Monday, July 23, 2012


I was talking to a friend of mine on Saturday and she asked if I am still happy here. Of course I told her I am and she asked what makes it so fabulous. Of course I said the people and the weather and several other things but then I included the lack of stress. We talked about that a little but after we got off the phone I thought about it some more. Of course each of us have our own stressors whether it's here or in whatever country we're in and I have/had them as well. When I was living in north central United States one of my big issues was weather. It was frequently too hot or too cold and it was always too humid. I'm retired and on a very tight fixed income and that created its fair share of stress as well. Those are the obvious kinds of things we think of. After I got off the phone, though, I realized there is one huge factor I hadn't really thought about before -- the general lack of stress was thinking a little more about the stress "in the air." You know how it is when you go to the store and it seems like everyone is at least a little wound up, in a hurry, not really interested in whether or not anyone else is having a good day? It's totally different here. No one seems to be in much of a hurry. It's different in the big cities, of course, but not here in Cotacachi. If you don't say "buenos dias" or the appropriate time of day thing, it's halfway rude. Everyone says it and means it. And it is frequently followed with "how are you?" And they mean that too. People smile at one another -- they don't get upset if the customer in front of them needs a little extra help or if the crazy gringa didn't have her produce weighed and priced back where they have the only scale in the store. Yes, the general stress level here is so much lower that I feel a TON better than I did in the States.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm Still Here

I got an email this morning from one of my, as he put it "faithful readers" saying that he hoped it was only my computer that wasn't doing well. I realized just how long it's been since I posted anything at all and decided it was only polite to llet you know what's going on. Yes, my computer is still out of commission but each day I have more hope that it will be repaired very soon. Right now the ETA is next week, possibly as early as Wednesday. Please utter a little prayer or keep your fingers crossed for me. Even though there won't be any photos until my computer is back in action and typing on my Kindle creates typos that are much harder to correct than on a proper keyboard, I'm going to start writing the occasional post just so I don't get totally out of practice. Thanks for your caring ans support.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bits and Pieces of Inti Raymi

During the week, nothing much happens with Inti Raymi in general.  The big event was the "taking of the square" on Sunday night.  Now there is marching through the streets but it is far less formal and there's far more drinking involved.  It's been a very quiet Inti Raymi so far this year (I'm writing this on Tuesday June 26) and we're all hoping it stays that way.

Of course I can't resist taking photos when I have the opportunity so I'll keep adding a few of the better ones as I upload them.

The police are in evidence everywhere and it gives most of us a sense of security in terms of men with far more alcohol than good sense behaving themselves unsupervised.  It's really no different in other parts of the world.  I always stayed in on New Years Eve back in the States.  This isn't much different.

Friday, July 6, 2012

No Computer = No Photos

Oh how I wish my computer wasn't still very sick! Today and tonight were such fun! I'll give you a quick preview and then, as soon as I have my computer back, I'll share many photos. I'll start with this afternoon. I was busy doing homework when my doorbell rang and therenwas Blanca and her son. Two of their roosters had attempted the great escape and ended up in my back yard. Blanca asked if I like chicken -- to eat. I assured her I do. I'm not sure if I have fresh chicken innmy future or not. I'll let you know. In the meantime, her son went home and came back a minute later with 5 eggs. What a treat. Then tonight I was sitting around thinking about when I thought I might want to go to bed. It was very noisy outside -- with much music and loud speakers. I poked my head out to see if I could see what was happening. Whatever it was appeared to be happening at the park. Sure enough -- much activity. There were three bands, bleachers, several rows of chairs, and dancing in the streets. Even the mayor was out there kicking up his heels. I couldn't just click a few photos and head home. I decided to hang out for a wee bit. I foundnmyself a little corner on one ofnthe bleachers and settled in to take more pictures. The next thing I know, this cute littlenman is asking me to dance. I don't dance under the best of circunstances and tonight my hair was uncombed and I was in a grubby T-shirt and pants. Wait until you see his photo -- he really is adorable. It didn't take long for me to figure out he was also a wee bit tipsy. I was offered a drink of something amber colored and since it's considered very rude to turn down a drink, I took a tiny sip. WHOA! I'm not positive what it was but I think I heard the guy next to me say it was whiskey. I was convinced to take another drink out of the communal plastic cup but then I was able to graciously turn down future offers without offending anyone. Lest you be concerned about the hygiene or lack thereof in sharing a glass, fear not -- there wasn't a germ left alive anywhere near that glass. Photos will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our Trip to Ibarra

Last Tuesday Sheiran and I decided to head to Ibarra to check out a few things we needed/wanted to see at the mall where the Supermaxi is housed.  You can't live in Cotacachi more than a few days without hearing about Supermaxi and how that's where you can find lots of good groceries you won't find locally.  You may recall that I went to Ibarra with the tour group about a month ago but I didn't get a chance to stop at the mall and this was a perfect chance to do that.

It seemed like July 4th was a good day to post this in recognition of the independence not only of the United States but the independence of shopping at a mall.

The little Cotacachi bus terminal is very well cared for and very nice.  There's plenty of covered room for waiting which, this morning, was good because it decided to rain.  Sheiran was good enough to pose for me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Inti Raymi IX, History

I was very fortunate to have found a book about Inti Raymi entitled, Inti Raymi: The ancestral dance of a sun-centered liturgy. Written by Ulpiano Garcia Cobos, a local Cotacachi resident, it's filled with great information about the history and symbolism of the fiesta.

The women are a critical part of the ritual dancing. They are there to provide support and protection. Not only do they carry extra corn alcohol, they provide and even help an attacker if needed.
The costumes worn by the men are symbolic of the clothing worn by their oppressors and it's a way of "thumbing their noses at them.
The dancers from the over 30 villages dance around the plaza.e times, stopping at each of the corners to dance in a circle for several.minutes before moving on to the next corner. The taking of the plaza is so symbolically significant becaue the Spaniards would build their plaza.and church on the sacred ground of the local inhabitants. There is so much more information that I could share but I'm going to stop at this point. I suspect you're pretty tired of hearing about Inti Raymi by now. I'll have a final roundup of photos and information after my computer has been repaired and I can upload more photos.

Monday, July 2, 2012


During Inti Raymi I was heading to the grocery store in the late afternoon when I came across a dance competition.  The differences between the participants of Inti Raymi and these young people was a major contrast so I absolutely had to have them in my blog.  I probably would have put them in here anyway, just because it's a slightly different view of Cotacachi than I generally see.

Enjoy the photos.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Photo Roundup July 1, 2012

Wow!  It's already July!  Half the year is gone and I have no idea where it went.  Well, wherever it went, there's still lots to come and I can hardly wait to share it with you.

Some of these photos have been hanging around for a little while but I figured I'd better get them tucked in here or I'd forget about them completely, so here we go!

This was taken almost a month ago.  I had someone come help me with some cleaning and she enjoys having TV on while she works.  This was the first scene that came up after the TV was turned on and I couldn't resist trying to grab a photo.  This is from a telenovella (soap opera) and it would appear that woman is the maid.  I was totally blown away.  It's not something we're used to seeing in the States.  Yet another thing that's very different than what I'm used to.  Some days it's tougher than others to leave my attitudes back there.