Published: August 10th 2007April 13th 2007
Guinea Pigs (Cuy)
They sure look yummy.
Cuy has been domesticated for food for 5,000 years in the Andean nations.
Ecuador Travels Baños, Hot Springs
On Easter Sunday I took the bus to Banos. I´ve never seen more hotels/hostals on each block in any town. Apparently, last week for Semana Santa each place was full of party-goers. Seems that the party-goers leave Quito for Easter week while we faithful hang around.
But with lots of people comes some savory characters. A few robberies have occured on the mountain trails, some with guns. A Norwegian woman in the place I´m staying was grabbed off her bicycle a few days ago. She was thrown into a car, eyes, mouth etc. taped and was forced to give them her pin numbers for her debit cards. She was held for 3 hours and must have been terrified especially since she was aware of another foreign woman last year who has never been found. Then the bike rental place wanted $400 to replace her bike which the muggers stole. She went to an arbritation court and they reduced her bicycle payment to $250 ( for a $100 bike). It took about a week for her to get her credit cards before she could resume her trip. Most women would've simply returned home,
Bar B Que
¨OK, who wants a hot-dog? who wants a hamburger? and who wants a...a Guinea Pig??¨
¨Would you like me to put mustard and relish on your guinea pig, sir?¨
I´m sure. The good news is the hospital care is free in Ecuador.
Another fellow in the hostel had a respiratory infection and went to a private doctor($15). The doctor wouldn´t prescribe anything until a swab from his throat was cultured. The lab report listed the offending organism, effective medications and resistant medications for $8. Then a presciption was written and filled ($2.80). All very professional.
In the area is Tungurahua (5,023 m) Volcanoe. It experienced
violent eruptions last year on July 14 and August 16. The eruption 8 months ago
was the most violent since the beginning of activity in 1999. Cuenca
You d think it would be a good road joining Banos and Cuenca (Equador´s 3rd largest city) but you d be mistaken. Each row of seats has a set of barf bags, thankgoodness. The poplular hostal , El Monasterio, that was recommended to me because it is in the guide books had dorm beds for $5 and a single room without a bathroom for $8. That was up 6 stories in a building with no elevator so aerobic exercise was included. OK, it had a kitchen you could use. I stayed there
For $5 (they use the US dollar in Ecuador) you can get a nice room with cable TV but I moved to a more popular hostal, not as nice and a little more money but more interesting long term people living there.
the first night because I got in late
For $5 (they use the US dollar in Ecuador) you can get a nice room with cable TV but I moved to a more popular hostal, not as nice and a little more money but more interesting long term people living ... [more]
at night. The problem with a shared bathroom is that young backpackers often refuse to believe that the sign, ¨throw toilet paper in basket, not the toilet¨ applies to their toilet paper so the toilet often gets plugged. A few blocks away the next morning I found a hotel with a large room, my own bathroom, hot water a TV (Spanish only) and a large private patio attached to my room for $6. A couple of days later I moved next door, a little more money but English-cable TV, a detrimental indulgence I should try to curb.
People in most of Latin America are very polite. Some countries when people get on a bus already full they´ll say ¨Buenos Dias¨to all the passengers already seated.
In restaurants people from a neighbouring table will as a rule say ¨Bien Provecho¨ (like Bon Apetite) to you
Street Shop in Banos
Anything a visitor wants is right here on the street
as they´re leaving. Vilcabamba, THE VALLEY OF LONGEVITY
Fifty years ago there were many centenarians living in this area.
The result was an influx of foreign scientists arriving to study the valley.
Japanese scientists determined a natural negative ion charged from the environment
from the evening electrical storms. This results in the air feeling so
crisp and clean. The pure air produces a ¨chelating¨effect on their bodies.
US scientists found a perfect mineral balance in the drinking water which
produces a ¨chelating¨effect.
French scientists felt the climate was responsible.
The Spanish group felt it was the concentration of minerals from the water into the yuca plant.
It seems the bones of these old people had bones of teenagers.
There´s no people over a hundred now that the road to the outside world is paved. Although there are a lot of old hippies in the area. But one of the oldest living residents was sitting at our table and when someone asked him how he planned to reach one hundred, he leaned over lowered his voice and said, cont´d
There are more photos below