Day 2 "Acclimatization"

  • Acclimatization:  the process of an organism adjusting to change in its environment, allowing it to survive changes in temperature, water and food availability

    Today we headed North along the Pan American Highway to Mamma, Pappa Volcanos, Crater Lake and Weaver's Village.  We did a lot of driving, which was fine.  With only 3 hours of sleep last night, it was nice to have an easy day.

    The highway was twisty, windy and full of excitement.  The double yellow line in the middle of the road is just a "suggestion".  People cross it all the time - accidents happen all the time and from what I can tell the police didn't seem to mind.

    Crossing the from one valley to the next was dramatic.  One moment you are in the relatively dry area adjacent to Quito, the next you are magically transported into the lush green rolling Andes near some amazing volcanos.

    Otavalo, has one of the oldest markets in Ecuador.  They sell just about everything a person living in the region could want.  Oftentimes - no money is exchanged they barter.  What do they barter?  Glad you asked Guinea Pigs.  They are a delicacy here.  Be sure to check out the video on it.

    Go to Google Map.  Between Otavalo, Hacienda Pisabo and Cotacachi is Cuicocha volcanic lake.  At almost 11,000 MSL hiking around it will take your breath away.  It was well worth it as the views were spectacular.  The rocks had yellow splotches on them reminding us that the volcano is still active.  The hike around it was amazing.  We saw these bright purple humming birds zooming around and doing their thing.  While I am not a birder, watching them was fascinating.

    Cotacahi is where Juan, our driver grew up as a lad.  He said it has changed tremendously under the guidance of their new mayor and tourism.  The streets are paved, the parks have play things for the kids and business, from what I could tell was thriving - almost.  Comprised mostly of mesesitos: formerly a lower class of people within Ecuadorian culture, I was told there are still pockets of segregation in the area.

    Be that as it may, the town welcomed us into their restaurant where we tried their wonderful delicacy - Cuy  watch the video - Eating Cuy

    Before we left the area we stopped in a weavers village.  Ever wonder how they make all those wonderful rugs?  They do it by hand.  It is amazing to watch.

    Final note for today - although right next to each other Ecuadorians and Peruvuans are not friendly to each other.  As recent as 1995 they fought a war in which Ecuador shrank - a great deal.  The Peruvians annexed a large chunk of land to the North.  Now they go back and forth over some other disputed land that contains Uranium. 

    Tomorrow hiking Cotapaxi, mountain biking and brain swelling.  We leave Quito for some high altitude hiking (we are not going to summit) and mountain biking.  We will spend the next night in Banos - the "gateway" town to the jungle.  Cannot wait