Straw Hats, Flowers and the Evil Eye

Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
Trip End Feb 03, 2012

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, January 28, 2012

We start out the morning driving through a sleepy Cuenca to the Homero Ortega factory where the famously misnamed Panama hats are finished. We get to see demonstrations of the process used to weave the straw into hats and the lengthy finishing process to bleach and shape and be-ribbon them. And of course an opportunity to try on (and buy) some very chic examples.

Then all aboard the bus again for a short trip across town and up to Turi township on top of a hill that looks down over Cuenca. Excellent photo op!

Back down the hill to the old town center. Gonzalo hands us off to Narciza Ullauri who conducts the tour, visiting squares and cathedrals. We say good-bye for now (she will be back for our evening lecture at the hotel) and Gonzalo continues the walking tour including a stop at a lovely flower market outside a mortuary and convent, and a shaman selling tokens to guard against the evil eye. We walk to our lunch site. It's a combination alfresco restaurant and indigenous crafts/souvenir shop. Lovely lunch!

We continue our walk through Cuenca back to the hotel where we're released from all guided activities until the lecture before dinner. I use the time to organize photos and catchup on the journal. The lecture by Narciza covers the history of the area and the  Incan influence. After the official lecture, she candidly answers questions about a favorite topic: women's rights in Ecuador (which apparently is an oxymoron of sorts).

Dinner at same restaurant as the previous night and then to bed.
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