June 10, 2006

Otovalo Market - Textile Heaven

Filed under: Ecuador 2006 — Lilli @ 7:24 pm

Fabiola Sanchez is differnet than other designer/weavers in Otovalo, and I found her work irresistible. After walking all over the market Friday and Saturday, and seeing many typical designs of oranges and red geometric patterns I went back to get the lobos. When I first saw them, an old man was working that booth. When I returned, I met the artist herself, Fabiola, who said her designs were unique in the market, something I had already decided. I loved the whimsy and the colors. Even if they aren´t typical , they are done by a local artist, and that´s enough for me.

Fabiola Sanchez, designer and weaver, Otovalo market

Fabiola says it takes her one day to make these lobos (wolves). She does it by hand on a loom, which is typical of the artisans in this region. Complicated designs can take many days.

Right next door to her was another designer/weaver - Segundo. I also bought some of his work, which also seemed different and better than most of what I saw.

Segundo, weaver, Otovalo market

I made it home with just $10 in my pocket, which means I did a lot of shopping. Lots. Here´s a few sights and scenes from my day in Otovalo, the most famous and largest market in Ecuador.

Street scene, Otovalo market

Mother and daughter, vendors in Otovalo Market

Bracelet vendor, Otovalo Market

The dairy section, Otovalo market

Lunch, Otovalo market


June 9, 2006

Ecuador Wins!

Filed under: Ecuador 2006 — Lilli @ 3:09 pm
Ecuador Wins!

The entire country of Ecuador shut down this afternoon to watch their first World Cup match. Officially. The government declared the country closed by 2 p.m.

I was traveling today, but the guys who worked at my hotel in Quito said not to worry, there is a TV on the bus. When we lost the signal of the Germany - Costa Rica game going going through the mountains, I thought the passengers were going to revolt, and it was mostly the women complaining.

Instead, of futbol, we watched a DVD of Bad Boys II with Will Smith. It´s part of the experience, I reminded myself while I tried to ignore it and enjoy the scenery. There´s nothing like watching a bunch of car crashes to get you in the mood to take a bus through winding, narrow mountain passes.

Watching the World Cup in Otovalo Market
World Cup fans in Otovalo Market

Here in Otovalo, where the locals are known for their business savvy, merchants minded their wares in the marketplace, but some managed to watch the game too. People in every shop and restaurant - and I mean every shop - were watching the game. I doubt you could find a TV in most retail outlets in the U.S.

World Cup celebration

Horns blaring, flags waving, faces painted, babies in Ecuador jerseys, even a dog dressed in a team T-shirt took to the streets. An hour later, the parade continues. Say what you will about futbol/soccer or sports in general, but I can think of no happy occasion that unites my country like this.

Parade in Otovalo

June 8, 2006

Quito, Day One

Filed under: Ecuador 2006 — Lilli @ 7:09 pm

My friend Martha has a rule about traveling with her husband Chris. She restricts him to one church a day. Quito has 86. I only have three weeks in Ecuador, and only a few days in Quito. I figured I´d better start with the most spectacular one.

La Compania facade

La Compania detail

La Compañia is Baroque on steroids or some kind of drug trip. You´re going to have to take my word for it because no photos are allowed inside. The guide who showed me around the church pointed out that some altars were an even more ornate style than Baroque. I´d tell you what it was, but I couldn´t quite understand him.

“On this altar there are some spaces and on this other one, all the spaces are filled in,” he said. I could see that one had more curlicues that stuck out even farther than the other one, but I couldn´t have imaged there was a millimeter in the entire church that was not filigreed or gold leafed. My guidebook said the church had 7 tons of gold, but the guide said that wasn´t true because the altars are wood covered in gold leaf, not solid gold. That brings it down to only 51 kilos of gold. Translated, that´s about 112 pounds, or what I´d weigh in my super-thin fantasy (as opposed to just my potentially achievable thin fantasy).

The church was built by the Jesuits, thus the name. In English, the Jesuits are the Society of Jesus. In Spanish that translates to La Compañia de Jesus. St. Ignatius, their founder, makes several appearances as does Santa Mariana, the first Ecuadoran saint. She is present in body and spirit, buried in the main altar in, what else, a gold casket. There are at least 8 side altars, each ornate enough to be the main altarpiece in any other church.

One downer is the huge painting of hell, in which the sinners each have a unique torture apparently designed for their specific sin, which is helpfully labeled. Not content with just the seven deadly signs, they added others like drunkeness and general dishonesty. The painting was supposed to scare people, the guide said.

No church worth its salt would be complete without a miracle, so of course La Compañia has one. Students, a teacher and a cook in the adjacent school saw a painting of La Virgen Delarosa (The Virgin of Sorrows) blinking in 1906. To celebrate the centenial of this miracle, the painting is touring the country but a copy sits in its place directly behind the altar.

Plenty of time to blog today as there was a major downpour here. Just as I was about to head out for more touristing after lunch, the heavens opened. Internet cafe to the rescue. There are a plethora of them.

So here´s a few of my general first impressions:

Quito street scene

Weather — Overcast and then rainstorm, but not freezing and I´m so relieved. I actually had to throw off my down cover last night.

People/Attire — The whole world dresses in nearly the same any more in some form of pants and shirts and Ecuador is no exception here in the big city. I stood out most today because I was wearing sunglasses when it was mostly cloudy. That and the camera were the biggest giveaways.

Music — Old Town: House of Rising Sun blaring from a shop I passed. Madonna Like a Virgen (the entire album) for lunch. New Town: Beyonce, Macy Gray, Justin Timberlake. So new town music is a few years old and old town is even older. I´ve yet to hear Spanish music.

Transportation — easy, convenient trolley system. Navigating the station was the most confusing part. You enter at one end and exit at the other. I entered the exit. They could see I was a tourist for sure then. A nice lady gave me directions so I could pay and enter appropriately.

Navigation — easy. The city has a population of about 1.5 million , but the tourist areas are compact and well marked. The mountains to one side make it easy to get your bearings. With the exception of the trolley stop mentioned above.

Physical Fitness — at more than 9,000 feet I feel like my lungs are that of a small child. Most my of my exploration was been downhill. I tried walking several blocks up the San Francisco-style hill to another church, but decided to do that another day. Martha was right. One church a day.

Up Next
The country is shutting down at 2 p.m. tomorrow for the World Cup match. I plan to travel to Otovalo a couple of hours north for the big market on Saturday. I can´t pass up a market. I´m hoping the bus doesn´t take a detour for a few hours, or maybe I´ll try to get to my destination before 2 p.m.


November 6, 2004


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 7:14 pm

From Jungle Tales Blog
View from the top of Temple IV in the ancient Maya city of Tikal, a magical place. The city flourished from 600 B.C. to around 925 A.D. I climbed Temple IV with the aid of a modern wooden staircase/ladder. It is the second-highest pre-Columbian building known in the Western Hemisphere. To reach the highest, also part of Guatemalan Maya civilization, you have to hike five days into the jungle to El Mirador. Tikal is also in the dense jungle, but there are pathways throughout the city, including some original roads built by the Mayas. There are also hotels within a 40-minute walk of where I took this photo. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 7:10 pm

From Jungle Tales Blog
An early morning view of Temple I, the Temple of the Gran Jaguar, which dates from the Late Classic period. This is one of the most important buildings in the city because an important ruler was buried here in 734 A.D. I took this photo from the top of Temple II, the Temple of the Masks, on the opposite side of the Great Plaza. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 7:08 pm

From Jungle Tales Blog
A view of the Great Plaza at Tikal, from the ledge where I met her. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 7:06 pm

From Jungle Tales Blog
Here she is. Proof that I did meet her, even if it’s not proof that I held her. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 6:49 pm

From Jungle Bound Blog
The sole palapa roof is an outpost of a village, tucked into the dense jungle along Rio Dulce, which leads to the mouth of the Carribean. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 6:47 pm

From Jungle Bound Blog
This private compound is one of many weekend getaways along Rio Dulce. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 6:41 pm

From Jungle Bound Blog
But this is the way most people live along Rio Dulce. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 6:35 pm

From Jungle Bound Blog
Tropical flower petals, one of the many nice touches at La Casa Rosada on Rio Dulce. I stayed in a simple bungalow for less than $15 and had one of the best meals in my entire trip. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 6:07 pm

From Back in Action Blog
The view of Lake Atitlan and one of the surrounding volcanoes out my window at La Casa del Mundo. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 6:03 pm

From Back in Action Blog
A view of the next village over from where I stayed, Santa Cruz La Laguna, from my kayak on Lake Atitlan. Posted by Hello


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 5:57 pm

From Back in Action Blog
My favorite hotel, La Casa del Mundo, as seen from my kayak on Lake Atitlan. I stayed in the main building, visible here. There are more bungalows above, hidden in the foliage. You can see a great view of the entire lake at the hotel’s Web site. http://www.lacasadelmundo.com Posted by Hello

November 4, 2004


Filed under: Guatemala 2004 — Lilli @ 9:53 pm

From Back in Action Blog
Local blouses for sale in San Francisco El Alto. Posted by Hello

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