04/23/2012, Guamote, Ecuador
Another side trip was to the village of Guamote to see the Thursday market. It was absolutely fascinating. As Reg is fond of saying I was actually taller than most of the people in the village!!! It was great to see all of the activity by the indigenous people wearing traditional clothing. Shoes, shoes, everywhere - we could not believe the number of stalls selling shoes and of course the famous fedora type hats.
They come in their thousands to sell sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, llamas, potatoes, cereals, wool, handicrafts, clothing and tools. Others simply come out of custom and ancestral ritual to meet with friends and take advantage of this time to catch up on the fascinating cosmo-visions that they share.
The exchange of goods or bartering as a form of trade still exists in Guamote.
We really enjoyed the visit and wished we had enough time to stay for another Thursday and see it all again.
04/23/2012, Riobamba, Ecuador
We had a great drive from Guayaquil to Riobamba. The countryside was beautiful. Lots of small farms with small fields being worked right up the sides of some very big hills/mountains!!! Riobamba was a very busy place with lots of traffic. The hostel was good, people very nice, food was good but beds a bit lumpy!! We enjoyed the famous dish "Hornado" which is roasted pork topped with pork rind, served with a corn type salad and potatoes. All the drinks are freshly made from local fruit. The experience of ordering this meal in the Mercado (market) was very interesting and not sure if we could have handled it without Alfredo and Emma there to help us with Spanish. As soon as you walk in you are bombarded with women trying to seat you at a table in front of a stall where the whole pig is roasted and waiting for you. Once you choose a table then you would get your meal from the stall located behind the table. Other women come along and sell you the drinks and the extra potatoes as a side dish. It was a fun experience. Later that night we enjoyed a fire in the hostel provided by the owner.
04/23/2012, The Coast of Ecuador
We spent some time in Montanita which is the village that Alfredo and Emma had their hostel. We had dinner at night and strolled around the town. There are numerous stands where you can buy any king of drink you want and walk around town with it.
The next day we stopped at the beach again on the way back through Guayaquil. Alfredo did some surfing. Alia and Emma swam and then Alia rode the surf board into shore a few times. Emma says the place has changed dramatically since they were there. A lot more people etc. It is kind of like Grand Bend on Steroids. Back to Guayaquil for one night and then onto the rest of our journey!!!
04/23/2012, Drive from Guayaquil to the Coast
We were quite glad to hit the road and get out of the city and into the cool ocean breezes. Stopped at a neat little village on the beach for lunch. We had logastina which is a type of lobster. We stopped at a great "miramar" lookout that used to be an old convent built into the side of a big hill overlooking the ocean.
After we checked into our hostel on the beach in Ayampe, Alfredo and the girls went for a swim at another beach with less waves and current. Reg and I enjoyed a beer and watched. We went with a tour guide on a smaller boat to a beach on a island. Dad and his three sons - the two younger ones were fun to watch as they were excited about going even though dad says they have gone many times. They dropped us off on the beach (quite a feat) and anchored off. They fished and waited while we hung out on the beach. Alfredo, Emma and Alia went snorkeling and had a great time. Reg did some exploring and got sun burnt and I sat in the shade to read. The hostel was nice - small cabins and great dogs as noted in one of my pics.
04/21/2012, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Alia arrived Saturday morning at 6:00 on Mar 10 and our plan was to spend a day quickly touring the city and a day to meet the family of Emma's fiancée, Alfredo, prior to our departure for a 3 day tour of the beaches and then inland.
With Alia having the power of youth and a sleep on the plane we headed out. Our first stop was to Emma's work at the university and then went on to the "Miramar" a lookout over the city where we shared a local dish (Emma is displaying the dish I believe is called Bolones de Verde which is mashed young plantain with cheese and shaped into a ball).
Emma and Alfredo live in a refurbished section of what was the original heart of the city, on a hill overlooking the river. On the Saturday we toured two high spots overlooking the city, including the hike up the 442 steps to the top of the historic town centre hill with its remains of old fortress and the still functioning church and lighthouse. (You can see the pics of this from the album called the "Hill Walk" that was posted earlier)
The city, with some foresight, has dismantled some of the historic old buildings in the core rather than demolish them. They were reassembled in a park we toured at the suggestion of Alfredo's father. The park also exhibited the wildlife indigenous to the area in a series of well-maintained enclosures in the adjoining mangrove forest. The most impressive building for me was a massive hospital, two stories high, about 200' by 300' with a chapel in its centre.
Traditionally there was a courtyard around the chapel and then the actual hospital surrounding the courtyard such that the entire hospital would have had a view and access to the courtyard. A very magnificent building in its day and today.
Sunday we hosted a barbeque beside the apartment pool (Emma & Alfredo's home) and had the pleasure of meeting Alfredo's family. As you can see by the pics most everyone enjoyed jumping into the pool followed by a huge feast. In true rainy season we had a heavy rainfall. The buildings are designed to handle this very eventuality and we dined in comfort under the covered outdoor patio.
Our first real visit together. Alfredo's family has made me feel very welcome. I have never been kissed so much in my life!!!! I was pretty nervous but they were so friendly and Emma was busy translating. The young woman between Hugo and Andrea is Paulina who is Hugo's wife.