Pichincha / Imbabura  
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Dispatch 5 - Otavalo
  Women doing embroidery Women enjoy the fresh air, a conversation, and doing embroidery. (San Clemente) Women doing embroidery
As their mothers embroidered on the hillside these young boys came over to investigate the bicycles and pose for a picture. Two young boys, San Clemente, Ecuador
Inca sun temple Right: a replica of an Inca sun temple.  Under the temple is a exhibit space that was intended to be a museum, but since in was finished in 2000 it has never opened.

Left: Famous Inca chief Atahualpa, who defeated the historically peaceful Caranqui about 70 years before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in 1534 and defeated the Inca and executed Atahualpa.

Inca chief Atahualpa
Church, Caranqui Left: Notable about this church is the neon message about the altar. (Caranqui)

Right: An alter in a church just north of the center of the city.

Church, Ibarra
  Streets scenes from Ibarra Streets scenes from Ibarra.  Whether you look north, south, east or west, all the streets seem to end in mountainside filled with plots of colorful farms. Streets scenes from Ibarra
  Church Ibarra Ibarra is a town of elegant churches.  This square had a church at each end. Church Ibarra
  Nugget and sweets in Ibarra Left: Ibarra is known for it nugget, fruit jellies and other confectionaries, including Rosalita's ice cream.

Right: grain seller in the main Ibarra market.

Market, Ibarra
  mural on reproductive self-determination On a wall next to city hall is this mural on reproductive self-determination -- it seemed much bolder and more progressive than one would see in a similar setting in North America. mural on reproductive self-determination
    Lake Yahuarcocha is famous because it is said that when the Incas defeated and massacred the pre-Inca Caranqui (1470's) then dumped the bodies in the lake. History records it as being "the color of blood." Lake Fahuarcocha
    Death revisited the lake with a massive fish kill in June 2005.  The lake shore was lined with tens of thousands of dead fish.  The newspaper reported that the experts don't know the reason.  The lake is no longer red but green -- thick with algae -- so perhaps excessive agricultural chemical flowed into the lake from the surrounding farm land, poisoning the lake. Other speculation that climate change has warmed the lake, but it is a very deep lake which usually makes it hard for more than the surface water to change temperature very much. fish kill, Lake Fahuarcocha, Ibarra
  Lake Fahuarcocha Despite the current ecological problem the lake is still popular for boat tours, picnics and outdoor recreation. vendor on bicycle, Lake Fahuarcocha
  Suburban Ibarra Left: This suburb-style shopping center on the edge of Ibarra, with its KFC and other chain stores could be in anyone of dozens of countries.

Right: A typical bus seen on rural dirt roads bring people into the city to shop and socialize.

    Young equestrian enjoys a ride in the crisp morning air, San Antonio de Ibarra. boy riding horse
  Volcano Cotacachi Left: Volcano Cotacachi from near San Antonio de Ibarra.  There are so many nice views of the mountain you feel compelled to keep taking pictures of it to see if you can capture its grandeur.

Right: Mt Cotacachi from near Otavalo.

Volcano Cotacachi
  family file out of church Left: As the family filed out of church on Sunday morning the ice cream seller was strategically stationed at the bottom of the stairs.  With their parents full of the feelings of giving, a lot of children got a treat.

Right: Church in Santa Isabel.

Church in Santa Isabel
    Right: More enticements to help children separate their parents from their money. This amusement rides were waiting for the crowds to return for the afternoon Inty Raymi festivities. amusement rides, Santa Isabel
  Volcano Cotacachi Left: The eastside of Volcano Cotacachi, as seen from near Santa Isabel.

Right: One of the world's most picturesque settings for a football (soccer) field.  Mt Cotacachi is in the background.

football (soccer) field and Volcano Cotacachi
  San Juan de Iluman Left: Main street in San Juan de Iluman.

Right: While the main subject seems to be the corn drying in the street, the real story is the girl is picking up corn scattered when he bounced his ball in the corn.  As she collected the corn, he intentionally bounced the ball again, scattering more corn.

drying corn on the street
  Pre-Inca sundial at Peguche Left: Pre-Inca sundial at Peguche.

Right: Peguche Falls.

Peguche Falls
  Inty Raymi festival in the main square of Peguche. Inty Raymi festival in the main square of Peguche. Inty Raymi festival in the main square of Peguche.

This festival was celebrated by the Incas as the Festival of the Sun where the God of the Sun Wiracocha is honored. The Inti Raymi symbolizes the eternal consecration of marriage between the Sun and his sons, the human beings. Inti Raymi was the most important festival of the Inca empire Tawantinsuyu which based its religion on the cult of the Sun. On the 24th of June they celebrate the winter solstice, in other words the beginning of the Sun's New Year. Scientifically the solstice begins on the 21st of June, but according to the Pacha Unachaq, a sundial used by the Incas, the sun stays some days in the same place before rising on the 24th of June. This day was proclaimed by the high priest as the New Year: Inti Raymi!   The Spanish priest tried to usurp the festival by renaming it the Festival of San Pedro and San Juan, but they didn't really change the character of the festival and it has nothing to do with the church other than it is celebrated in the main square of the village which is in front of the church.

Inty Raymi festival in the main square of Peguche.  Inty Raymi festival in the main square of Peguche. Inty Raymi festival in the main square of Peguche. Inty Raymi festival in the main square of Peguche.
Sculpture at the entrance to Otavalo Sculpture at the entrance to Otavalo, off the Pan American highway, taken in 2005 (left) and 2008 (right).  Note the number of new buildings in the background.  
  Bike lane in Otavalo Left: Bike lane in Otavalo. There is much more bicycling in Otavalo than any other town we had visited so fare.Cargo Bike in Otavalo

Right: One of at least a half dozen bike shops in the central business district of Otavalo.

Bike shop in Otavalo
  Cargo Bike in Otavalo Cargo Bike in OtavaloCargo Bike in OtavaloA few examples of three-wheeled mass transit in Otavalo. Cargo Bike in Otavalo
Waiting for the local bus. Waiting for the local bus. Otavalo street sceen
Exterior and interior of the St Luis Church on the main square, Otavalo.  It is neo-classical, with paintings of saints, and stain glass windows.
City Hall on the main square in Otavalo Otavalo municipality - city hallOtavalo municipality -- city hall -- on the main square. Otavalo municipality - city hall
San Francisco Church in Otavalo San Francisco Church in OtavaloSan Francisco Church in Otavalo is noted for its woodwork and statues. San Francisco Church in Otavalo
Santa Domingo Church, Otavalo Otavalo, del Jordan Church at nightDel Jordan Church, Otavalo; day and night, exterior and interior.

 

Otavalo, del Jordan Church interior
Tourist deli, Otavalo You know you are in a tourist market when the shops advertise: "Mexican food", "pizza", "vegetarian platters" and "bike rentals."

Musicians playing traditional Andean music regularly can be in several Otavalo restaurant in the evening (right).

 

 Musicians playing traditional Andean music

   

Volcano Imbubara from Otavalo's main square at dusk.

Volcano Imbubara at dusk from Otavalo
  Inty Raymi, Otavalo Inty Raymi, Otavalo Inty Raymi, Otavalo

 

Festival, festival, festival!

At times it didn't seem to matter what street you looked down, there was a group playing music and dancing.

Inty Raymi, Otavalo
  Inty Raymi, Otavalo Inty Raymi, OtavaloMany of the groups are associated by family or neighborhood. Inty Raymi, Otavalo
  Inty Raymi, Otavalo Inty Raymi, OtavaloThe mask is a depiction of Inty Raymi. Inty Raymi, Otavalo
 

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