[Sarah] OhhhhhhhhhhhhhHT-a-va-lo!, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain… I couldn’t resist… ok, over to Ramesh…
[Ramesh] I’m typing this in a cafe in Cuenca listening to an Ecuadorian cover band belt out hits from the 80’s. From the way the crowd cheers every song, it appears that they love cheesy 80’s music just as much as we do. Just another in what I’m sure will be a a long series of surreal experiences on this trip.
It was nice to be in a big city like Quito where everyone was busy going about their business and didn’t really give us second looks (well not me anyway, Sarah gets looks pretty much everywhere). After a couple days in the city we took the bus to Otavalo which is known for its large market featuring indigenous crafts. Before the big Saturday market, we took a tour of some of the surrounding villages that specialize in different crafts.
For me, the highlight of the tour was a local waterfall, Las Cascadas de Peguche. Our guide Benicio explained that the cascada was a sacred site for the local indigenous people and that every year they have a big festival where thousands of people come and bathe in the falls (and the river) at midnight as a sort of spiritual renewal for the new year according to the indigenous calendar.
The other highlight of our stay in Otavalo was the afternoon we spent conversing with Enrique Cachiguango, a local radio host and indigenous activist who was referred to us by Kashyapa. He gave us a lecture on local history, some of which was doubly interesting because it tied in with a book about the Incas which we both had just finished reading. All in all it was a very enlightening day and a great way to wrap up our visit.