Archives for posts with tag: Ecuador

Otavalo, Ecuador

Traveling Real doesn’t get much more real when you find yourself in any indigenous town, but especially in Otavalo. Surrounded by incredible scenery, it’s famous for its Saturday market where travelers can buy a bunch of colorful artesanía ( goods made by hand ) and enjoy local-watching ( people come from nearby towns, like Cotacachi, to sell their goods ) because many of the area’s inhabitants dress and wear their hair in a distinct way. Fortunately I traveled to Otavalo during a holiday so there was an air of festivity in the air.

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Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador has a wonderful historic center, Bro. There’s just so much history, Man. It’s like getting into a plutonium-powered DeLorian and ending up in 1500’s Ecuador, Dude. I was fortunate enough to be there during some kind of cultural weekend because there was lots of live music and free admission to museums and stuff. I also hung out with my friend again who lives in Tena and we had a pretty decent Thai meal in Quito’s hip neighborhood. She also shopped around this artesania market and it was there I first became aware of the Spanish phrase, “A la orden.” It loosely translates to, “Will you marry me?” Why the locals trying to sell me their beautiful handicrafts continuously propose?? Beats the heck out of me –but hey that’s why we travel! “And that’s all I got to say about Quito” ( Forrest Gump accent).

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P.S. “A la orden” actually means more like “at your service.” 🙂

P.P.S. I take back the Back To The Future reference because really Quito didn’t exactly metaphorically transport me to a different time and place. I realize this even more clearly because I happen to be in Cartagena, Colombia (my final stop on this trip) and parts of that city truly transport the traveler to a different era! But historic Quito is still an incredible place to visit nonetheless.

Tena, Ecuador

The Amazon jungle / rainforest is immersing one’s self in a rugged, adventurous way that makes the experience very memorable.

That week I hung out with an American friend working in Tena, spent a day on the wildest river rafting trip I’ve been on, went on jungle walks and explored other nearby jungle towns.

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Baños, Ecuador

Baños is a cool town. It’s surrounded by incredible mountain scenery and an active volcano nearby. I became friendly with some people working at a popular restaurant. One of them is a tour guide (he’s in the pic making an espresso drink) and coincidentally I ran into him in the next town I visited, Tena, with a group of travelers, which I will talk about in the next post.

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Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador, like cities I visited in Peru, feels like a living museum. Just wandering its streets one can feel the past in all it’s grandeur.

My traveling real moment occurred one evening while I was looking for a place to eat. A crowd of people walked into a theater where there was to be a performance. I followed the crowd and found a seat. It turned out to be a musical performance by kids who sang (what I imagined to be Ecuadorian songs), and played instruments beautifully. Watching the performance, likely the only foreigner in the theater, I realized again how these unique moments really make traveling memorable.

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Vilcabamba, surrounded by a green valley, was a perfect first stop after crossing over from Peru. The presence of banana trees and coffee plants (the pic with what looks to be fruit on the ground are actually coffee beans), was a sure sign I’m now in Ecuador. I chilled for a few days hiking in a nature reserve, dozing on a hammock and relaxing by a pool…and I stared at double rainbows and butterflies and contemplated what it all means.

Vilcabamba, Ecuador

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