Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Markets in the Open Air, Shoe in the Mud

My name is Clair Lynn and this J-term I am in Ecuador and will travel to the Galapagos Islands with Buena Vista University and Dr. Katya Koubek.

We left the United States on January 8th and spent the day flying, after hours on planes and in airports we arrived in Quito, Ecuador and hit the hay for a nice long and much needed rest.

After getting rested up we woke up the next morning for a tour of Quito, in addition to Quito we have also toured Rio Bamba, and Cuenca. Touring these cities we have seen a lot of the traditional stuff such as: churches, museums, and monuments; which have been beautiful, extravagant, and very interesting. However, my favorite places to visit have been the equator and all of the markets. At the equator we got to see first-hand how the hemispheres affect gravity, storms, and weather.

I became very culture shocked when we visited the markets, specifically the one in Cuenca. Seeing how this part of the world buys and sells products, produce and even housewares was so strange and different from the U.S. In the markets there are crowds of people shoving their way through to get their items, and of course stopping to gawk at the American tourists (who looked scared and confused by the whole process).

At a market in Ecuador

The way Ecuadorians live their lives is so different from Americans, Ecuadorians take the time with everything, nothing is rushed. We noticed this a lot with meals, in Ecuador there is no such thing as fast food, I think our quickest meal clocked right around two hours in length; however, they were more commonly about four hours long.

My favorite part of the trip so far has been our visit to the largest market, which was in Cuenca. In Cuenca, I passed a young girl (about 3 yrs old) and her brother (about 5 yrs old). When the little girl saw me and the 5 pounds of my camera she stopped and stared, soon she pointed to my camera and began to exclaim “photo, photo!” She was however pulled away by her brother while she continued to look at me and shout “photo, photo!” I couldn’t help but smile and stare back at the little girl who seemed happy to see new people.

As of now my least favorite part of the trip has been the hike through part of the Andes Mountains, not because of the hike or scenery itself. Instead, my smidge of dislike for the hike came when about five minutes into the hike my foot found the largest and most wet puddle of mud on the trail. Throughout the rest of the two hour hike I powered through with a cold and muddy shoe.

Tomorrow we are heading to the Galapagos Islands where we will board a twenty-some passenger boat and spent 4 days exploring the islands, see you on the flip side

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