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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 06 Sep 2006

Location: Cuenca / Quito, Ecuador

MapWe will miss the food in Cuenca. We went to a really good local restaurant ( El Tequila) as recommended by our hotel. Local people and "comida tipica", no menu or choice. We had tambales (corn dough with chicken and veg inside steamed in a banana leaf which the waiter helpfully opened so we didn't eat it) with broad beans and cheese to start, then barbequed pork with moto pillas (maize with egg) all very tasty and fortunately no guinea pig. Washed down with local beer of course.

Cuenca also has the most delicious icecream - at the weekend every local (even the shoe shine guys) seemed to have one in their hand, so when in Rome.... Just as well we've left as the blackberry icecream could be seriously addictive.

Our final day in Cuenca yesterday - we have now walked every street and most several times! Visited the local food markets and saw our first live guinea pigs for sale - very cute and pet like. Colin had a spookily prescient (is that the word?) day. There aren't many motorbikes he said - only for loads to appear. He then complained about the lack of panama hat makers and there we were, right by a hat shop/factory/museum as if by magic. We had a tour and modelled the hats (very MCC we thought) but didn't buy - too hard to carry.

We bumped into Rene and Carla again - unfortunately they didn't make the summit of Cotopaxi.

Back in Quito after the overnight bus - 10 hours and our 1st action movie - Colin enjoyed and I fell asleep.

Colin now - met up with Tasmanian Cathy again (it's true that everyone follows the same gringo trail) - she of the dodgy tour operator recommendation. Failing to learn from experience, we followed another of her recommendations this afternoon - a juice bar in the old town. Great local place, nice blackberry juice, friendly staff - all too good to be true really..... I asked the girls making the juices if I could take a photo of them, which I did. Unfortunately in Sue's excitement of us finally taking pictures of locals she managed to knock over her juice spilling it all over my baseball cap, which she was holding (rather like a napkin I thought), her trousers and shoes. When she produced the baseball cap to show me, the whole cafe erupted in laughter! They very helpfully rinsed the cap, but I think it was time for a new one anyway - not sure if Sue wants to show her face there again, but we shall see.

Next traumatic experience coming up soon - hair cuts!

Late update
Had dinner last night watching the big match (Ecuador 1 , Peru 1) which explained the mystery of San Francisco Monastery. Visited earlier and saw workmen in bell tower installing a satellite dish and a large Daewoo box being carried in - assume the monks were having their 45in TV installed in time for the game.