fancy

Through a Different Kind of Looking Glass
March 18, 2012

Buses are one of the best ways to see the countryside as they traverse roads that wind through the hills and towns, such as this one between Cuenca and Cañar. There are always people waiting for a bus coming from the other direction, both those dressed in indigenous clothing and popular brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch. Another common sight is the churches that stand proudly on hills or among houses that seem to cluster around as though listening to a sermon. (more...)

tags: Culture, Indigenous Groups, Architecture, Canari

location: Azogues, Canar, Ecuador

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A Place to Rest
March 16, 2012

The mountain town of Cañar, like most other communities in the world, has a place for their dead. These graves are already occupied and covered in silk flowers or other offerings from loved ones that will resist the rains that are common here. In other parts of the cemetery there are latticed structures four or five layers tall that await the coffins of those people whose families can afford space in the cemetery. (more...)

tags: Holidays, Rituals, & Traditions, Culture, Architecture

location: Cañar, Canar, Ecuador

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Gualaceo Market
March 11, 2012

You don’t know what sensory overload means until you’ve been to an open-air market. Gualaceo, at an altitude of 2,449 meters and 20 miles east of Cuenca, is known as a market town. This square in front of the church probably has more types of fruits and vegetables than my Safeway at home has in a year. You want bananas? Take your pick – small, medium, large, green, or maybe even their firmer cousin, the plantain. (more...)

tags: Culture, Food

location: Gualaceo, Azuay, Ecuador

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Vida Para Yasuní
March 9, 2012

Yasuní National Park in the northeast of Ecuador has been named one of the most biodiverse hotspots in the world, whith more amphibian species that all of the United States and Canada combined. It also contains an estimated 20% of Ecuador’s oil reserve.  Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa has presented the Yasuní-ITT initiative, which proposes that other countries pay Ecuador to not drill for oil. (more...)

tags: Culture, Environment, Streetlife/Graffiti, Ecosystems: Tropical Forest

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Mama Dog
February 17, 2012

Two things Cuenca has in abundance are dogs and graffiti. This house next to the Tomebamba River, which marks the edge of the historic center of Cuenca, boasts both. I don’t know what statement the artist of the spray-painted head was trying to make, but this mother dog’s statement was clear: stay away from my puppies. Her three balls of fur, big feet and wagging tails had clambered down the stairs to visit us during a bird-watching excursion. (more...)

tags: Culture, Art

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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An Impromptu Shower
February 6, 2012

We’ve learned that being wet is to be expected in Ecuador, and this waterfall on the side of the road didn’t disappoint. (more...)

tags: Environment, Ecosystems: Paramo, Ecosystems: Tropical Forest, Ecosystems: Cloud Forest

location: Loja, Loja, Ecuador

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Cat Nap
January 27, 2012

Cuenca’s Bioparque, el Zoológico Amaru, had its grand opening in December. The park boasts animals native to Ecuador and the mountain highland ecosystem surrounding Cuenca, in addition to animals from other parts of the world. Most of the animals are rescued from people who don’t know what it means to take care of exotic species, and the three adult lions who call the zoo home are no exception. (more...)

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location: Paccha, Azuay, Ecuador

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Lunchtime at Amaru
January 27, 2012

Galapagos tortoises, for whom Ecuador’s famous islands are named, can live to be over 100 years old. This tortoise, at Zoológico Amaru in northeastern Cuenca, is over 80 years old. Because she’s blind in one eye, she requires assistance with her meals. Tortoises aren’t known for their speed, and this applies to eating. (more...)

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location: Paccha, Azuay, Ecuador

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We put ourselves in boxes
January 18, 2012

We put ourselves in boxes: physical, occupational, mental, and national. At home in the U.S., we put boxes around everything. We pay architects and construction workers to create boxes made of wood and brick, and universities to teach us how to put a box around who we will be. In American high schools, everyone takes classes from a variety of disciplines, but in college, we become English or Biochemistry majors. We like categories, simple definitions into which we can fit life. (more...)

tags: Cultural Encounters: Student Blog

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Over the River
January 16, 2012

These stairs are one of three sets that connect the historic center of Cuenca to the Tomebamba River and the neighborhood where my Ecuadoran family lives.

tags: Culture, Architecture, Streetlife/Graffiti

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Traversing the Canopy
January 11, 2012

There was only one option if we wanted to continue our hike to the next mountaintop in the cloud forest outside of Mindo, a small town about 100 km away from Ecuador’s capital of Quito. This wooden box suspended hundreds of feet above the canopy by a metal cable would have required a consent form and a safety talk in the US. Here, we needed only to assure our guides that we did, in fact, want to continue. (more...)

tags:

location: Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador

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