Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quilotoa loop

I am delighted to be back in Ecuador. It feels so comfortable and safe. The indigenous people in the hills are extremely friendly and colorful. I led mountaineering trips on the volcanoes here a number of years ago.

I am in the middle of the Quilotoa loop which is South of Quito and West of Cotopaxi. The roads have been enjoyable with gravel, sand and mud after a period of rain.

I had a moment where I felt very much alive. The rain was pouring and the road turned from gravel to clay was slippery. I went slow and felt the water soaking my face and hands. The rest of me was dry and warm. I love being in the elements and submerged, as you will, in the forces of nature. It’s a way of participating that I thoroughly enjoy.

The steep agriculture breaks the hills into colorful squares and rectangles. Many of the plots have small huts with thatched roofs. All the fields are managed by hand. The people use large hoes to break up the soil.

They say that the uphill legs of the animals that graze here are shorter than the downhill legs. It’s just a joke of course, but it tells you how steep the mountains are.

Lunch today was the traditional chicken and corn stew. The corn cob is cut into rounds and one or two pieces are put in the bowl. On the side there was rice, potatoes and meat, avocado and tomato. I think that the meat was the stomach lining of some animal. It was chewy and different tasting. There was a mystery drink that was semi sweet and thick. It seemed almost like runny oatmeal that had been put through a blender.

Another boon that I forgot to mention on my last entry is that my camera started working again. It seems that I’ll be able to take pictures when the camera is willing and able.

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