|Pichincha / Imbabura|
|Dispatch 4 - San Clemente|
|Morning seems to be a popular time to run around the lake on the south side of Cayambe. Even with all the activity nearby the llamas are their usual nonplus selves.|
|The place to find an early breakfast
in Cayambe is along the highway. This cafeteria (left) had fresh bake
goods, soft local cheese, and fresh brewed, organic, fair trade, Ecuadorian
coffee (right), among other choices.
|If you wait a little longer the small restaurants in the town center start to open. You can see the day's menu posted at the entrance (right). Enjoy the meal.|
|Right: Getting a little bit above the
floor of the valley you can start to realize how much horticulture there is
in the area. All the long white buildings are hot houses.
Horticulture replace the areas dominate dairy industry in the 1990. The dominate
flower for a decade was the rose, but they are now starting to diversify.
Right: Agricultural land around Ayora.
|A large part of what makes Ecuador beautify and interesting cycling is the topography. We don't always get to wind along the valley floors. Sometimes we get caught with a climb -- or walk -- better to appreciate the views.|
|Left: After decades of promises the water system is being installed (2005). This is a pipe storage yard for the water development project. It is labor intensive and has community involvement -- members of the community carries the steel pipes into place for a water project (right).|
|Right: A corner of the village of Olmedo,
the end of the asphalt road for the day, with the cemetery on the far hillside.
|The roads around Olmedo are not too hilly. Mt Cayambe, Ecuador's third highest peak, is in the background (right). The landscape is more spectacular in clear weather, but the overcast made very comfortable cycling conditions.|
|Protesters (2005) are moving a log across the road to block traffic (except bicycle). Blocking the highways and roads is a favorite form of protest the Andean groups in Ecuador and it has lead to the fall of several governments. The irony of the water project ten kilometers away was this protest was about water development. The local activist explained to us that they were blocking the road because they are angry that after ten years of promises they still didn't have safe drinking water.|
|These two drivers confer about the blockade (2005). The bus had taken the back road instead of the Pan-American highway to try and avoid the blockade there -- an unsuccessful strategy. The back road was blocked as well. Dozens of cars, some blocked for hours, were lined us when the logs were removed about sunset. Bicycles are exempt!|
|Left: A boy rolls a hoop -- a game that
can be seen in Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Right: Girl standing by the road with a parakeet on her shoulder.
|It is interesting that even in rural areas there is an attempt to get an environmental message out with a series of signs (right) and to encourage recycling (left).|
|The town center of Zuleta. About
every third shop sells local embroidery.
Right: A local bicyclist. Always nice to see.
|The entrance to Hacienda Zuleta, purported to be one of the fanciest in Ecuador. Non-paying guest aren't welcome to even look around. Bicycles are a popular mode of transport for workers coming and going from the hacienda.|
|Left: Women doing embroidery. Zuleta
is known for its Caranqui style embroidery (very full on the shoulders and yolk.
Right: Man doing carpentry. It takes him three days to make a door. He is paid $30 for the door.
|Family threshing grain.|
|Field of uncut grain.|
|Left: Dairy cattle hacienda on the
outskirts of Zuleta.. This hacienda was more welcoming than the big boys
down the road.
Right: Cuyes (guinea pigs) hacienda in the village.
|Non-motorized high occupancy transportation can't get much cuter. The boy and three girls were casually making their way down the road like they do it everyday -- they just might.|
There isn't a better value in Ecuador than a meal at Casa Jose Mario. Jose Mario is a chief at Hacienda Zuleta -- one of the highest priced lodges in Ecuador. He brings the same skills to Casa Jose Mario for a tenth the price. Carmen, his wife, puts out a superb meal by herself, as well. Advanced reservations are needed.
|Volcano Imbubara at a moment when the clouds cleared away.|
|Left: A stone road. Ecuador use
these a lot for secondary roads. Ask to a motorist and the will say the
road is great. Ask a cyclist and they will talk to you after they find the
filling that was shaken loose. The secret is to find the smooth part along
the edge -- which don't always exist.
Right: Passing a hacienda.
|The short cut from La Esperanza to San Clemente takes you through beautiful farmland. Some of the most fun cycling of the route. It is that much nicer because it is not stone road.|
|Left: After many miles of descent and relatively
level, the last few hundred meters up to Pukyu Pamba seems
humiliatingly steep. Pukyu Pamba is a small-scale community tourism
Right: Pukyu Pamba is perched on the side of Mt Imbubara, with a view to Ibarra in the valley below.
|Manuel, the manager of Pukyu Pamba, leads a field lecture of ethno-botany.
He was sharing knowledge handed down from his parents on the practical and
medicinal uses for a variety of local plants.
|Manuel's daughter prepares some local herbs for use.|
|Harvesting and drying maize (corn).|
|An orchard of tomato des arbor, which is one many delicious fruit juices that is part of Ecuador's healthy traditional cuisine.|
|Mola (black berries) is one of Ecuador's most popular flavors. It is used in juice, ice cream and fruit jellies.|
|The live stock at Pukyu Pamba included Llamas and Cuyes (guinea pigs).|
|Most of the food served at Pukyu Pamba come from the farm or nearby farms. Dinner was bean soup with potatoes and cheese, tilapia, cheese empanadas, tomato and bell pepper salad, fruit salad, fresh juice.|
|Left: making bread in the morning.
Right: the daughter does homework, complete with CD player and headphones.
|Some evenings it is possible to arrange for a private house concert. The music was unique Caranqui music, related to but distinctly different than other Andean music. We were told that it is not available a CD is not yet available.|
|Our hosts with the family dog, at Pukyu Pamba.|
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