Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ecuador, Cotopaxi

Ok guys, after some distractions from Kindles and spring, I'll continue with the trip to Ecuador. After having shopped in Otavalo,  went on to Cotopaxi province which is named after the world's highest active volcano. We stayed at a really nice hostel called the "Puerto de Corezon" or in English the door to the heart. It was a really nice place, quite luxurious, with good food. The hostel is at 3600 meters which means that we went to bed exhausted.
The next day off we went to climb Cotopaxi. The bus wheezed up to 4500 meters and from there we hoofed it up to the glacier at 5000 meters. Believe me when I tell you that at 5000 meters (16400 feet) the old engine really pumps oil. ;o) At that a height you are only breathing in 50% of the oxygen you get at sea level, so the only way to go is slow but sure by just putting one foot in front of the other.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spring has sprung

Here in the Great White North, winter seems to be rapidly losing its grip on our land and lakes. The lakes are melting and the maple sap is running already. Jazz will be particularly happy that it's over. ;o)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

My Kindle has arrived

On another note I received my Kindle today and I am now playing around with it. The principal reason I bought it, beside the fact that it’s a nice guy toy, is that every time Mrs. BB and I travel we carry around a ton of books that we finally leave behind where ever we are going. With the Kindle I can carry all my books with me in a small convenient package that is way lighter than a dozen books.
On another note I am trying out MacJournal as a as a blogging writer, hopefully it’ll work out. So if there are any problems, let me know.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Good karma no less... travel to Ecuador part 2

While we were in the village, it was not always work, work, work. We were also invited to many festivities where we participated whole heartedly. They shared their culture with us and we shared our Québecois culture with them. One night, it was singing and dancing and another it was our "Souper Québecois" where we initiated the village to the good old sugar shack menu of eggs, beans and maple syrup. At first they were a little leery of beans and eggs soaked in maple syrup, but once they tasted it they were fans. We fed over 100 people that night and left them with a dozen cans of maple syrup that we had left over. We also visited their preschool and were treated to a native dance by the little ones to thank us for the donation of clothing and shoes we had made to them. (One of the things that we do each year is collect and buy school supplies, good serviceable clothing and shoes throughout  the year and each of us brings an extra suitcase crammed with 50 lbs of stuff we collected and bought.)

 Here are some pictures of where we stayed in the village.

After leaving the village, the first place we went to was Lake Cuicocha. This lake is in the caldera of an extinct volcano. We walked around the lake on the rim of the the caldera, a 3 hour walk along steep cliffs dropping down to the water below.
After our invigorating march around the lake, which by the way is at 3900 metres, we went down tho the restaurant by the lake and had a really good meal.
Then on to Otavalo to visit the artisans and do some souvenir shopping. We mostly bought directly from those who produced rather than from the stores, fair trade at its best, but we did, the next day, visit the market to finish shopping. We had already shopped for things in the small local market of Chicapamba but the market at Otavalo is much bigger and has a much more diverse products. I bought some really nice jewelry for Mrs. BB, some beautiful wool knit sweaters for my grand-daughters, a beautiful woven wool pull over for my son's birthday. Needless to say that we did our part for the local economy. ;o) I know it's materialistic but the things there are really beautiful and the price they ask is ridiculously low. Since we mostly bought directly from the producers, it eases our conscience a little. ;o)
So the next post will be onto the Cotopaxi, the highest volcano in the world.