Pichincha / Imbabura  
  Ibike Ecuador  
     

Dispatch 4 - San Clemente
  Cayambe, park and lake 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. Llamas relaxing
  Cayambe cafeteria / restaurant

Cayambe cafeteria / restaurant

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.

 

Organic, fair trade, Ecuadorian
  Cayambe street scene small restaurant in CayambeIf 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. small restaurant in Cayambe
Ayora, cycling across stone bridge

Ayora, cycling towards Olmeda

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.

Agricultural land around Ayora

Agricultural land around Ayora

Ayora, cycling towards Olmeda 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. Rural Ecuador
pipe storage yard for a water project 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). Carrying pipe for water project
Olmedo countryside

Olmedo countryside

Right: A corner of the village of Olmedo, the end of the asphalt road for the day, with the cemetery on the far hillside.
 

Olmedo, cycling in the countrysideRight: Recess time at the elementary school in Olmedo.

village of Olmedo

elementary school in Olmedo.

  near Olmedo 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. bicycling in Ecuador
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.  Blocking the highway
  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! two drivers confer about the blockade
  A boy rolls a hoop 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.

Girl standing by the road with a parakeet
  Conservation message Conservation messageIt 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). Bins for separating garbage for recycling
  town center of Zuleta The town center of Zuleta.  About every third shop sells local embroidery.

Right: A local bicyclist. Always nice to see.

local bicyclist, Zuleta
  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. entrance to Hacienda Zuleta
  Women doing embroidery 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.

Man doing carpentry
  Family threshing grain Family threshing grain. Family threshing grain
  Field of uncut grain Field of uncut grain. Field of uncut grain
  Dairy cattle hacienda 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.

Cui (guinea pig) hacienda
  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. Non-motorized high occupancy transportation 
 

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.

Typical menu:

  • Lunch: Potato soup, trout, salad, rice, fresh juice.
  • Dinner: Asparagus soup, chicken, omelet, salad, rice, fresh juice, fried banana.
  Volcano Imbubara at a moment when the clouds cleared away. Volcano Imbubara
  Bicycling around La Esperanza

A stone road

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.

A stone road and hacienda

hacienda near Zuleta

  bicycling through farmland, Ecuador 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. bicycling through farmland, Ecuador
  approach to Pukyu Pamba 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 project,

Right: Pukyu Pamba is perched on the side of Mt Imbubara, with a view to Ibarra in the valley below.

view from Pukyu Pamba
  field lecture of ethno-botany 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.

 

field lecture of ethno-botany field lecture of ethno-botany
  preparing some local herbs Manuel's daughter prepares some local herbs for use.  
  harvesting corn Harvesting and drying maize (corn). drying corn
  tomato des arbor (passion fruit) An orchard of tomato des arbor, which is one many delicious fruit juices that is part of Ecuador's healthy traditional cuisine. tomato des arbor (passion fruit)
  Mola (black berries) Mola (black berries) is one of Ecuador's most popular flavors.  It is used in juice, ice cream and fruit jellies. Mola (black berries)
  Llamas The live stock at Pukyu Pamba included Llamas and Cuyes (guinea pigs). Cui (guinea pigs)
  Meal at Pukyu Pamba 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.
  making bread in the morning Left: making bread in the morning.

Right: the daughter does homework, complete with CD player and headphones.

Student doing homework
  Caraqui music ensemble 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. Caraqui music ensemble
  hosts with the family dog Our hosts with the family dog, at Pukyu Pamba.
 

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