Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chordeleg, Ecuador

Yesterday I had this urgent need to move about.  Each day that I wait to reunite with Rachel is in most ways an empty feeling, a frustrating trial of patience.  It charges my spirit with the task of healthy daily maintenance.   She is in the US and I am in Ecuador.  Practical realities dictate that we must follow a determined course of action that will enable us to be together on a permanent basis.  She has much to do in the US to prepare for her new life with me here.  I have much to do on this end to prepare a comfortable home for us. Today's technology allows us to see and talk to each other every day on Skype.  That has been a life saver.  It is wonderful, but you are not in each others presence.  It is her presence I crave and yearn for.  How do you fill that void?

Rachel and I have discussed wedding bands.  We are at an age and state of mind and spirit that permits and prefers practical and simple solutions in life.  Wedding bands are a symbol of a committed and loving relationship.  They tell the world that you are a couple and that no one else is invited into your intimate world.  In Ecuador there are very practical considerations about wedding bands.  The number one rule is that you don't flaunt wealth in this country without the risk of calling attention to yourself as a vulnerable target for theft.  We don't need to worry about being wealthy anyway, so we fit right in.  A set of simple bands without precious stones is a no brainer.

So, you ask yourself, what does this have to do with your lonely moment where you have this urgent need to move about?  Chordeleg.  This little village kept coming up in conversations with locals and expats alike.  It is known as the jewelry village for all of Azuay, and some people come from much greater distances because of the extensive offerings of simple but good value silver and gold adornments.  Jewelry in local parlance is joyas.  What a great name is that!  Of course a jewelry store is a joyeria.  It occured to me that I should fill my time this day with real purpose!  I must see the joyerias of Chordeleg and see if Rachel's and my bands might be waiting there for us.

I walked a half block to the bus stop, jumped on #8 and with 25 cents and 15 minutes I was on the other side of Cuenca at the bus terminal.  From there I fumbled around looking for a ticket and kept asking the ticket agents which bus line went to Chordeleg.  They all kept pointing a different direction.  Silly Gringo.  I didn't need a ticket.  I just needed to pay my ten centavos (10 cents) to go through the turnstyle and get on the bus to Gualaceo and Chordeleg.  Oh yes, there was another 75 centavos once on board.  That 75 cents took me on the scenic 40 minute ride along the Tomebamba and into the beautiful valley of Gualaceo.  The bus was comfortable and clean.  I had been to Gualaceo with my friend Xavier a week or two ago.  Gualaceo will definately be a return trip when Rachel gets here.  It is the city of shoes for women.  Chordeleg is the city for rings on your fingers.  Cotacachi is the city of leather, San Antonio de Ibarra the village of wood furniture, Otavalo the city of colorful woven fabrics, well you get the idea.   I love the idea that a community of artisans can help each other grow and perfect their trade.  I also love it that when you have a specific need you can go where the best of the best artisans reside and find many styles, qualities and prices to suit your budget and taste.  I'm still looking for that community of electronics wizards, Senior Samsung and Senior Sony.  I'm told I won't find it here.  Bring your 60 LED in your shipping container.  That inconvenience I can live with.

So here's some pictures from Chordeleg.  There were all types of rings there but my size 12 chubby gringo fingers didn't find what they were looking for there.  I think fate wanted Rachel and I to do our ring shopping together.  I know all my women readers would say, Dah!

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