir les oiseaux, mais tu dois te lever vers 5h du matin pour y aller, parce que les oiseaux sortent plus le matin. Nous, on a vue trois sortes de toucans, beaucoup de perroquets et un oiseau rare qu’ils n’avaient jamais vu à Mindo parce qu’il vit plus bas que Mindo d’habitude.

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On a fait du zip-line. C’était amusant parce qu’on avait un équipement spécial et il y avait des cordes vites et des cordes lentes. La plus longue était de 400m. Il y avait 13 lignes, et la dernière, c’était celle de 400m. Entre les lignes, il fallait marcher, mais ce n’était pas trop long.

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On est allé à une ferme de papillons et j’en ai pris sur mes doigts et ça chatouille. Mon papillon préféré, c’était le Morpho bleu. Il avait les ailes toutes bleues en dedans, et dehors, ça faisait comme trois yeux d’hibou.

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Dans l’hôtel à côté du nôtre, il y avait plein d’oiseaux mouches!!!!!! Mon préféré était bleu et avait une longue queue verte.

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En haut de la montagne, il y avait une « tarabita » : c’est une boîte de métal accrochée sur un fil qui la fait traverser d’un bord de la vallée à l’autre bord de la vallée. On est monté dedans et on est allé du bord des chutes. Là, on a marché pour voir une chute, deux chutes, trois chutes, quatre chutes, cinq chutes. C’était long, mais c’était beau. En route, on a rencontré un chien qui nous a suivi jusqu’à la tarabita. Il est resté avec nous et on l’a appelé « Cascada », c’est le mot « cascade » en espagnol.

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On est aussi allé à « Mindo Bonito », c’est une place où on peut se baigner, mais on ne s’est pas baigné parce qu’il faisait trop froid ou sinon, il pleuvait. Il y a des hamacs fait en pneus, et on s’est bercés. On a mangé de la viande cuite.

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Voici les deux restaurants que j’ai le plus aimés (ils sont un en face de l’autre) : il y en a un qui vendait du jus de fruits (faits avec des vrais fruits maison) et des hamburgers et l’autre, c’était un restaurant à pizza et la pizza était faite maison aussi.

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Mindo, c’est amusant!

Posté par Abud Nantel 12:19 Archivé dans Équateur Tagué mindo equateur Commentaires (5)

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