The Amazon rainforest near Puyo and the colonial city of Cuenca.

Hi friends! I’m in Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city.
From Banos I went to Puyo, where begins the Amazon, which I visited with a guide. After, I slept in a village inside the hut of a family of Kichwa indigenous. It was a small village of fewer than 100 people with many children wandering and playing.
The landlord was around in the forest searching for food and his daughter, a little girl named Brigitte, led me to the village to see the room where they make the meetings, the school, and various animals that live there: an alligator, a parrot, a nocturnal monkey and a giant rat, a little crazy maybe because in cage.
Just before dark the landlord returned with an armadillo caught by the dog digging into the hole where it slept, and the family cooked it. I ate rice, palmito (white filaments, fresh and soft, taken from the trunk of the palm) and yuca, a kind of potato.
Shortly after 7 am, when it was already dark, I went to sleep upstairs in the hut. As always, it’s really nice to sleep in the forest for the concert of verses of nocturnal animals that start with the setting sun. Verses which, actually, resonate thanks the total silence all around. There was a huge full moon. I fell asleep early and I woke up in the middle of a loud tempest, the hut was completely enveloped by the cloud.

The next morning, at 7, the landlord woke up me for another tour in the forest. He told me to get ready and go down, unfortunately he was busy but I would have gone with his eldest son. But the bed called me back and I fell asleep again. Then came out Brigitte. She said to get up to do the tour with her and two other siblings because no one knew where his big brother was. But I fell asleep again.
I woke up with kids all around, I was still half asleep and the scene seemed surreal, with all these children repeating “Giovanni wake up”, “Giovanni, wake up.”
I didn’t want much to wake up, I tell the true. And also, why this rush? I know that there is this terrible problem of deforestation, but also sleeping a few hours more I could have managed to visit it.

Anyway, I finally went into the forest around there with Brigitte, a sister and a brother. They were very good, I say this with all sincerity. They pave the way with machetes and knew all the plants and trees and their possible use.
All that vegetation that appeared to me as a confused green tangle, had an utility for them. As food, as medicine, to make soap, to wash clothes, for painting their faces, to make necklaces, to build huts, to make baskets, etc. …

This brought me back to mind an old idea: to create a community where we work the minimum necessary to help Mother Earth to feed us and say fuck off to the corporations that enslave us and the state that steals what is left in the form of taxes (necessary just to pay the cops that beat us when we protest).
Nothing original, of course, since always the smart ones organize in that way, but seeing it now concretely I am convinced that it is indeed possible. Because from now on I don’t want to work anymore in my life, I want to laze during the day and drink wine in the night before a fire.
“And to travel, how are you going to do?”
Well, guys, you can’t have everything…
“But you didn’t think of us? Of your readers? What we will read after? If the hen has laid an egg or not?”
Eeeh I know, my dear readers, but there are thousands of travel blog, certainly not as brilliant, not with pictures so beautiful, not with so sharp analysis, jaunty humor, freshness and originality of style… yes they are little wankers, you’re right, but what can I do? Can I continue to travel the world like a spinning top? Mmmm but in the end, why not? Ok, we will see… Now the photos.

 

Woman with daughter in Puyo.

 

A tapir caressed by Sandra, a girl from Quito with which I toured in the forest on the first day.

 

Flying on a liana.

 

And with a typical boa on. In short, the usual crap people do in the Amazon rainforest.

 

With Sandra on the bridge leading to the village where I slept.

 

Children in the village.

 

The head of the village.

 

Brigitte with a flower.

 

The armadillo caught for dinner.

 

Dogs around the pot where the armadillo is cooked.

 

Parrot.

 

Girls painting their faces with the seeds of a fruit. The next day I gave up and accepted to having my face painted too.

 

A stream in the forest.

 

Black-red seeds.

 

Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, is a beautiful colonial city. It is located at 2500 meters altitude. Before being conquered by the Incas and the Spaniards soon after, it was an important city of the Canari people.

 

Old women in Cuenca.

 

Woman.

 

Live free! (A)

Lake Quilotoa, Kichwa people, legend of the condor and Banos

Faithful disciples, here He is again. This time He will tell you of a spectacular lake inside a volcanic crater and Banos, a tourist place with thermal baths.

The lake Quilotoa was born about a thousand years ago following the collapse of a volcano. The volcano has a diameter of 3.15 km and is still active, the last eruption occurred in 1799.

 

Almost all the local women, and girls too, wear a felt hat, even indoors.

 

25% of the Ecuadorian population is indigenous. The descendants of the Incas are the largest of the 13 indigenous communities in Ecuador and are called Kichwa, as their language, used today by about two and a half million people. The Kichwa is part of the family of Quechua languages, spoken by over 7 million people in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.

 

Little girl. And more photos of boys and girls.

 

 

Dusk.

 

The family that ran the posada where I was, near the lake. I slept in another house, barely heated by a small wood-burning stove. The night, after the fire run out, it started to be very cold.

There I read a little book for children in Kichwa, Spanish and English, very well illustrated, about a Kichwa legend, the legend of the condor in love:

The spirit Pachakama created the universe. After a while, he realized he needed a flying messenger that could carry and receive messages from Earth.
With his companion Pachamama, the female spirit of fertility, and other forces of the universe (Sun, Moon, etc…) created an egg. From it, came out a little condor.
The condor immediately began to do his duty, sending messages and receiving inquiries from Earth. To communicate he used the kipus, ie colored cords, and dreams.
But after few years the condor began to feel lonely. “Everyone has a companion, even the rabbits, only I am alone …”. And he began to seek love.
Fluttering in the Andes, he saw a girl who grazed sheep. He immediately fell in love and, after stealing a poncho to appear more beautiful, appeared to her.
She mistook him for a guy with pants to his knees and after speaking at length, she fell in love as well.
When she realized that he was a condor, he takes her on air. At the beginning she is a little scared, but soon she becomes captivated by the places over which passes: the lake Quilotoa, the picks of Ilizinas, the Chimborazo, and the sacred volcanoes Cotopaxi and Tungurahua.
Eventually they arrive on a kunturmatzi, one of the quarries on the high Andes, where he lives. He picks her lovingly and, for each peck, feathers grow on the girl.
At home, meanwhile, they are worried. It’s night and the dog, who saw where they went, drives the girl’s family and the entire village to the nest of the condor.
When they arrive there, the villagers chase away the condor and recover the girl.
Parents lock her in the house, but the girl, burning some straw, send a message to the condor, that comes back and take her again.
This time they fly up until a very high kunturmatzi. There, the condor pecks her lovingly and feathers grow on her. When the villagers reach the nest, she is completely transformed into a bird, a female condor, and parents must accept the fait. Pachakama and Pachamama are happy because now there is a greater connection with the people of Earth to send and receive messages.
And still today, when a girl goes to graze, parents warn her: “Beware the condor!”

 

Little girls near Zumbahua, the most close town near lake Quilotoa.

 

Banos it’s a peaceful resort, surrounded by steep mountains all around. One of its features are the thermal baths.

 

Ecuador is full of volcanoes, including Chimborazo, 6310 meters, but no longer active, and the Taita Cotopaxi, 5897 meters, among the highest active in the world, and sacred place of the Andean Kichwa.
The volcano near Banos is Tungurahua. And I’ve just discovered something curious: looking now on Internet to see when it erupted last time I found that happened three days ago, on April 30, when I was already here! (link: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/tungurahua/news.html ). Earthquakes and tremors of the earth, pillars of smoke, ashes, but I haven’t noticed anything!

 

In Banos you can do many activities like rafting, climbing the canyon, bungee jumping etc. … I did the “canopy” (as this Argentinian guy in the photo) which consists in attaching to a hook on a wire cable and flying down into the valley below.
I had done something similar in Warsaw, where, however, the route was short and the scenery not spectacular.
Here the cable was a 1 km long and the flight lasted about a minute. Unlike what you might think, was not at all a scary experience, and actually was relaxing, I flew silently, with the river flowing just below.
But I haven’t figured out what help would have been the helmet, falling from that height.

 

Later, I discovered that more than a helmet it would have saved me a magic formula, as seen in this painting in the main church of Banos. In fact, to Mr. Paulino Gavilanes back in June 1889 something similar happened, but after pronouncing the words “Madre mia de Augua Santa” (“Holy Mother of Augua”), he was taken and carried to safety by the Virgin.
Well, we must recognize that the legend of the condor is much better than this bullshit.

 

A strange church, on the road that drops down from the mountains of Banos for about 40 km to the forest. Full of waterfalls and beautiful scenery, pleasant to do on a bike, also because it is mostly downhill.
And coming back up? And for coming back I took a ride from a truck eeeehhhh not stupid dekaro!

 

The most beautiful place along the way is the Diablo (devil) waterfall.

 

You can get very close, where the water falls and where springs. It ‘s impossible to describe the feeling of strength and momentum that emanates the jet, among other things, to its fullest, because we are at the end of the rainy season (and in fact since I arrived in Ecuador I’m taking a lot water).

 

Crawling under a path into the rock, you get behind the waterfall. There, you feel one with the mighty force of nature, a continuous roar, almost mesmerizing.

 

The is instead the cascade of the Virgin of holy water, and indeed compared to that of Diablo is docile and timid. It is located right next to the thermal baths and is always visible from Banos.

 

Candles in honor of the Virgin of Holy Water in the main church of Banos.

And that’s all for this time. Kisses! :-)