Sunday, January 24, 2010

Into Cuenca and out of Cuenca

we´re in Cuenca and have just completed a week of Spanish classes where I got some much needed review of my verbs etc. and Hayley was introduced to the past tense! We paid for a week each of spanish classes with a private teacher! Well worth it. The teachers here are quite good and the hourly rates are very cheap. Unheard-of really for the skills of the teachers. We are having a really good time here. The city is a beautiful and colonial surrounded by mountains and up in the high andes. It´s quite a bit safer and more laid back than Quito and a little warmer. There are lots of Americans and foreigners here. Indeed they seem to almost own the town. Despite this, the town retains own identity and people are friendly. The food is very good here by our standards. There is international cuisine and very good traditional Ecuadorian food. I did try some roast guinea pig which was not-surprisingly delicious with a little hot salsa. It resembles rabhit, in flavor. There are also yogurt stands all over the place where you can buy uh, yogurt and fruit blended with yogurt and giant goblets of fresh tropical fruit drenched in yogurt. In the mornings we´ve been going to this cafe that sells fresh fruit and yogurt and pancakes. We buy an order of each and top the pancakes with the fruit and yogurt. Yogurt! Woah, it´s really good. Yesterday we went to a public market that was epic in it´s selection of foo0dstuffs; a testimony to the wealth of the countries breadbasket/s. It was multi-floored and in addition to the giant meat and fruit/veggie sections there was an ample fresh fish section and an isle dedicated entirely to fresh herbs and medicinal flowers and roots etc... Here a Shamana will cleanse your soul with a little ceremony that culminates with breaking an egg and reading the yolks, etc. to see if bad energy has entered your soul. I got a little scared and kept my distance. I´m not sure if I avoid this kind of thing (I am also kind of creeped out by Tarot - I keep distance between me and that guy outside Tio Pepe´s on Commercial Drive in Vancouver) because I don´t believe in it or because I don´t want to believe in it, but it was pretty interesting too see. Uh, we are leaving tomorrow for the upper top coast of Peru, so it´s with a little sadness that we leave Ecuador behind but it{s been an amazing trip so far. Ecuador was a really big surprise in many ways. It´s much more diverse and interesting than I thought it would be and the people as I have said before are quite friendly. So far this little city has been the highlight of our trip here.

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