Ecuador - The Big Fact

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, November 11, 2006

We decided to leave Otovalo
and head back to Quito. This week has been spent at school, that is a Spanish language school called Beraca, two hours of home work in the morning and a four hour long, marathon lesson, in the afternoon. Its actually very fun. Weve tried our spanish on the lady who works in the hostel, she appears to understand us but we have to ask her to repeat things a lot and talk veeeeery sloooowly! This morning we think she told us that she had boiled some water for the birds to drink in the garden, but its was raining at the time and im not sure that birds should drink boling water (do they need water to be purified?!)

Getting all book-wormy this past week has led this latest blog to be known as: (drum roll please) *** ECUADOR - THE BIG FACT *** Many of you may be like Kat, in her belief that Ecuador was a tin mining town in Cornwall, or a state reached after several hours of deep meditation, so I have collected together a brief introduction to this small corner of South America so you can impress your friends with fascinating facts.

Number of presidents since 1997: Nine!
The last one to be sacked was President Gutierrez in 2005. He had to abandon ship with the military and angry protestors hot on his heels. In an intense day the president took off in his escape helicopter (very prepared) to Quito airport to find the military had shut it down. The President was forced to disguise himself under a balaclava (very cunning) and fled to the Brazilian jungle. What are the odds on similar scenerio happening to Tony Blair...

In 1996, the then president Bucaram invited Ecuadorian-born Lorena Bobbit (the women who slashed her way to stardom by chopping off her husbands tackle in 1993) to lunch at the presidential palace. On the menu was a classic Ecuadorian dish, Caldo de Tronquit, bulls penis soup.

The summit of volcano Cotopaxi is the furthest point from the centre of the earth and the closest you can get to the sun while standing on terra firma.

The Ecuadorian Amazon Basin (which we are visiting next week to run naked with the indigenous tribes) contains around 1000 types of fish, including the famous and tiny Candiru catfish which can swim up the human uretha, erect sharp spines and become lodged!

The biggest industry in Ecuador is crude oil extraction from the Amazon. Since 1960 corrupt government officials and poor industry practices from Texaco oil corporation has resulted in 70 billlion litres of toxic waste water and 60 million litres of raw crude oil being dumped into the rain forest leaving wide-spread destruction and the indigenous inhabitants badly affected. 30,000 Ecuadorians are now locked in a class-action lawsuit against oil giant Chevron Texaco. Look at for more info.

A local food speciality is Cuy - Roasted Guinea Pig. Not brave or desperate enough to try it... yet.

Ecuadors most famous export is of course the Panama Hat. The world has mistakenly credited another country with its star attraction. Spanish entrepreneurs in 1800 realised the quality of workmanship in the hat and when workers on the Panama canal were spotted wearing the hat in the 19th Century, the name stuck. However the straw is grown in Ecuador, weaved in Ecuador, trimmed, bleached, blocked, beaten and banded all in Ecuador before being sold around the world, as a Panama hat.

Cooper Out

Love Dan & Kat
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