we’ve arrived. and in less than 24 hours, david has fallen in love!
well, we both have. with ecuador.
driving the 400+ miles from quito to cuenca yesterday took a full day–a trip we probably won’t do many times as it curves and switches, dips and climbs for eight solid hours.
it makes more sense to catch a quick flight and shorten the traveling time. but we wanted to see the countryside. and it is beautiful.
patchwork fields with crops planted almost vertically. fields of quinoa, corn, vegetables and other crops to be identified.dairy cows dot the landscape. sheep, donkeys and (we think we saw) a llama.
clear blue skies (when we weren’t in the clouds). brilliant green fields. agave plants (great for tequila). eucalyptus trees (brought here by the conquistadors and though beautiful, are terrible for the soil).two of the many facts our driver patricio shared with us as we sped through the andes.
i never expected to see dairy cows yet ecuador is stock full of them. dairy Swiss and hereford are just two of the breeds. they graze on the side of mountains, left feet lower than the right. back feet higher than the front. speeding along the highway we passed numerous solitary cows and horses tethered to a branch close to the road. one brazen bovine parked her backside right on the line–for a brief second, it look like chopped steak to go!
people working in the field added splashes of color with their red wraps, green hats, ruddy cheeks and white teeth. men and women worked the fields in what seemed to be leisurely fashion. with so much done by hand, you have to pace yourself i guess.
we stopped for al muero in a town called Colto. the three of us and our driver ate for $12. pollo y arbol (i think that is rice!), en salada, sopa de papa con frijoles y queso, y bananas with chocolate and cream. oh, and fresh juga. amazing. too much to eat. david and i could have split a plate and eaten for $1.50, not $3!
next to the restaurant stood one of the oldest churches in Ecuador ( i think). Built by the Spanish in 1564. The stone walls were a good 24″ thick. lit candles created a peaceful reverent atmosphere. empty pews beckoned but we had miles to go before we slept.nice surprise in the middle of a busy day.
katherine purchased an alpaca stuffed animal from a street vendor and named him Bob. he’s her new best friend she says. make that her only friend in Ecuador. give her a few days. she’ll be fine.
so, you see why we are already in love with this place. as i write this i am looking out our second story window. one of the city’s four rivers is flowing across the street. people moving around at a leisurely pace. a woman sweeps the sidewalk outside a new American restaurant. we ate there last night. Queen and the Blues entertained us while we ate hamburgers. we decided this is a place we may return to occasionally when we need a “fix” from the USA. but from now our, most of our meals are local.
david has gone to the market. katherine is on her ipad. (i hate that thing)
i’m using this time to allow my ankles which have swollen to the size of rhode island to shrink back to normal (say, Cleveland). of the three of us, i’m having the hardest time with altitude..but it will pass in a day or so.
all is well in the vander plaats world.
i have so much to learn—but we have nothing but time.
greetings to you all.
(by now you now probably, but our phones and texting is out of commission. face book or email is the way to stay in touch. or through this blog. buenas dias, mis amigos!)