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Another Adventure

Living the Indigenous Life (not really)

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 31 December 2013 | Views [451]

I was so sad to be leaving Quito this morning. It was such a vibrant city with so much to see! We had breakfast in the seventh floor of our hotel and it looked like an incredible meal. Unfortunately, I pulled a Kaitlyn and woke up a little too late to fully enjoy it. After taking some pictures of the skyline and appreciating the view, we hopped on the bus once again to travel. We were on our way to Salasaca, one of the four indigenous communities in Ecuador. Before we arrived, however, we took a quick stop at a mansion turned hostel. No, not hostile, but it was turned into a bread and breakfast type hotel. As we drove up through the grove of huge trees, I had flashback to Beauty and the Beast. It was like the scene where Bell was chasing after her father in the dark stormy night and rides up to Beast’s mansion at the end of the wood. Minus the stormy part, this place was it. I’m not kidding. It reminded me of something out of a book. Anyway, we were able to go inside Hosteria la Cienega to check it out. It was a mansion just as you would expect: grand rooms, a beautiful courtyard with multiple fountains, a private chapel, and people in white jackets to serve us tea and coffee. It was a very cool experience. To make it better, a band showed up half way through our coffee to play us a little traditional Ecuadorian music. It was great.

After we left the Hosteria, we continued to Salasaca. We soon pulled up to a house on the side of the street and the bus drive told us we had arrived. To be honest, I was a little hesitant, as this house looked a little sketchy. But as we walked around the back, two kids popped up in front of us repeatedly saying “Hola, hola, hola…” so that they greeted all of us. The little boy looked like he’d been playing hard all day and the girl was pushing her new puppy around in a baby stroller. It reminded me so much of my sister Sarah toddling around our house with her babies. It’s probably one of the most adorable sites anyone can see. After we were greeted, we got another weaving demonstration. The man said that the blankets he weaved sold for around $600 dollars! It was really amazing how he made them. First, the women made the thread out of sheep’s wool. Then, they dyed the wool with the blood of a native bug. Finally, the man demonstrating weaved it into a blanket. He said that the process could take months and even years, even though he had been doing it since he was eight years old and had the patterns memorized. The people used all natural things and really put an emphasis on preserving “mother earth”. It’s so much different than we’re used to, but very interesting and quite thought provoking. After they fed us a delicious Ecuadorian meal, the family hosting us brought us outside to show us how to dance. The dance they taught us is often done at parties thrown after the election of a new governor. They showed us this one in particular because the election is in two days. It was a simple dance that was very easy to participate in, very much like the Ecuadorian culture in general. 

Finally, we made our way to Riobamaba where we are spending the night. Hosteria Bambú is a quaint little hotel with a very homey and resort-like feel. We had our first class session and got to discuss everything we’ve seen so far. It was fun to get together and actually talk about our experiences in depth. Then dinner was served and we were lucky enough to get our third traditional meal of the day. Although my stomach is feeling a little queasy, the food was worth the risk. It was all natural and very good. I have to say, my favorite was the coffee cake for dessert. SO GOOD. Tomorrow I look forward to meeting my host family and getting acquainted with Cuenca where we’ll be spending our next two weeks. What an adventure it’s been so far!

Tags: beauty and the beast, hosteria, traditional food

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