Ecuador Mainland Top Five [Crazy Things]:
1. The Ecuadorian national delicacy is guinea pig ("cuy" en espanol). Young Whan ate it. i even tried a bite. It came deep fried with its head, eyeballs and little contracted claws intact. Yes, we ate a rodent.
2. Banos: the whole entire town of Banos came to the Le Virgen Hot Springs (heated by volcanic activity)! It was a whole-town hot tub fiesta! i have never been to a hot springs pool where there were more bodies than water, as many children as adults. Even toddlers were soaking in the hot hot water. i tried not to think about pool-pee.
3. Otovalo: despite the mounds and mounds of yarn at the Otovalo market, i could not find a single vendor who sold natural wool (sheep, alpaca, llama) instead of synthetic acrylics. In a country that prides itself with textiles, this made me sad! Finally on the way to the bus station, i spotted a sheep's wool warehouse - a real wool wonderland. Needless to say, i had a bit of a shopping spree, buying yarn by the kilo.
4. Tourism: everywhere we went, 75% of the tourists seemed to come not just from the US but specifically from California. Man, quit following us around, people...
5. Politics: the new Ecuadorian president Correa is a progressive economist, elected with the blessings of the indigenous community and pissing off the wealthy community - we naturally became fans by default. Apparently he is proposing a project to avoid destroying biodiverse rainforest and indigenous land for petroleum drilling and development. He is asking the global community as well as Ecuadorians to donate enough (roughly $350 million a year) to make up for some of the losses Ecuador will take for not selling the petrol. Consider Gore's proposals to do carbon-swapping. Interesting...
Check out our photos from Ecuador Mainland! Click on the link to the Picasa album directly below or watch the mini slide-show from this site further below:
photos to share