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Friday, October 2, 2009

Quick trip to Quito and Otavalo

Dear Family and Friends,

Last week Hugo finished up the latest work we were having done. On Monday I flew to Quito to meet Chuck. But before I left, I received a call that our patio furniture was being delivered. They delivered our furniture just about one hour before I was to be at the airport. Hooray! We now have a place to sit on our enclosed patio.

Chuck and I spent a couple of days in Quito before returning to Cuenca. It was a much needed R&R. We have been pretty much home bound for the last month with the work we have been having done around here.

As is quite common with us, we had no special plans for Quito, we just made it up as we went along.

We went to a mall to do some shopping. The mall had a Mega-Maxi store. We toured through it and found our dishes, that we buy from the local factory, for sale there. This was great because I was having trouble finding more square plates to match. They had plenty so we bought some. We even found some place mats to match.

We went out for dinner at Las Americas Plaza. It is a building consisting of a multiplex cinema and many restaurants. No shops like a mall, just restaurants and movie. It was a very interesting concept and it seems to be working.

It was different from a food court in that it was not fast food. Nice places to eat at many price levels. Chuck and I chose a restaurant that specialized in Japanese/Thai food.

I had a Thai curry seafood dish....

and Chuck had a Japanese beef stir fry dish....

Both dishes were very tasty.

The next morning we went to Otavalo. Otavalo is a town that is known for it's market. The main market is on Saturday mornings. This is the main day that tourists like to be there. People come by the bus loads to see this famous market.

Since it was Wednesday, the vegetable, fruits and animals were not there. What we did see were the arts and crafts. This was fine with us because that is what we wanted to see anyway and we did not have crowds of people to contend with.

I would guess there were over 200 stalls of artisans in the plaza. Most of the items were woven, knitted goods. Rugs, sweaters, hats, purses, etc. We spent about four hours looking at all the items. Of course we stopped for coffee more than once because it can get overwhelming looking at all the goods.

We found a little place with a small sit out balcony overlooking the market. Here is Chuck enjoying the view while he waits for his cappuccino.

We took a taxi to Otavalo, but decided to take the bus back to Quito. It takes a little over two hours and we decided a bus would be more comfortable for getting back. Also, I think I can make better pictures from the bus since we are sitting higher. We shared the taxi with two ladies and it cost Chuck and I $17 dollars to get there, and the bus trip home cost us a total of $4 dollars.

Here is one of the pictures made from the bus between Otavalo and Quito.

Yesterday morning we got up early and went to the Quito airport. We purchased tickets to Cuenca and we were on our way home by 10:30 am. When the clouds cooperate the flight from Quito to Cuenca is very nice. You can see the snow capped volcanoes.

As we flew over Cuenca there were hardly any clouds and I was lucky to be able to make these photos.

The first is looking down on Edf. La Cuadra and the coliseum. (you can click on the picture to make it bigger)

This picture is looking down on Feria Libre market. It looks pretty quiet...since it was Thursday morning and the big market is on Wednesday.

We landed in Cuenca and as we went into the terminal a couple of people were passing out flowers to all the passengers. It was a nice gesture. After getting our bags we heard a live band playing just outside.

I asked the lady at the information desk what was the occasion. She said it was for tourists. I asked her if this is done every day and she replied yes.

Today Chuck and I will get back in our routine...whatever that is.

Chuck is on his way to buy flowers at the market. After he returns we are off to have lunch at a new restaurant and visit the people who are making our living room drapes.

We have been very conscious of how wonderful life is. Enjoying each moment is so important.


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