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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chilcatortora Tour - Part I

Dear Family and Friends,

(A blog from Chuck)

The other day, while Nancy and Judy were shopping, Brad and I took a one day tour to the countryside to visit an indigenous community, called Chilcatortora. The tour started at the Casa de Mujers on Plaza San Francisco, and cost $33. We traveled by taxi about 45 minutes up the Tarqui river to the community. Their language is Kichwa, which does not look or sound anything like Spanish.

There was a brief introduction and exhibition of traditional music, followed by a tour of the cheese factory (which will be featured in another blog).
Then we were handed off to another guide, Blanca, and embarked on a lengthy hike around the community. What a contrast to the cobble stone streets of Cuenca.

We walked down hill.

And then we walked back up hill.

Meanwhile, the ladies prepared a feast for us. There were many fresh locally produced vegetables and, of course, roasted cuy (which we call guinea pig).

The food was served in a traditional style, all spread out directly on the table cloth, they call this "Pampa Mesa". (If there are too many people for the table, the cloth is spread on the ground.) We ate the cuy with our fingers and the vegetables and rice with a wooden spoon.

After all that hiking and feasting, we were encouraged to take a well deserved nap in the sunshine.