Domingo (Sunday), 24 Octubre, 2010
I started the day early…like 6 a.m. This…
do to the fact that I had to meet my
Expedition Van at 8:05 a.m. For some
imaginary reason I really thought that they
would be there “on-time”. So…me…being
me…A.K.A...“Mr. Early for Everything” got
there at exactly 8 a.m. and TA-DAH…
Actually and by Ecuadorian standards
(if there ever were any) it wasn’t bad...as
the van in question got to my pick-up point
before 8:15 a.m. Of course I was the first to
be picked up and then came the rest of the
pick-up points in various parts of Cuenca.
At the end…we totaled nine personas. The
make-up of "touristas" included one other
male Gringo from Australia…3 Norte
Americanos Women and 4 Senoras from
Peru…plus yours truly...and joined by our
driver and tour guide Diego! Needless to
say...it was an interesting group.
Once we were all settled…off we went to
explore the country-side along with the
wares plied by the Indigenousness peoples
living in these towns.
Now one should understand that as far as
sightseeing goes…I for one really do not
get into this type of excitement (?). I do
however…enjoy seeing new and different
places including it’s histories. Thankfully
this trip also included some amazing
scenery. This scenery incidentally…not
only included what one would expect
(forests… rolling mountainous lands etc.)
but also some stunning Spanish Colonial
architecture all within some beautiful towns
The principle cuidad (City) that we visited...
is called Chordeleg (sure-de-leg)...which is
a fairly decent sized city but one...with a
really beautiful town center and is known
for it’s Gold & Silver Jewlery.
Now...being that I had exactly "zero"
interest in window-shopping...I roamed the
immediate area and finally stumbled upon
a nice shaded resting spot i El Parke Centro.
As luck would have it…a middle aged
woman with her son sat down next to me
and tried (notice I said "tried") to strike up
Of course I politely told her in my
best Spanish…”No Hablar Espanol” and
with her prodding this...became
“Yo Hablar Espanol Poquito”...
(I speak a little Spanish).
Now maybe it was my long absence from
the U.S. East Coast but…it seems I’ve
lost the edge on my long ago learned
and ingrained “Sixth Sense”...OMG !!!
Now…when it comes to unknown peoples
wanting something other than just being
friendly...my inner alarms should have
gone off “loud ‘n clear”…they didn’t! This
instance proved to be the case…as the
woman in question (and my 6th sense
finally made it’s appearance albeit a little
late)…was what one could only call and
compare with a Born-Again Christian but
with a Spanish-twist.
Before anyone…who might be a Born-
Again Christian please...do not read
anything into the above paragraph as…
I hold no prejudices against anyone’s
beliefs. I do however…do not like being
cajoled into anything…especially when
any religion is involved.
Anyway with this new information about
my new acquaintance…I quickly excused
myself and meandered this beautiful and
Approaching the Van’s departure time…
I eventually re-claimed my seat along with
my travel-mates (all accounted for) and off
we went for a few more stops.
One stop in particular made up for all the
jewelry shops etc. This was an extremely
run-down establishment in a very small
town called San Bartolome.
The people in this town are known for their
Spanish Guitar Making.
As the story was told to us (and I hope I
have all the facts correct)…many many
generations have since past.
When the first Spanish families settled in
this area…one family started the Guitar
Crafting business. As time went on the art
of Spanish Guitar crafting was passed
to other families…who then in turn moved
to different areas of Ecuador. Apparently
San Bartolome remains the anchor.
OK…nececito history lesson done.
The Guitars are made from a very rare
wood…all hand crafted and…if I recall
correctly…a single guitar will take 4-6
weeks to bring its beauty to completion.
The cost in case you're wondering...ranges
from about $200 to $600. The guitar in the
photo below was priced at about $240.
All this by the way…is accomplished by
one hombre and his son.
No...the guy on the Guitar is not the son
but...our now almost famous tour-guide
Diego. The gentleman behind him is the
owner...father and craftsman.
From what I understood…the father
makes the guitars (remember…all by hand)
but cannot play the instrument...at all.
This is where the son comes in…who at the
time of our visit had his soul connected to
(Yes...even in the mountains of Ecuador).
All told…I am quite sure that if I were one
whoever played a guitar (at least a little bit)…
I would have bought one of these beauties...
on the spot!
Well…once again it was time to pile into
El Van and off we went to…YES…E-A-T
lunch...(You knew this was coming!)
The place...that was part of the tour for
lunch (almuerzo)…was in its former life a
privado hosienda (Private House).
Today the hosienda is called
“Hosteria Uzuhupud” and is now a beautiful
hostel which rests in the Paute valley.
Within the confines of the Hosteria there
is in evidence…a swimming pool…
hot springs…58 rooms..tennis…discoteca
(disco)…outdoor restaurante etc.
The rates…I truthfully have no idea. That
said however…one day I would love to
spend some “miini-vacation” time there…
one day J
At this point..and to tell you the truth…the
tour went into “over-kill”…as I was past
caring about anything (time elapsed about
6 horas (6 hours). All I wanted was to see
the tours conclusion but…NO!!! There was
more! Unfortunately…I was beyond caring
and (maybe I subconsciously) buried the
into my subconscious where it will stay!
Overall…it was a great “get-outta-town”
escape.I’m glad I did it but…with the
exception of my previous stated desire of
visiting Uzuhupud again…I think this
hombre has had it for…
at least the foreseeable future! J
Now with this...my update on my roamings...
completed...I REALLY need to get crackin’ n'
start packin’ for my upcoming re-location…
to my Nueve Apartemento (new apartment).
See you soon…for now J
[Para ahora veale pronto] J