Saturday, March 12, 2011
Rachel's ready smile belied what I know to be a deep sadness as we departed our beloved Cotacachi. Our relatively luxurious condo awaited in Cuenca and with it the creature comforts we've been accustomed to: American TV, all the hot water we wanted, high speed internet, our CD music, DVD's, Play Station 3, our super comfortable bed, our own cooking, and maybe most important of all, our bicycles. These living elements are available everywhere in Cotacachi but limited in the hostels where we stayed. With all of those comforts and familiarities awaiting us in Cuenca, it was still difficult to say good bye to our friends, Mt. Cotacachi (behind Rachel in the picture above), and Mt Imbabura, the 'mother' and 'father' of the city of Cotacachi. Our trip home was smooth and without a hitch. No we didn't take the bus home! Quito to Cuenca is less than an hour by air (vs 10 hours by bus), worthy of the extra dollars. We did however hook up with the Quito bus on the Pan Am highway just outside of Cotacachi where Rachel had a fun time with the toddler in front of us.
Those of you who have travelled in Ecuador know how well behaved the youngsters are here. They simply don't carry on and make a nuisance of themselves. They are sweet, a little shy, but inevitably engaging and interested in the gringos that come into their world. Rachel has learned to keep a package of cookies at the ready in her leather bag so that every little smile that comes to us gets a sweet return. In some countries such an exchange might not be permitted. The people of Ecuador still trust us. I hope we never do anything to lose that trust.
Bo even bought a birthday cake for Rachel. The serendipity part was that he didn't KNOW it was her birthday!!!!
Our trip to northern Ecuador had a two fold purpose. We hoped to receive those elusive residency cedulas while in Quito and we hoped to find our new home in Cotacachi. I'm pretty sure we were at least 50% successful! Our cedulas can wait.
We revisted a home in the country between Otavalo and Cotacachi.
Miguel is careful to explain how his construction methods deny water migration from the ground to the walls of his homes.
and how extra care in engineering assures earthquake resistance
two obvious enemies to homes built in Ecuador.
Foundations are built with aeration and strength in mind. They are broader and deeper than any other construction in the area. An impermeable rubber membrane between the foundation and the home walls keep water migration and necessary wall maintenance to a negligible level. Patricio does extensive soil testing before construction to insure foundation stability and construction does not disturb the soil surface except in the foundation channels.
Fire brick is used in the walls of Miguel's construction. It is more expensive but ultimately much stronger than the more commonly used adobe brick commonly found in other local construction.
Open beam ceilings are beautiful, strong, and are treated for another enemy of construction in Ecuador....termites.
Even the porch roofs are built with beauty and structural integrity in mind.
Awe inspiring views from Yana Pamba include pastoral fields speckled with dairy cows
The river gorge below
and the sometimes shy father of Cotacachi, Mt. Imbabura