Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ecuador Part 2: Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

Standard

Cuenca, EcuadorDid I mention I absolutely loved Cuenca, Ecuador? Of all the cities traveled to, Cuenca would rate right up there with the best.  It is beautiful in the way it is historically preserved, clean and colorful.  The people are relaxed and engaging. The weather, perfect! But,  I have to say, my favorite aspect of Cuenca was rounding a corner, or climbing some steps and randomly seeing things like this:

Can someone just paint me into this mural?

Can someone just paint me into this mural?

Or this:

Cuenca, Ecuador

Even just the everyday life of the city was filled with colors.

How do I get these home on the plane?

The Flower Market: How do I get these home on the plane?

Cuenca, Ecuador

Outside Municipality Church.

Cuenca, Ecuador

Rooftops of Cuenca in repair – feels like home.

 

 

 

Cuenca, Ecuador

Parque Calderon: The place to chill.

Parque Calderon: The place to chill.

I am sure Teen would say his best moments in Cuenca happened when he was mobbed by a group of school girls  wanting to take photos with him.  This went on until the teacher chaperone shooed them on to their destination.

Yeah, he was happy to oblige...

Yeah, he was all too happy to oblige…

And I am sure my husbands best moment was meeting the Shaman women in the meat market doing “cleansings” on children and then (through his perfect Spanish which can be a blessing, or in this case, a curse) discovering that they do cleansings on adults as well.  He was way too happy to sign me up- as I clearly needed the most cleansing!

Apparently, the ritual process included being smothered and beat with herbs, getting spit on, and a bottle of “magic juice” to-go (re-used plastic bottle filled with a strange pinkish liquid that smelled like dirt) .  The little Ecuadorian kids did not seem to mind…

All cleansed and good to go!

All cleansed and good to go!

But, I think my cleansing was a little more involved:

What did I ever do to deserve this...

What did I ever do to deserve this…

I can't breath...no, I really couldn't breath.

I can’t breath…no, really, I can’t breath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the cleansing wasn’t over until the Shaman Lady spit:

Yep, that just happened...

Yep, that just happened… (thank you, Teen, for capturing this precious moment)

Teen2’s best moment was NOT necessarily eating Cuy (that’s Guinea Pig for you English speaking folks).  He objected to the bits of fur still attached, the general lack of any meat, and having to look at an animals teeth on his plate:

Tastes like chicken...

Tastes like chicken…

Tastes like chicken.

My cute friend whose Mom whipped up these delicious pets for us…

I would go back to Cuenca again – mobbing, spitting and all – in a heartbeat.  As for the Cuy?  Well, been there done that.

Oh, and if you are wondering if my cleansing worked – all I can say is, I have not been sick yet this winter, even with the pestilence ranging all around me and I can suddenly leap tall buildings in a single bound (ok, not really on that last part, but I do feel pretty good…so who knows)!

Cuenca, Ecuador

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow”

Next stop Banos!

For more posts on Ecuador:

Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

Ecuador Part 3: Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

For more Sweet Spot Travels:  Go Here

Advertisements

Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

Standard

Quito, Ecuador

“Y’all ever been ta Queeetto b’foa?” …

Were the first words we heard from fellow passenger on our flight to Quito, Ecuador -(picture Forrest Gump meets Yosemite Sam).  Unfortunately, having to answer “No” to this question opened us up to a complete narrative including statements such as “Lordy, Lordy it’s high up in there” (the high altitude?).  Actually, only my husband was treated to the full show (’cause he is too polite), as Teen1, Teen2 and I shrunk into the sanctuary of our devices, picking up only enough one liners from our new friend to be annoying later on.

Starting out the trip under such auspicious beginnings could only mean one thing…of course, a completely memorable travel experience.

Initially the main goal in going to Ecuador was to, duh,  stand on the equator(and to go anywhere warm).  However, in the very first moments in Quito, we fell in love with the country, its people, its mountains, its cities, and its cheap gas!

QUITO – THE CITY

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

QUITO – THE PLAZAS

Plaza Grande

Plaza Grande

Quito, Ecuador

Plaza San Francisco

Plaza Santo Domingo

Plaza Santo Domingo

Plaza 24 de Mayo

Plaza 24 de Mayo

PEOPLE WATCHING IN QUITO

We sat on the convent steps and rested with this colorful Ecuadorian woman.

We sat on the convent steps and rested with this colorful Ecuadorian woman as she sold her fruit. I don’t think we helped her sales.

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

QUITO – THE REAL EQUATOR

Apparently, the original monument, Mitad del Mundo (“middle of the earth”), is not actually in the middle of the earth, but rather 600 feet away from 00 coordinates – who knew? The French scientists, who calculated the original coordinates, did a pretty good job in the 1700’s given the tools of the time.  But like indoor plumbing and shows with zombies, GPS is better.

We tried all the “tricks” at the equator – walking the line with eyes closed (harder than you think) to feel a magnetic pull between hemispheres, balancing the egg on a nail, which is supposed to be easier at 00 (only Teen2 felt the magic), and watching a demonstration of water swirling different directions in the Northern and Southern hemisphere.  Truth or trick?  I have no idea, but we had fun trying to figure it out!

The Equator Water Myth:

Good thing they did not ask me to say the alphabet backwards, too!

Good thing they did not ask me to say the alphabet backwards, too!

The symbol of the city – Virges del Panecillo

Virges del Panecillo

She overlooks the city from atop her hill and can be seen from almost anywhere in Quito.

We were able to ditch Forrest Gump at the airport before he made good on his offer to show us around. But he was right about one thing… Lordy, Lordy, it is high up in there!

For more on Ecuador:

Ecuador Part 2:  Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

Ecuador Part 3:  Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!