Sunday, November 30, 2008

A most excellent thanksgiving

First off, I hope everyone reading this had a good turkey day. I have to say, mine definitely ranks up there as one of the best. A group of us got together near Cuenca, in Cajas national park. Originally I wasn't planning on going, but after talking to my friends the other weekend I decided to go. The trip down was a bit of a pain, 15 hours in various buses, including a 2 hour delay near Riobamba (which I found out later was due to a bike race on the panamerican highway). I got into Cuenca pretty late and found a cheap hostal to crash at since we weren't getting together until the next day. The next morning I was up early (having gone to bed at 8) so I wandered around Cuenca a bit. It really is a beautiful city with a church every few blocks. I went into a couple and watched the morning mass. I have lots of pictures of the weekend, but unfortunately I seem to have lost the connector thingy so photos will have to wait till xmas. Anyway after wandering around a bit I took a bus to my friends house outside of Cuenca where we were all meeting. Then we headed into the park, which I have to say is absolutely gorgeous. The cabin we were in was really nice too and everyone brought good food. So after munching a bit we headed out on the various trails. The hiking was great if a bit muddy. We were pretty much the only ones in the park so no dealing with stupid tourists and loud drunk campers like in the states. Plus the water for the city comes from the park so the park gets a lot of funding to keep things clean and taken care of. We had a very nice thanksgiving meal out on the porch overlooking the lake and the mountains. Then it was game night with a variety of card and board games. The next morning we did some more hiking and ate the leftovers for lunch, then crammed into the van to head back to Cuenca. I spent the night at my friends' house before heading back Saturday. All and all a great weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crocheting frustrations

We had another knitting workshop this past week, this time crocheting macrame handbags. I discovered that I don't particularly like crocheting. I was the only one there who had never done it before and it was frusturating trying to follow the teacher as she talked and demonstrated really quickly. We were supposed to make two bags, but I only made one and gave the rest of my material away to other people who were more adept at it. At least it was fun hanging out with all the ladies even if the actual work was a pain for me.
So Christmas is coming up and if any of you out there is in a particularly alturistic mood and want to donate some money I have just the opportunity for you. The local primary school here along with one of the local hostels puts together little goody bags of candy and other things for all the kids, but they're a bit short on funds. So if anyone would like to donate a little bit of money for this that would be great. You can email me and I'll send info on how to go about it. My email is Any help would be appreciated since a lot of these kids don't get much in the way of xmas presents (if they get anything at all) and it's a bit rough when they see all the ads on tv which there are just as many of as in the US.
I know I promised to post pictures but I realized I forgot to pack my connecter cable for my camera. I'm visiting some friends near riobamba for the weekend and had hoped to upload pics but didn't pay attention while I was packing, oops!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

day of the saints and bus adventures

This past weekend was the day of the dead/day of the saints. This year was different than usual because there were a lot less people. Usually the cemetary is packed for the mass, but it was pretty sparse this time around. The cemetary is right across from my house so I just hung out and watched the goings on. I took some pictures, but didn't bring them this time around (I'll post them next time). My host family had a bunch of relatives visit from the coast so the house was pretty packed. I ended up cleaning out my storage closet so some of them could stay in there. And of course we ate guinea pig (apparently that's one of the main reasons people come from the coast, to enjoy the guinea pig). The other traditional foods are colada morada (a drink made from blueberries) and this bread made in the shape of a kid. There was also a dance in the evening which I attended briefly (the dances here generally start way past my bedtime and I'm not much of a night person either).
My bus adventure happened yesterday. I needed to go into town to pick up some supplies for making shampoo, so I got up early to catch the 4 o'clock bus. I got to the main square at 5 till, but must have just missed it. So I go back home planning on taking the student bus that takes kids from my town to Sigchos where there is the high school. From there I can catch another bus into Latacunga. I get on this bus no problem but about halfway there we run into a bad patch of road (it's been raining a lot lately) that takes about 20 minutes to navigate around. By the time I get into Sigchos the other bus has already left and there isn't another one until the afternoon. I can't really wait for that one because I have to meet up with my host mom in Latacunga to give her a list of things she needs to buy in town. So I wander around for while trying to see if I can hitch a ride on a truck. I eventually find one which is good, but have to pay a lot more than the bus fare (not so good). But I do make it into town finally, hook up with my host mom and get my shopping done. Luckily this all went uneventfully!