The Tsáchila

From the 16th to the 20th Century, missionaries and explorers reported finding bare-chested, black toothed natives in the hot, rainy, snake infested country behind the Western Cordillera. The men were striped like jaguars, wore silver wrist bands, and jangled with feathers, bird bones, and Achiote seeds. They painted and sculpted their hair in such a way that they appeared to be wearing shiny, red, leaf-shaped helmets tilted forward over bald heads.

The Tsáchila, as they called themselves were referred to by the settlers as the Colorados for their colorful hair and clothing. The red hair dye, derived from extract of Achiote, accentuated their identification with the Achiote seed. The home was a seed pod, providing a foundation from which its members, like seeds, could go out and plant themselves in the world.

Located at the limit of the Old Town, at the top of a really long flight of steps leading up from the church of San Blas, the Parque Ichimbía is a verdant island of tranquility floating over the noise and pollution of Quito. 

According to Judith Perez, the Director of Communication for Parque Ichimbía, it has 360 degrees of views, including views of Pichincha, Cotopaxi, El Valle de los Chillos, and the Old Town. “It is the balcony of Quito,” she says.  Indeed, the balcony of the Greek restaurant, El Mosaico, perched on the edge of Parque Ichimbía, is the best place in the world to drink a cocktail and watch the sunset.

El Limonal

Environmental conservation is a chic topic in many parts of the world these days and a multitude of organisations are working to preserve the unique ecosystems in Ecuador.Eco-tourists who are curious about green initiatives in Ecuador will enjoy a visit to El Limonal, a community which is slowly adopting a progressive approach toward agriculture to secure future economic and environmental prosperity.

The Galapagos Islands are set to become yet more exclusive with the arrival in October of a new visa system for both Ecuadorian and foreign visitors.

Expected to force 3,500 illegal inhabitants to leave the islands, la Tarjeta de Control deTransito (TCT) – a secure plastic identification card - will cost $10 perperson.

Las Tolas is a classic self sustaining Cloud Forest community that exists entirely in the presence of the community members. The village itself has just one cobble main road through the centre, enclosed by the beautifully crafted houses on either side. Nearly every one has been made with wooden slates, comparable to the decking of a boat all more or less having baloneys acting as gangways. A stroll down the main street is sure to acquaint you with the wonderful closed environment of the people.

Advance by Autoferro

If you happen to be passing through ´The White City´of Ibarra in Ecuador´s Northern Highlands, then opting to take the local Autoferro – a colourful bus on rails – will offer you a refreshing, alternative perspective on this breath-graspingly beautiful area.

If you happen to be passing through ´The White City´of Ibarra in Ecuador´s Northern Highlands, then opting to take the local Autoferro – a colourful bus on rails – will offer you a refreshing, alternative perspective on this breath-graspingly beautiful area. The train traveling from Ibarra to the old salt mine town of Salinas via the stunning valley of the Rio Chota can at moments seem like a thrilling fairground ride with no safety certificate. Yet it is well worth riding across the precarious bridge to take in the jaw-dropping surroundings and to feel the seemingly boundless spirit of Ecuador.

Age: 29

Profession: Artist and musician

From: Otavalo

Favourite place in Ecuador:  I love the variety of culture found in the Sierra

How do you like to spend your Sundays?  Travelling to the countryside

Favourite food:  corn fritters

Which country would you most like to visit?

I’d like to go to the United States to see all the technology there

What Ecuadorean celebration do you most enjoy?

-I like celebrating the Festival of San Juan in Otavalo because it is so culturally diverse. 

Flirting in Ecuador

FLIRTING between men and women is not thatsimple nowadays and, well….When was it? But flirting is seemingly even more complicated today as men and womenseek easy but effective ways of meeting people. As such, approaches to flirting depend basically on two elements:“the purpose” and “the target”. These two elements always go hand in hand. Ifwe make our purpose to “hang out” with someone then if we realize they don’tfit our criteria for a relationship we can stop and let it go! And then we canbegin to look again for someone more suitable.

In this respect, Ecuadorians and foreignersare very different from one another.

Ecuadorian men and women tend to presentthemselves as Mr. Right or Miss Congeniality respectively, even when they’rejust looking to “fool around”. On the other hand, most foreigners tend to beclear about what they want. The funnything is that Ecuadorians are increasingly admitting being interested in peoplewho are clear when flirting… so then, why aren’t we clear? After all, beingclear and flirting with honesty is what really works. We have a purpose and a target, so it can’t go wrong!

Luly, Reporter, Age: 27 .-

“Recently, I met aguy. He is not Ecudorian, and is about my age. I really liked his way of flirting, and even when he was saying lots of nice things that I wasn’t listening to, I was surprised by how clear and honest he was from the very beginning and I was in the position to decide whether I was interested or not. His honesty made him more interesting to me; the more he said what he wanted from me, the more fascinated I was.His lips were attractive, his deep eyes seduced me and I just let myself be hypnotized by a fantasy of the senses! Yes, even now I can say it stillinterests me!”

Lucia, Lawyer, Age: 29.-

“This week I went dancing with my friends ata new bar. As usual, a foreign guy came up to me. He was French. At the beginning I did not like him, but then, he started telling me about his life and did not seem to be interested in me. That really caught me! I thought: Ifhe is not interested in fooling around with me, why is he spending time with me? That definitely seduced me. When the night was ending, we looked like two friends, but inside, I was very interested in him, and was wondering when he would ask me something “very indecent”. Then, in a very clear and direct way, he asked me to go to his place to have fun. Of course I said yes!

Joss, Tourist, Age: 33.-

“When I first came here, I did not know atall about how to chat up Ecuadorian women, I didn’t know what to say. But actually it wasn’t necessary for me to know. One night, I went to an exhibition at a museum and a girl asked me on a date!! That was really interesting because I wasn’t expecting it, coming from such traditional culture like the Ecuadorian.After our date, I said to her I wanted to see her again, and since then, we have been seeing each other quite often”.

Just beyond Ibarra, descending through the Northern Sierra along the shore of the River Chota, lies the Chota Valley, remarkable for its high concentration of Afro- Ecuadorians, exultant African rhythms, elegant dances, and propensity for producing soccer stars.

Referred to simply as El Chota, the valley has gained international notoriety in the last decade for the soccer stars that have extraordinarily emerged from it. El Chota is undeniably economically marginalized. A few wealthy city dwellers control nearly all the arable land, and the rest of the land is worthless without irrigation. Most of its residents make a living in subsistence farming or as day laborers. Yet, five players from Ecuador's current World Cup squad came from Juncál, a tiny town whose modest soccer field is two pairs of posts set in the hard, dusty ground underneath a highway overpass. Its stars include Augustín Delgado, who scored Ecuador's second goal in the 3-0 victory over Costa Rica that landed Ecuador in the second round of the 2006 World Cup.

Virgin of Macas

The Virgin of Macas Festival is a 400-year-old old tradition that dates back to 16th century Ecuador. The festival originated in the town of Macas, a small city of 30 000 in the Province of Morona-Santiago, Ecuador.

At one time, the festival was limited to the inhabitants of Macas. However, in 1998 a peace treaty was signed between Peru and Ecuador, allowing free passage into this beautiful city.

In 1591, the city of Macas was home to a small church embedded in a cave in the mountains. The church contained a beautiful painting called “ La Purisima de Macas”, or “the Virgin of Macas”. Legend has it that in 1592, the painting changed mysteriously.

My jobinvolves a lot of work online, looking for interesting websites, findingarticles to get more insight in the current situation of Ecuador. Every now andthen I bump into articles that really open my eyes. They give me new insightson topics I already kind of made my mind up about.

That´s whathappened to me today, surfing the web I found an article written by KurtGlaubitz for Chevron, one of the major oil companies in the world. The articlehad some interesting paragraphs on the positive impact of Chevron (or actuallyits daughter Texaco) in Ecuador. For instance on the economical impact of theoil industry in Ecuador:

A major break in the Carrizal-Chone water pipe has caused concern to the local population living near the facility. Last Friday the pipe burst causing fright, uneasiness and anger in the province of Canes.

Residents expressed frustration that the abundant leaked water had flooded their crops.

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