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NAVC Amazon Expedition Day #2

Cheese And Biscochos On Our Field Guide “Table.” What a Delicious and Unusual Treat!
June 12, 2011

We slept well and were up and ready for the tasty breakfast buffet about 7:30 AM. At 8:30 our group rallied in the hotel lobby and boarded a large Turismo bus, which we filled, and headed for Otavalo, where the largest traditional market in Ecuador is located.

Along the way we stopped at the Equator and took some pics! The spot is called “The Middle of the World” and there’s a large cement glove marking the Equator. Di tried to walk straight on the actual equatorial line (purportedly very difficult to do with eyes closed and one foot before the other) and we also straddled the actual Equator. Cool stuff! The toilets supposedly flush “straight down” here!

Our next stop was in a town called Cayambe that lies at the base of a hug volcanic mountain (5,000 plus meters) by the same name. This small village is famous for it’s farmer’s cheese, supplied in small baggies, and hot savory biscuits, known as biscochos. As a special treat Carol and Doug purchased a couple of each for everyone on the bus! We enjoyed these amazing delicacies as we continued on towards our shopping destination.

The next stop was at a small roadside area where there was a closed Panama Hat store and a small shop with a beautiful view of the lake near Otavalo. There were colorful flowers, nice vistas, and a boy with some llamas. Of course we recorded dozens, if not hundreds (collectively), of electronic images, and headed on our way to Otavalo.

We reached Otavalo about 11:30 and shopped for a while before being divided into two lunch groups for seatings at Carol’s favorite little lunch shack called the Pie Shop. They served delicious sandwiches and even better pie! They had at least eight varieties to choose from. Di went with the passion fruit and I selected blackberry. Before lunch started out 1:30 group was getting hungry so I hailed a passing Indian woman selling coconuts in the shell. The thin, sweet milk was delicious and the meat tender and tasty!

Di got some great deals in the Market, including a Panama Hat for me, jewelry and sandals for her, a beautiful white blouse, and some other small items. We also ate some roasted plantain and local corn. Yum! Surrounding the Market were a variety of street food vendors selling fresh fried tilapia and other inexpensive delicacies.

We returned to the hotel about 5:30 and had some down time before the 7:00 PM welcome dinner and first couple lectures held on the 8th floor and a very nice dining room.
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