A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about night

Galápagos Islands: So much wonderful wildlife!

Islote Tintoreras, Puerto Villamil, Arnaldo Tupiza Chamaidan Giant Tortoise Centre and the Wall of Tears


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

This day was our first full day on Isabela Island (formerly known as Abermarle). The night before, at dinner, we'd been told to get ready to go out on our first excursion at 8.50am, so we went down for breakfast at 8. Bud and Gale, the lovely American couple I mentioned yesterday, were already there. Breakfast was lovely - I had black coffee with sugar and hot chocolate powder mixed in, two flattish oblong rolls (one with scrambled egg in and the other with cheese) and a bowl of deliciously sweet and juicy fresh pineapple chunks.

At 8.40, a bit earlier than we expected, we were taken to the port and then put on a panga (water taxi), with some other people from different hotels.

2014-06-04-12h32m46.JPG2014-06-04-09h02m31.JPG

I found a Galápagos sealion under a boat.

2014-06-04-08h59m30.JPG

This took us to Islote Tintoreras, very close to Isabela. This is very small, uninhabited by humans and lacking any trees apart from a mangrove along one side. Before we were taken ashore, however, our guide took us round the coastline for a bit. We saw a big male Gálapagos sea lion that had been driven away from the group (herd?) by a younger male and could no longer return, a couple of penguins - the only type that can live in such relatively hot conditions so close to the equator - and a blue-footed booby.

2014-06-04-09h10m48.JPG2014-06-04-16h25m45.JPG

We also came across a fisherman in his boat - pelicans and frigatebirds were flying above.

2014-06-04-09h34m10.JPG

Our guide knew the fisherman and asked what fish he had caught. In reply the guy held up two massively long fish, fish that our guide said were called wahoo. He said that he would be able to get between $100 - $150 for one if he sold it to a restaurant.

Then we landed and walked round the island, keep very closely to the trail. It was an amazing volcanic landscape, black rocks with white lichen on the points that stuck upwards.

2014-06-04-16h54m44.JPG2014-06-04-17h33m46.JPG2014-06-04-17h25m52.JPG2014-06-04-16h50m54.JPG2014-06-04-17h21m01.JPG

We saw lots of distinctively scarlet Sally Lightfoot crabs, black crabs, black marine iguanas and a couple more sea lions.

2014-06-04-16h58m31.JPG2014-06-04-17h02m55.JPG2014-06-04-17h50m08.JPG2014-06-04-17h03m12.JPG2014-06-04-17h48m07.JPG2014-06-04-17h51m45.JPG2014-06-04-17h28m01.JPG2014-06-04-17h03m52.JPG2014-06-04-20h59m47.jpg2014-06-04-20h59m58.jpg

One of these sea lions appeared in a pool between the mangrove and the rocks where we stood. It swam up and down and bellowed in order to let other sea lions in the area know that it was there.

2014-06-04-17h49m13.JPG

We also saw a 'nursery' for baby iguanas, where the adults were on the left side of the path and all the babies were on the right side, right next to the sea. The reason why the babies were there was because there were loads of cracks in the rocks on that side that acted as extra protection. Our guide stopped soon afterwards and showed us an empty, rubbery iguana eggshell.

Just after we passed the pool with the sea lion in it we stopped by a crevice in the rocks which was filled with very clear, still water and had some white-tip sharks lying on the bottom.

2014-06-04-18h04m02.JPG2014-06-04-18h01m51.JPG

Last of all on land, we stopped at the mangrove and our guide told us a little bit about them. One or two leaves on each branch were yellow, apparently due to the way that they 'sacrifice' themselves by absorbing all the salt in the seawater. This way the other leaves survive for longer and stay green.

After this we went snorkelling with giant turtles!! The panga took us to an even smaller island round the corner from Islote Tintoreras - actually on reflection it may just have been part of Isabela island - and we got out onto the rocks with only our swimming stuff and flipflops on, plus snorkels if we'd brought any. If you hadn't then it didn't matter because there was a big bag of snorkels, masks and fins for communal use. There were about 8-10 of us including our guide. After leaving our flipflops on the rocks we got in...

We saw lots of tropical fish, especially lots of black ones with a yellow tail and a white stripe down their body. We also saw lots of small, green, spiny sea anemones, a couple of very big, fat, brownish starfish and last but not least... the turtles! They were huge. They stayed lying on the sea floor, apart from a couple who swam along for a bit. The sight of them was amazing. I'd always wanted to snorkel with turtles! Dave really loved them as well. There wasn't much coral - apart from white sand, there were lots of flat rocks covered in green algae, which was where the tropical fish fed from. It was such a fantastic experience to float over these rocks and see all the fish close up, especially when the rocks were close to the surface, then see bigger, silvery fish swimming near the seabed once the rocks finished. As soon as I got out of the water I saw a large marine iguana swim past.

After this we went back to Puerto Villamil, the main town on Isabela, for lunch. We had it at a different hotel, one that overlooked a small reedy lake. Soup first, then lightly breadcrumbed fresh shrimps, rice, salad and creamy mashed potato for the main, with chopped banana & chocolate syrup for pudding.

After lunch we went on another excursion, this time with several stops at different places. Ricardo was with us, along with a naturalist guide called Miguel. Stop one was at the giant tortoise breeding centre; this was fascinating, as I expected, because I've always wanted to see these creatures in the flesh. We saw a mixture of adults, juveniles and babies, all in separate pens.

2014-06-04-21h27m44.JPG2014-06-04-21h22m48.JPG2014-06-04-20h32m34.jpg2014-06-04-20h15m49.jpg2014-06-04-20h41m45.jpg2014-06-04-20h22m19.jpg2014-06-04-20h30m00.jpg2014-06-04-20h30m17.jpg2014-06-04-20h31m56.jpg

They had different types of giants; ones that come from different parts of Isabela, including some from the slope of Cerro Azul Volcano which are unique in the Galápagos for having flat, squashed-looking shells.

2014-06-04-20h25m20.jpg2014-06-04-20h41m08.jpg2014-06-04-20h40m48.jpg

Stop two was a short walk through cacti and mangrove to a small, black rocky beach where we saw lots of blue-footed boobies.

2014-06-04-21h04m38.jpg2014-06-04-21h06m00.jpg2014-06-04-21h04m45.jpg2014-06-04-21h02m20.jpg

Stop three was at a fantastic lookout point. On the way there we saw two giant tortoises in the wild, which I was pleased about - I had hoped I would see at least one in the wild as well as the ones at the breeding centre.

2014-06-04-21h41m04.JPG

From the lookout point we could see a lot of the western side of the island as well as some of the eastern and the sea with some of the other islands in it. Miguel showed us lots of trees nearby that he said the locals burn as incense in churches and in their homes and export to the mainland.

2014-06-04-15h26m39.JPG

Stop four was a sobering visit to the Wall of Tears (in Spanish, El Muro de las Lágrimas), a wall built by prisoners from a penal colony on the island between 1945 and 1959. Miguel told us that this entirely pointless task was set because the government wanted to kill the prisoners but couldn't because the families back on the mainland would complain, so they had to find a task for them to do instead. Many prisoners died during its construction and there was a lot of cruelty, hence the name since given to it since.

2014-06-04-23h00m46.JPG2014-06-04-15h48m24.JPG2014-06-04-21h47m53.jpg

Our penultimate stop was at a lava tunnel, formed naturally from a volcanic eruption. There was a hole down into it and water at the bottom.

2014-06-04-22h20m27.jpg

Our last stop was a walk along the beach at Puerto Villamil.

2014-06-04-14h46m54.JPG2014-06-04-16h41m54.JPG

Miguel showed us a tiny white crab which he said people from the Galápagos cook in bulk and eat as a snack like popcorn when they sit down to watch films. At the end of the beach Miguel left us to go back to his family - Ricardo had left a bit earlier - and Bud, Gale, Dave and I went back along the beach a bit until we got to an outdoors bar, where we had a couple of drinks. I ordered Dave and I two daiquiris for $6 and a fruit milkshake.

2014-06-04-17h10m11.JPG2014-06-04-17h13m20.JPG

We were joined by a group of Australians; almost straight after we'd all ordered, two of them and I played a game of volleyball against two local guys and a Chilean girl from the hostel to which the bar was attached. When it ended none of us had any idea of which team had actually won, but it was very good fun nonetheless.

2014-06-04-23h21m30.jpg

As well as a volleyball net, the bar had a very long, stretchy piece of material set a metre from the ground between two posts; Ricardo reappeared and with other locals he walked along it like a stretchy, bouncy tightrope - he told us later that is a growing pastime in the Galápagos. Once the volleyball had finished I watched them take turns on it, but neither Dave or I were tempted to have a go ourselves! Bud then ordered two Cuba Libres but only wanted one of them (two for the price of one) so I bought one off him. By now the place was crowded and the sun had gone down. The atmosphere of the whole place was very convivial.

2014-06-04-18h29m46.JPG

After another half an hour or so the bar staff lit a small bonfire, but before it could get going properly Bud, Gale, Dave and I had to go back to our hotel for dinner. Soup, chicken, rice, salad and a delicious chocolate brownie-like pudding with nuts in and a meringue topping drizzled with chocolate sauce.

After dinner we were too tired to do anything apart from load our photos from today onto my laptop and Dave's USB pen and then go to sleep.

Posted by 3Traveller 00:21 Archived in Ecuador Tagged birds night turtles pelicans coast beach hotel dave penguins cocktails iguanas ecuador sealions galapagos_islands blue_footed_boobies frigatebirds unesco_world_heritage_site ecuadorian_cuisine sally_lightfoot_crabs white_tip_sharks giant_tortoises tropical_fish Comments (0)

Visitors: Malecón, Las Peñas, Cerro Santa Ana and salsa

Guayaquil

Yesterday I only saw Emma, Kate, Mark and Andrew in the morning when I met them at the language school and took them to the bus terminal. They were going to Playas for the afternoon. It turned out that the night before, after they got back to their hostel after taking part in the first part of my lesson, they went swimming in the hostel's pool; on getting out of the pool Kate put her foot through the filter cover by accident, cutting and bruising her foot quite badly.

Today, while I was teaching in the morning the others looked round the Malecón, complete with botanic garden and the Museum of Anthropology & Contemporary Art. As soon as work finished at 1 o'clock I caught a bus into the city centre to meet them for lunch. I was held up considerably in traffic but we eventually managed to meet up. I wanted to take them to the restaurant E and I went to about a month and a half ago that sells delicious 'Encocado' (fish or shrimps in a creamy coconut sauce with rice), but unfortunately I couldn't find it, so we went somewhere else instead for lunch - the place on the Malecón that Mum and I went to in February. Kate, Emma and I all had sea bass which had been lightly breadcrumbed then grilled, which was amazing. I'm pretty sure it was the best breadcrumbed fish I've ever had!

Suitably refreshed, we headed over to Las Peñas to have a good nose around.

IMG_0913.JPGIMG_0916.JPG10295780_991934904350_5303134053396367730_n.jpgIMG_0914.JPG

We popped into a little art gallery and also saw at least two artists at work in their studios.

IMG_0917.JPGIMG_0918.JPG

We then took the side way up Cerro Santa Ana, the same way I'd taken Mum in February. We met this amazing dog on the way;

IMG_0921.JPG

Once at the terrace at the top we went up the lighthouse and had a look inside the chapel.

IMG_0931.JPGIMG_0940.JPGIMG_0926.JPG

After that the others went back to have a lie down and a swim in the pool. Later on we met up with 'E' at a nearby restaurant for dinner. The others were slightly shocked to find a security guard armed with a shotgun outside, but 'E' and I are used to it so we didn't bat any eyelids. Once inside, Emma and Kate had a lovely surprise because they saw Encocado on the menu! I was craving steak so I had that instead; it was delicious.

After we'd had dinner, we set off via taxis to a karaoke bar in Las Peñas that I've been to before. Kate and Emma were desperate to try the famous 'Alexander' cocktail I'd told them about (which in Ecuador is made from brandy, creme de cacao, condensed milk and crushed ice), so they and I had ones.

IMG_0950.JPG

I had intended for us to join my colleagues at a nearby bar for a drink or two before we carried on to the Captain Morgan, but as it turned out we didn't have time. We didn't want to be late for Captain Morgan!

The walk down the Malecon to where the boat was moored was very atmospheric in the dark, with the La Rotonda Monument and the Moorish Tower both lit up.

IMG_0956.JPG

After buying our tickets and waiting a while, we were allowed up the gangplank. A short while after the ship started to sail, a couple of guys with pirate hats came over and insisted on us posing for photos - he took photos with our cameras for us and if we'd wanted to we could have bought an official photograph from him for $5, but we chose not to.

IMG_0970.JPGIMG_0958.JPGIMG_0965.JPG

A lot of the music they played was salsa and merengue - and luckily for the rest of us, 'E' gave us an impromptu lesson in both! It was really, really good fun.

10339662_991936580990_4921130659891666096_n.jpg

We came back in to land at about 2 am. E rang for two taxis for us, one for me and her and one for the others.

Posted by 3Traveller 06:21 Archived in Ecuador Tagged art night museum hostel buses sisters salsa botanical_gardens cocktails ecuador guayaquil explorations cerro_santa_ana las_peñas malecon_2000 ecuadorian_cuisine river_trip river_guayas Comments (0)

Night out in Guayaquil: the floating 'Captain Morgan'

Las Peñas and the River Guayas

Update from January 2019: The boat is still there, though officially known as 'Barco Morgan'. I didn't mention it below, but it did and as far as I know still does more normal daytime river trips during the week and I assume at weekends as well (don't quote me on this though).

At the Malecón in Guayaquil there is a wooden boat docked called the Captain Morgan, which on Friday and Saturday nights becomes a floating bar. It leaves at 11.30 pm and sails up and down the River Guayas for a couple of hours; you pay $15 to get in and then it´s all you can drink for free.

A group of us decided to give it a go. Before we went got on the Captain Morgan we had a few drinks at Las Peñas. We met up in a bar called 'La Taberna', somewhere I had never been to before. It was a very interesting place because the walls were covered with laminated photographs and framed newspaper pages and articles that looked decades old.

IMG_0819.JPGIMG_0816.JPG

There were also antique telephones and gramophones, old Latin American records in their sleeves, a collection of empty cigarette packets stuck onto part of one wall and two flatscreen TVs showing some very eccentric and low-budget-looking cumbia, reggaeton and merengue videos and some recordings of salsa nightclub performances. Part of a U2 concert was also shown. There was a giant inflatable Pilsener beer bottle outside the entrance.

There were no drinks menus; the owner simply brought over pitchers of beer and some chilled glass mugs. There were some bottles of spirits behind the bar but I decided to leave it and not bother having anything to drink considering the free bar I knew I'd have on the Captain Morgan.

After leaving La Taberna we walked down the Malecón to the Captain Morgan. I saw this bird on the way (apologies for the rubbish quality: I didn't want to scare it away by using flash).

IMG_0823.JPG

We'd arrived half an hour early so some of us went looking for food... For some reason the only food I'd had that day so far was a couple of empanadas in the morning and a chocolate brownie in the afternoon, so I was starving.The only open place nearby was McDonald's, so we went there. It was only the second time I'd been to a McDonald's in Ecuador. I had a small fries and a 'Thick & Crispy' burger because it looked like a plain double cheeseburger with a bit of special mayonnaise and what I assumed was crispy bacon inside... Once I bit into it I discovered that it wasn't bacon at all but pieces of pork scratching!

The boat trip was a great experience. It was interesting to see Guayaquil from a different viewpoint and after dark.

IMG_0862.JPGIMG_0825.JPGIMG_0832.JPGIMG_0861.JPG

We did a lot of dancing and took advantage of the free bar. Aside from beer they didn't have much else apart from vodka, whiskey, rum and mixers, so I had a rum & Coke and two whiskey & oranges.

IMG_0829.JPGIMG_0826.JPGIMG_0828.JPGIMG_0837.JPG

The boat came back to port between 2 - 2.30 am. I got a taxi back with some of the others who live in the same end of town. Unfortunately when I arrived back I realised I didn't have my phone anymore - I think it must have fallen out of my pocket in the back of the taxi or when I used the facilities just before we disembarked.

Posted by 3Traveller 03:37 Archived in Ecuador Tagged parties birds night ecuador guayaquil las_peñas malecon_2000 river_trip river_guayas Comments (0)

Birthday celebrations

Guayaquil

31/1/14

The only class I had today was this morning, between 7-9 am; a B2 conversation class. I felt touched because one of my students gave me a special birthday cupcake. It was really big and the sponge and icing were both bright red. As soon as she'd given me it and I'd thanked her, all four of them broke out with 'Happy Birthday To You' - then the moment they finished that they carried on into the Spanish version, 'Cumpleaños Feliz'. I don't know what they do in Spain, but in Ecuador when native speakers sing 'Happy Birthday' in English, they stretch out 'ir' in 'birthday' to 'irrrrrrr'.

We did some work on fluency and some on small talk, and seeing as it was my birthday, we finished with a few snacks I'd brought in. The idea was to create a bit of a party atmosphere and provide an opportunity for small talk practice in a freer, authentic and more relaxed situation. It seemed to go down well.

Some birthday post arrived for me at the language school after my conversation class had finished. I stayed online at work for a couple of hours then took my post back to the flat, had some tuna mayo & iceberg lettuce rolls for lunch and then went back online and spoke to my nearest & dearest on Google Video chat. I had a lovely chat with Dave, and Emma, Kate and I opened our presents to each other on video. I saw our birthday cake being lit and heard 'Happy Birthday' sung to us. Mum had sent me an indoor sparkler so I lit that while on video as well. It was lovely to see everyone!

Friday night isn't the best time for us teachers to go out here because on any given week the majority of us have to be at work by 8 am on Saturday morning for class, so I saved my Guayaquil birthday celebration for the next day.

1/2/1/14

In the evening we went to Sushi Isao, the same sushi place we went to last October, because I remembered it being very good. Apparently it's the only sushi place in Guayaquil that is actually owned by a Japanese and has Japanese chefs - there are quite a few sushi places here but they aren't as genuine.

IMG_9962.JPG

There were about 10 of us there. One or two ordered individual things but most of us shared two 'boats', which have 54 pieces of sushi in each one. Last time they did actually come in a boat-shaped dish but this time they were only on normal platters. The others refused to let me pay for my share of the bill!

IMG_9968.JPG

Before that we had a drink or two at a bar nearby called 'El Manantial'. We sat at a long table outside the front and the waiters brought us drinks. I think I've mentioned this before, but in Guayaquil people don't seem to go up to the bar to order drinks at all; ordering through waiters seems to be the done thing. I had an 'Alexander' cocktail which in Ecuador is made with brandy, Creme de Cacao, condensed milk and crushed ice, but elsewhere is usually made with gin instead of brandy and cream instead of condensed milk. They love their condensed milk here.

After the sushi we went to a sports bar. Most of the others shared something I've also seen in Brazil - a great tall container filled with beer that has a tap for you to self-dispense beer from. I had two caipirinha cocktails because they had a 2-for-1 offer. I thought something fruity would be a nice contrast to the sushi and the Alexander cocktail I'd had before.

Some people went home after that but five of us carried on back to El Manantial where we had a last drink. I had another - you guessed it - Alexander cocktail. When the place closed at 2 am I went back by taxi.

Posted by 3Traveller 03:54 Archived in Ecuador Tagged night sisters dave cocktails mum ecuador guayaquil english_teaching sushi_isao birthday_celebration Comments (0)

Independence of Cuenca Day

Cuenca


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

I spent a better night this time because I took better precautions against the cold; tucking in my t-shirt, wearing my coat instead of using it as a pillow, tucking the blanket into the hammock more, etc. I still woke up once or twice but I went back to sleep again quicker and I slept in a bit longer. Once I’d woken up properly a church bell started clanging nearby. Like the day before, I had two guaguas de pan for breakfast in my hammock whilst reading my guidebook. Filled with the joys of life, I then headed into town (only five minutes’ walk from the hostel).

I didn’t have any particular plans for today apart from just to wander round and take in whatever happened. I walked round the main square first for a look round. Some banners of the city’s coat of arms, made of flowers stuck onto board, were standing in front of the statue/monument in the middle. These had clearly been put up in celebration of the Independence of Cuenca.

IMG_9251.JPG

The other things in the square, however, I recognised from when I was here in August - the man hiring out his massive cuddly-looking St Bernard dog for photos with members of the public (I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog that big before); the leather-saddled model horses for children to sit on and have their photos taken, complete with leather cowboy hat; the itinerant icecream sellers with coolbags filled with ice lollies. The latter are also a common sight in Guayaquil.

IMG_9255.JPG

When I first entered the square I’d seen lots of people stream out of the cathedral doors. After I finished my walk round I went inside. Another service had clearly begun almost straight away, for it was in full swing when I entered. I heard the voice of the priest booming from the loudspeakers attached to the columns on both sides of the nave.

IMG_9307.JPGIMG_9287.JPGIMG_9289.JPGIMG_9291.JPG

Then I noticed the candles burning in front of the shrines along each wall, and suddenly remembered that a while ago Dad had asked me to light a candle for him. So I walked along until I got to the shrine at the far end, before looking around for somewhere I could get a candle. I couldn’t see any anywhere, but then I noticed a doorway with people going in and out, so I went in too. I didn’t know the Spanish word for candle but thought I could mime lighting one and hopefully they’d understand. There was a nun standing behind some railings, but just as I waited to speak to her I noticed an open doorway next to me with stairs leading down to the crypt. A notice said it was $1 to enter, but the nun just waved me down, so I guessed that the fee is waived on Sundays or holidays.

As always when I see the word ‘crypt’ I thought of the little rhyme that begins ‘The cat crept into the crypt...’! I had that in my mind most of the time I was in there. I put my dollar into the ‘crypt maintenance’ box, seeing as the nun hadn’t asked for it upstairs, before walking round. It was a small crypt; first there was a shrine with chairs in front of it, then a corridor flanked with grave compartments and a couple of statues of angels. There was a much small shrine at the end of it.

IMG_9258.JPGIMG_9262.JPG

Once I’d walked back upstairs I saw to my consternation that the door to the main part of the cathedral was locked. I knocked on it, but just as I did that the nun appeared from behind me and opened it. She asked me something in Spanish – I guessed from the context and the word gente (‘people’) that she was asking if there was anybody else still in the crypt, so I said no. For most of the time I’d been the only person there.

Relieved, I stepped back out into the main part of the cathedral. I noticed a man come up, arrange and light three red candles that he’d had in his hand, and then I suddenly remembered the stalls directly in front of the cathedral that sell candles and other religious paraphernalia. That’s where I was supposed to get hold of candles, not from inside the cathedral! So I went outside and bought a white one, before coming back in and lighting it.

IMG_9272.JPG

Then I hung around to see how the rest of the service panned out. There were lots of other people walking around the back and sides; some of these were taking photos, so I didn’t stand out too much when I did the same. I didn’t understand a lot of what was being said, apart from things like 'todos los santos' and 'Madre de Dios'. There was a communion, with a gold cup and bowl taken from within a gold box in the altar, but only the front couple of sections of the congregation went up for it.

IMG_9299.JPG

Then, during a hymn/piece of recorded music, the collectors went round with bags on the end of sticks. Soon after this about two thirds of the congregation left, so I assumed that was the end of the service, but then a nun started speaking into the microphone, so I’m not actually sure.

I left too, because I suddenly realised I’d spent ages in the cathedral and I wanted to see if anything was going on outside. There was, as it turned out; a protest. There were demonstrators crowded outside one of the official buildings at the side of the square. It was quite small, and peaceful, but was quite loud. They appeared to be disaffected immigrants. One row of soldiers and another of police separated them from the entrance to the
building.

IMG_9320.JPGIMG_9314.JPGIMG_9321.JPG

I hung around for a while but then moved on to have another look at the handicrafts market that ran along one side of the cathedral. I watched the glassblower for a while but didn’t buy anything. I had another quick look round the market where I'd bought the jumper yesterday, but didn't buy anything there either. I did however see some people crowded round a stand, so I went to investigate. It turned out to be a salesman with plastic models of parts of the human body around him, and bags of leaves and roots and bottles of what I assumed were ointments, salves or medicine. The guy was speaking into a microphone and the crowd was lapping it up, reaching forward to take the bottles he occasionally proffered.

IMG_9332.JPGIMG_9334.JPG

Then I bought a bag of fresh pineapple chunks from a pineapple and coconut stand and sat down on a stone bench at the flower market opposite to eat them. As I sat there I pondered what to do next. I thought about going online or just back to the hostel for a rest, but then I remembered the river Tomebamba and decided to go for a walk along it. On my way there I stopped at an almuerzo (set lunch) café and had a plate of seco de pollo and bottle of Pepsi for $2.50.

Once I got to the river I congratulated myself on my decision to come, because I saw a whole series of market stalls, under gazebos and open-sided tents, stretching along both sides of quite a decent-sized stretch of the river. As well as the stalls, there were many more people with their wares on the ground in front of them. The market was the ‘Festival de Artesanías de América’, and there were stalls from Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Suriname and Paraguay.

IMG_9351.JPGIMG_9340.JPGIMG_9352.JPG

I bought myself a $1 llama keyring made from twisted reeds/straw, and then had a look inside a tent run by the Asociación de Mujeres de Huaoranis, the women of the Huaorani, a Kichwa speaking tribe who live in the Amazon rainforest. Kichwa is a native language quite widely spoken in the highlands and the rainforest in Ecuador. As well as necklaces and string bags and other things, there were some photos of some tribespeople, which appeared to be just as exotic to the middle classes of Cuenca as they were to me, for they crowded round taking photos of the photos with their phones.

Then I realised I needed to get some cash out, so I walked back into town. On the way back from the cash machine I noticed that there was a little art exhibition on inside the Superior Court of Justice building, so I went inside. The interior was beautiful, full of marble and very light because of the glass roof. I was really taken with one picture of fish, but it was $600 so I wasn't tempted to buy!

IMG_9350.JPGIMG_9347.JPG

On my return to the market I wandered around both sides of the river. I made two purchases but won't say what they were here... I also bought myself a stick of candy floss for 50 centavos. I walked round the park next to the river, too; rather surreally it was dotted with giant plastic models of dinosaurs. There were also a couple of club-jugglers.

After I left the river I went for another walk round town. At one side of the flower market a woman had set up a stand with an industrial-sized saucepan/tureen on it.

IMG_9361.JPG

Just as I passed by it I did a double take because I overheard her say to a customer 'Colada Morada' ! Colada Morada is the drink traditionally drunk in Ecuador with guaguas de pan on 1st/2nd November. I simply had to buy some! It's purple, made from black corn flour, blackberries, other fruits (these vary, but mine had some little chunks of pineapple), sugar and spices - you can get it hot or cold, but mine was hot. It was delicious!

IMG_9360.JPG

A couple of hours' rest back at the hostel followed before I went out again for dinner. I had shrimp ceviche, yuca chips and some Fanta at this place;

IMG_9379.JPG

Then I walked round looking at the fronts of the churches, which are lit up on weekend nights. I took one or two photos before going to bed.

IMG_9365.JPGIMG_9376.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 09:59 Archived in Ecuador Tagged bridges art night market spanish cathedral hostel dad andes ecuador cuenca unesco_world_heritage_site ecuadorian_cuisine traditional_customs colonial_church Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 12) Previous « Page 1 [2] 3 » Next