viernes, 20 de julio de 2018

Inti Raymi in Ecuador, the Inca party not to be missed in June!

Inti Raymi

The sun festival (Inti: sun, Raymi: party) is prepared for weeks. The natives thank the sun and Pasha Mama (Mother Earth) for the year's harvest with a colorful celebration, symbols and music. You can attend the Inti Raymi in Ecuador!
There were actually two sun festivals, the wawa inti raymi (children's sun festival) on the winter solstice, and the capaq inti raymi (great sun festival) on the summer solstice. The most important celebration is that of the rising sun, where the rebirth of the Sun is celebrated for a new cycle, the beginning of the Inca year.
It indicated the beginning of the year as well as the mythical origin of the Inca and lasted 9 days during which dances and sacrifices took place. The last Inti Raymi in the presence of the Inca emperor was held in 1535. It was subsequently banned in 1572 by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo being considered a pagan ceremony contrary to the Catholic faith, but nevertheless continued to be celebrated clandestinely. 

When?

In June, during the solstice (called summer solstice in the northern hemisphere or winter solstice in the southern hemisphere), which takes place around June 21. The solstices (in Latin "stopped Sun") are the moments of the year when the duration of the day or the night reaches the maximum.

In Europe it corresponds to the beginning of summer.

Where?

The major epicenters of this celebration are currently in the north of Ecuador, near Quito. In particular the populations of Otavalo, Peguche, Cotacachi, Cayambe, Zuleta.

But also all along the Ecuadorian Andes Cordillera, to the south. As in Kisapincha, near Ambato, Salasaka, Saraguro in the south or Ingapirca, temple of the sun of the Inca era with the Cañaris - Inca.

Origin of Inty Raymi?

The Sacred Festival of the Sun dates back to the time of the Inca Empire and is considered one of the most important of the festive calendar of the indigenous peoples of the Andes.

It marked the beginning of the new year and brought together the most important people of the empire. At the same time, the representatives of the conquered peoples reiterated their loyalty to the emperor. The preparation was strict, 3 days before people ate little, did not light fires in the cities and men did not sleep with their wives.

When the day came, the sovereign and his family waited for the sun barefoot. Then worship in the sun began with offerings and a great meal accompanied by Chicha. Celebrations could last several days.

Interesting: this cult survived the invasion, colonization and some dictatorial and even democratic systems wishing to eradicate it.

Current Celebration

The ceremonies include very dynamic popular theatrical performances with mythological characters like Aya Una. But also great dance rituals, popular music and an explosion of colors in the clothes of actors and participants.

Region: Imbabura

The Kichwa community of Imbabura, in the north of the country, has kept this ancestral tradition. For them, it is the beginning of a new year. It is the main celebration and by its characteristics one could consider it as their Christmas. The natives make and offer new clothes which will be worn on the day of the Mass of Saint John.

This spiritual feast is rich in symbols. Among them, the renewal of the energies of the people as well as the instruments played, the representation of the rotation and the translation of the earth, the representation of the symbol of wisdom through the dance of the serpent, the orientation of Aya Uma (mythological character with two heads representing the day and the night. And 12 horns, one for each month of the year. He embodies the spirit of the mountain that guides the dancers and accompanies them in all ceremonies dedicated to the sun, the moon and nature. The Aya Uma are carefully selected. They must be responsible, honest and respected by the community).

Preparation

During the month of May and the first 3 weeks of June the natives prepare themselves physically and spiritually for the realization of dances. They also gather all the ingredients to prepare Chicha (fermented corn-based drink), cuy (guinea pig), chicken, mote (corn), which are the main dishes of the celebration

Celebration

Inti Raymi is celebrated from house to house and from community to community. In all the houses the dancers are welcomed with drinks and dishes, whatever the time of their passage.

There is also a castle on an altar, surrounded by offerings from relatives or friends. Bread, bananas, alcohol, money, etc., products of mother earth and products symbolizing well-being. 

The dancers have to bend to the bath ritual, often in the nearest river in order to purify their spirit, renew their energy and strengthen their relationship with nature.

On the eve of the feast, the Mass of Saint John, symbol of the syncretism of peoples, is celebrated.

The day of the Inti Raymi, the main and most impressive event takes place. It is the "Toma" (the capture) of the main square of Otavalo. Where large groups of dancers (from 30 to 100) organized by each community, follow an impeccable script of songs, cries and particular movements. This ended with a great popular festival with dances, music, traditional dishes and drinks, including chicha. Sacred gifts, fireworks castles are surprising, they represent the power of light, fire and power.

The festival lasts several days and ends with the celebration of Saint Peter, which takes place in the main square of the community and is animated by a banda de pueblo (group of local musicians).

If you have the chance to visit Ecuador in this period of time you should absolutely go to Otavalo to see this incredible culture. It is the best way to do it. 


viernes, 22 de junio de 2018

Is Quechas are Incas ?

What are Quechuas in popular culture? They are worthy descendants of the Inca Empire of course. Well know it's not. The history of the Quechua people begins many years before the Inca civilization rose to power, and it continued to evolve in multi-faceted ways in the period after the arrival of Spanish conquerors and settlers in the 16th century.

The Quechua people today are not a single ethnic group, but rather several indigenous groups scattered throughout South America. For exemple there are the the Q’ero and the Wankas in Peru, the Kichwas and Otavalos in Ecuador, the Ingas in Colombia, and the Kolla in Bolivia. 

The people’s language 

Runa simi, or “the people’s language”, is another term for Quechua. As the Quechua people are very scattered across the Andes, there is not a single Quechua language.
The very first language called proto-Quechua, which developed some 2,000 years ago. Instead, there are regional varieties of Quechua. The Quechua spoken in Peru or Ecuador is not the same as the Quechua spoken in other countries. Quechua is a family of languages and, while there is some overlap, the varieties of Quechua are mutually unintelligible.
It is the most widely spoken indigenous language on the American continent and is a very imaginative language filled with richness and words that describe very complex feelings, observations of events, etc.

Under the Inca Empire, Quechua became the lingua franca for trade and communication in the Tawantinsuyo (traduction of Inca Empire en Quechua). Some outside groups already spoke Quechua, whereas others adopted the language when they were incorporated into the empire. The consensus among linguists is that the origins of Quechua are not in Cusco and that the Incas were not responsible for the spread of the language across the Andes – this with the exception of Bolivia and northern Argentina.
In the present-day, there are an estimated 8 million speakers of Quechua throughout the central Andes, though the exact numbers are not known. Peru has approximately 3.2 million Quechua speakers. Peru is considered the country with the highest number of Quechua speakers.

A living Andean culture

In the 21st century, the history and culture of the Quechua (and other indigenous groups) have become sources of great national pride. In Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, Quechua is recognized as a co-official language alongside Spanish; and in some majority-Andean regions, you can learn Quechua as a second language at school. Moreover, traditional practices of the Quechua people, with their handcrafted textiles and instantly recognizable dress, have become part and parcel of national identities and an integral component in tourist destinations. Festivals like Inti Raymi in Otavalo, conducted from start to finish in the Quechua language, are major attractions that showcase indigenous heritage in front of national and international audiences.
The valorization of Quechua culture in the present is a marked departure from the history of the Andes in the aftermath of Spanish colonization. Historical demographers estimate that in 1491 (before Columbus sailed), 6.5 million indigenous people inhabited the South American continent. By the end of the 1600s, the death toll was at 80%. Millions perished, if not from warfare and conflict, then from disease and poor living conditions. It would take four centuries for the total population of Latin America (including Eurasian emigrants, African slaves, and their mixed descendants) to match its pre-Conquest numbers. Meanwhile, the indigenous survivors of the Conquest were discriminated against and exploited, their communities destroyed or reconfigured, their autochthonous traditions repressed and almost erased. With this dark history as a backdrop, the persistence of Quechua culture speaks to an extraordinary will to live.
Today, while there is no sense of a unified “Quechua nation”, there is an incredibly rich set of living Andean traditions that coexist (easily and uneasily) within the dominant mestizo culture. In rare and remote places, communities are still organized as ayllus, self-sufficient networks of families who hold parcels of land in common and have reciprocal labor obligations. Economically, ayllus depend on subsistence farming and pastoralism to eke out a living. Houses are basic, consisting of adobe or stone walls and roofs thatched with ichu or straw. Although Peru enjoys a good international image, the country is still characterized by great economic inequalities, and unfortunately, indigenous communities bear the brunt of poverty.
Handicrafts play an important cultural and economic role. Some communities, such as Chinchero and Taquile, are renowned for the high quality of their textiles. The wool of llamas, alpacas, and sheep is spun, dyed in vibrant colors, and woven into blankets and clothing. Each community has its own patterns (pallay) and anthropomorphic designs that have been passed down over the generations and that communicate symbols and myths that are locally important. Examples of their work can be seen in the thick, multicolored ponchos typically worn by men, in the bright skirts and petticoats worn by women, and the chullos (warm hats with ear flaps) seen ubiquitously on the streets and at markets. The colorful textiles of the Quechuas and other indigenous groups are today internationally recognized motifs.

Quechua words you already know

In South America, Spanish and Quechua have a long history together and each language is sprinkled with loanwords from the other. Quechua words that have been adopted into Spanish include: cancha (enclosure; or also toasted corn), carpa (tent), chacra (farm), choclo (corn), cuy (guinea pig), papa (potato), poroto (bean), yapa (extra), wawa (infant), and zapallo (pumpkin).
Some Quechua words have also made it into English: coca, condor, guano, jerky (charqui), llama, pisco, puma, quinine, quinoa, and soroche (altitude sickness). The word lagniappe also has its origins in Quechua. In U.S. English, lagniappe, pronounced lan-yap, is most often heard on the Gulf Coast. It was adopted from Louisiana French, which borrowed from the Spanish creole phrase la ñapa, which in turn derives from the Quechua words “yapa” or “yapay,” meaning extra to to increase. In Andean markets, it’s still common for customers to ask for la yapa, that little something extra from shopkeepers to round out a purchase.

viernes, 8 de junio de 2018

History of the "Iglesia de la compañia de Jesús"

Museo iglesia de la compañía de Jesús 

History 

The church of the company is the summit of the baroque in Ecuador. It belongs to the Order of the Society of Jesus, which was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540. 


San Ignacio was born in Azpectia, Spain, belonged to a noble Spanish family, at first he had to enter the religious life but decided to devote himself to the militia, that's when in a battle defending the Castle of Pamplona is wounded with a cannonball in his leg, While he was recovering in the castle of Loyola he asked for books of chivalry to read but in this place there were only books about the life of the saints, from this point onwards, it was that Saint Ignatius adhered to the religion and decided to devote himself to the Christian religion and founded what we know today as the order of the Society of Jesus or also called Jesuits, the order was approved by him for Paul III. 

From 1605 onwards, the construction of the present church began, the plans of the church were attributed to Domenico Zampietri and were brought from Rome by Father Nicolás Duran Mastrili. The church was inspired in its architecture by the Church of Il Gesu in Rome, which is the mother and model of the Jesuit temples, and in terms of ornamentation it was inspired in the Church of Saint Ignatius, which is also in Rome. 


Architecture

For the construction of the church several materials were used, among which we find stone brought from the slopes of the Pichincha for the façade and the pillars, brick used in the arches and finally thin 23-carat gold sheets, which are distributed throughout the church giving thus about 52 kilograms of gold leaf sheets. 

In the church the artistic style that predominates is the Baroque, same that emerges in Europe and we can identify it by several characteristics first symmetry this is because there are the same number of elements on both sides of the church, the fear of emptiness that gives us the full occupation of the spaces with the decoration, the feeling of movement given by the Solomonic columns. We can also find the Mudejar style of Arabic origin and is based on the use of geometric figures this can be observed in the arches and pillars and the barrel vault, another style is the churrigueresque that arises in Spain and is based on the complete and abundant decoration and we can see it in the Altarpiece of Calvary and finally the neoclassical style that is in the Chapel of Mariana de Jesus. 

In the central nave we can see 2 biblical passages, represented in the spandrels that are the spaces above the arches two high reliefs made of cedar wood, to the right we find scenes on the life of Samson, same that we can see how they fight against a lion, with his enemies the Philistines, Delilah learns that his strength was in his hair and cut it to deliver it to the Philistines, Samson when he learns of this demolishes the temple of the Philistines. To his right is the biblical passage of Joseph, son of Jacob, who is sold into slavery by his brothers, then forgives them and at the end his dying father blesses Joseph and his brothers. In the pillars we find 16 pictures of the prophets of the Old Testament made by Nicholas Javier Goribar in the eighteenth century, prophets were those who carried the message of the promised Messiah of Israel, each prophet is with his prophecy written in Latin in the philately which is the white banner, we have the four major prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel called in this way to have more writings and 16 minor prophets: Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Malachi, Zechariah, Haggai, Habakkuk, Micah, Obadiah, and Joel.

The bases of the tower or bell tower of the church, this tower was of Florentine Gothic style and was considered one of the largest in Quito, had 8 bells made of bronze and tin, the tower must have been overthrown by the earthquakes that destroyed the first one in 1859 and the one that caused most damage was in 1868 is where the tower was overthrown.

Decorations 

 The picture of the prodigy is located in an internal chapel of St. Gabriel's College to which only the students and parents of the College have access. 
We can also find an urn in which the relics of St. Marianita de Jesus rest. St. Marianita de Jesus Paredes y Flores, was closely linked to the Jesuits since Brother Hernando de la Cruz was their spiritual advisor, St. Marianita was born in 1618, died on May 26, 1645 at the age of 26. and by his last will his remains are buried in this church in the altarpiece of the Virgin of Loreto. St. Marianita de Jesus was beatified on November 20, 1853 and her remains were taken to the Chapel that bears her name, in 1950 she was canonized and declared that her relics were taken to an urn located under the table of the high altar, where they are found until today. 

The dome of the transept is the main dome of the church here we can see 4 high reliefs of the evangelists we have Matthew with the child representing the human part, Luke with the ox representing the nobility, Mark with the lion representing the fortress and John with the eagle representing the wisdom. 

On the sides we find the twin altarpieces of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier, who are the founders of the order of the company of Jesus, in which we can find in the center the image of the saint and at the sides pictures that relate different moments of his life, in the altarpieces we find a very noticeable difference that is the brightness because on January 31, 1996 there was a fire by a short circuit that affected the altarpiece of St. Francis Xavier and part of the dome that were restored, but we can see some cherubim burned in the two places affected. 

The pulpit, which until 1960 was used to give the sermon, since it functioned as a sounding board that made the voice of the father heard throughout the church, the pulpit is the only asymmetrical object of the church. At the top we can see St. Paul who was known as the Apostle of the Gentiles, the whole pulpit is decorated with about 258 cherubs.

« La mampara » that is the internal door of the church, which had two functions, the first one was to separate the divine from the profane, and it also had an acoustic function since it did not allow the sound to leave or enter the church so that the mass could take place normally. At the top of the screen we find the image of St. John the Evangelist as a child with a lamb, who baptized Jesus, and is there since baptism is the first Christian sacrament. At the side we find the stairs to climb the choir something interesting about this is that the stairs on the right are actually painted this helps to keep the symmetry in the church this technique is called trompe l'oeil (eye trap). 

Painting 

Painting of hell that was elaborated by Brother Hernando de la Cruz in 1620, the picture we find here is a copy made by Alejandro Salas in 1879, in this picture we can see Lucifer in the center and 25 souls subjected to a deferential punishment each one. 


We also have the picture of the Last Judgement that was also elaborated by Brother Hernando de la Cruz, here we find the copy elaborated by Alejandro Salas, this picture is divided in three moments the first one. All are called to be judged, the second to the left the liberated souls and the right the sentenced souls, and the third moment in the center Jesus and the holy sides and angels. 

viernes, 11 de mayo de 2018

9 things you didn't know about Ecuador

9 things you didn't know about Ecuador

Geography

Located in South America, on either side of the Andes Cordillera that crosses the country from north to south, Ecuador is bordered by Peru (in the south and east, along a border of 1,420 km), Colombia (in the north, with a border 590 km long), and the Pacific Ocean (in the west). Ecuador also includes the Galapagos Islands.
From a geographical, climatic and human point of view, Ecuador can be divided into four natural regions:
- The Costa (coast) is a coastal region with a humid tropical climate to the north, semi-arid to the south. It forms a plain 800 km long, stretching from the slopes of the Andes Cordillera to the Pacific Ocean. Costa is also an area where bananas are grown, mainly for export, as well as other tropical products (mango, sugar cane etc.). The main city in this region is Guayaquil, an important port on the Pacific and the most populated city in the country.
- La Sierra is the high part of the country, in the Andes mountain range. In Ecuador, the Cordillera is divided into two parallel ranges, each comprising several volcanoes near or exceeding 5,000 m. The highest point of the country is Chimborazo (6,310 m), in the Western Cordillera but Cotopaxi (5,897 m), the highest active volcano in the world, located in the Eastern Cordillera is also very emblematic. The Sierra stretches 600 km from Tulcán, on the Colombian border, to the Loja region in the south. The main cities are Quito, capital of the country, in the north, and Cuenca, in the south.
- L’Oriente (Amazonia) is a region difficult to access, sparsely populated, criss-crossed by different tributaries of the Amazon River (including the Napo). This region with a humid tropical climate, which is part of the Amazonian forest, concentrates almost all of Ecuador's oil resources.
- The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago considered as heritage of humanity for the diversity of its species. The origin of the islands is volcanic.

Language of Ecuador 

In Ecuador, three forms of Spanish are spoken: Andean, Amazonian variations and Ecuadorian coastal Spanish. Ecuadorian Andean Spanish is similar to that spoken in Peru and Bolivia because of the influence of Quechua. The Amazonian variation also shows similarities with the indigenous languages of the region. Spanish spoken near the coast varies slightly from north to south.
Spanish, still called Castilian in Ecuador, is the mother tongue of 78% of Ecuadorians. The rest of the population are mostly indigenous people speaking their own languages. Here is a table showing the different majority languages by region.

Spanish Dialects and Variations

There is a big difference between the dialect spoken in Quito in the mountains and the dialect spoken in the coastal region of Guayaquil.
The Spanish spoken in Quito is considered to be one of the most accurately pronounced.
Andean Spanish is characterized by the use of many words from Quichua.
The coastal region of Esmeralda has some African language influences as a large part of the population of African origin.
In Guayaquil, Spanish is spoken much faster. Frequently, the "s" is vacuumed into an "h" and the extensive use of local slang makes it more difficult for foreigners to understand.

In 2008, the Ecuadorian constitution made Quechua and Shuar official languages of the country. This is a big step forward for all indigenous communities, as their culture has been recognized by the government.

Quechua 

1.5 million people speak Quechua fluently in Ecuador. Quechua was the vehicular language of the Inca civilization (but not its official language, which was Aymara). The current territorial extension of quechua is due to the fact that it was promoted to the rank of lengua general by the Spanish colonizer.
During the first millennium A.D., the language first spread via trade between the Chinchas and neighbouring peoples, notably in Cajamarca and as far as Ecuador.




Shuar
The Shuars are one of an ethnolinguistic group of Native American peoples living in the forests of the upper Amazon that were designated by the first Spanish invaders as Jivaros meaning wild.
Since the Second World War, the Shuar territory has been divided into two by the border separating Ecuador and Peru.
About 40,000 of them speak this language throughout the territory mentioned above.
The Amazonian populations do not have writing, their culture is based on the oral transmission of their History (myths, legends and shamanic rites).
Despite the strong penetration of Christian religions, shamanic animism is still very present and it is common to integrate an "Our Father" into a healing rite.
These two Amerindian languages are now an integral part of Ecuadorian culture. It is a great step forward for these peoples long persecuted by the colonizers.

Arms of the equator 

The current coat of arms of Ecuador was adopted by the Ecuadorian Congress in 1900, during the presidency of General Eloy Alfaro.
In the upper part, you can see a sun in the center of a zodiac; you can see the signs of Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer. These signs refer to the historical months of March, April, May and June, which correspond to the struggle between the Ecuadorians and General Flores, who came to power by force. Since the snows of Chimborazo, the Guayas River has symbolized brotherhood among Ecuadorians.
A steamboat floats on the upper part of the river. He refers to the first steamboat built on the Pacific coast, on the Guayaquil shipyards, in 1831. Its mast is a caduceus, symbol of navigation and trade.
The coat of arms rests on the axe and beams of the lictors of the Roman Republic, emblems of republican authority. It is surrounded by four national flags housing two branches, one palm, which symbolizes glory, and the other laurel, which represents triumph.
Above the coat of arms stands an Andean condor, with its open wings, ready to throw itself at the enemy; it symbolizes the power, greatness and value of the Ecuadorians.

Flag of the equator 

The flag of Ecuador was adopted on 26 September 1860.
Symbolic :
Yellow symbolizes gold, the abundance of agriculture and the natural wealth of the country.
Blue represents the ocean and the clear, clear sky (vision for the future) of Ecuador.
Finally the red symbolizes the blood shed by the heroes who bequeathed the Fatherland and Freedom (Patria y Libertad).
The flag of Ecuador resembles those of Colombia and Venezuela, all three deriving from the flag of Great Colombia. The Great Colombia is the name given to the Republic of Colombia from 1821 to 1831 to differentiate it from the present Colombia. The country was born from the independence of part of South America from Spain.

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of Ecuador located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, at the latitude of the equator. Isabela Island, the largest island, is some 1,102 km off the coast of Ecuador. A distance of 929 km separates the mainland from the most eastern of the islands, San Cristóbal. The archipelago is composed of about forty volcanic islands, it forms a province of Ecuador since 1832 with Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for capital. It is home to the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Galápagos Islands, in Spanish Islas Galápagos, are also called "Archipelago of Columbus", in Spanish Archipiélago de Colón. Unofficially, they are also called "the Enchanted", in Spanish Las Encantadas.
"Islas de los Galápagos" means "islands of sea turtles", in classic French Isles Tortoises.

The Galapagos Islands were uninhabited when they were explored by the Spanish in 1535. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the archipelago became a meeting place for pirates and buccaneers.
In 1835, Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, studied the diversity of species.
Ecuador officially annexed the Galapagos Archipelago in 1832. About a century later, the islands were inhabited by only a few settlers and were used as prison colonies, which were closed in 1959.
The archipelago officially became a national park in 1959. Organized tourism began in the late 1960s; several tens of thousands of people now visit the islands each year.

Among the 48 eminences that make up the Galapagos archipelago, it should be noted that only 19 of them are islands. The other 29 are uninhabited one, with the entire local population concentrated on the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, Isabela and Floreana.
The Galapagos Islands are islands of volcanic origin that emerged from a basaltic plateau.

The fauna is unique in the national park, each island contains its specific fauna. The archipelago is home to 58 species of birds of which 28 are endemic, unique varieties of reptiles and much more.
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador, or CONAIE), is a general organization created in 1986, with the aim of bringing together a large number of communities and local or regional associations of indigenous peoples, to act on the Ecuadorian national political scene by relaying with its representatives their legitimate historical, economic and socio-cultural aspirations.
From the end of the 19th century, the acceleration in population growth became formidable: from about 150,000 inhabitants at the end of the 16th century, 500,000 at the end of the 18th, 1,000,000 in 1886, the population multiplied by 10 and was estimated at 10,500,000 inhabitants in 1989.

Chimborazo

Chimborazo is a volcano in Ecuador that rises to an altitude of 6,263 m and is located near Riobamba, about 180 km south of Quito. It is the highest peak in the Ecuadorian Andes, dominating an area of 50,000 km2, its base being 20 km in diameter.
He is nicknamed Taita Chimborazo, that is Papa Chimborazo, the mother being Mama Tungurahua. It appears on the coat of arms of Ecuador.
Chimborazo can be defined as the highest peak in the world, considering it the farthest from the centre of the Earth2. Indeed, the earth has an ellipsoid shape, whose radius is about 21 km greater at the equator than at the poles, and the Chimborazo is closer to this equator, more than the peaks of the Himalayas. The summit of Chimborazo is therefore also the point on the Earth's surface at which the minimum distance to the Sun during a year is the smallest.

Mito y leyendas 

EL HUACAY - SIQUI
The reference of this zoomorphic being comes from the north of the province of Pichincha.

According to the story, the huacay sinqui is a young man who had a very sick mother. He took care of her every night, however, one of those nights when he left his mother's company to buy medicine, but when he came across a girl he was in love with, who invited him to a dance, he accepted by mistake and completely forgot about her dying mother, so during the party, they approached her to tell her that her mother had died, to which he replied almost unimportantly "there will be time to cry". So, when Tupa, the supreme god, became angry with him, after seeing his little sentimental value towards his mother, he punished him by turning him into a bird that cries at night.

The half-breed and the indigenous peasants describe him as a bird that leaves the gorges at six o'clock in the afternoon and emits a lugubrious song similar to human tears. He attacks people on his roads, causing accidents, and when he finds clothes and diapers of children drying outside the house, he looks at them and the children become tears, they say.

For this reason, precautions are taken to ensure that these clothes are not left outside the house after this period. Moreover, it is said that the Chiflon is so small that, especially when it is cold, it becomes present, to possess the body of this man or woman who feels an extreme cold to make him or her a joke or two. That's why in Pichincha it's very common to hear grandmothers say, "Wrap yourself warmly, son, so you don't get caught by the Chiflon ».

CARBUNCO
It is a fabulous animal, typical of the Sierra of our country. In the central and northern areas of this region, it is described as the devil's dog, which has a star in the middle of its forehead and eyes of fire that paralyze anyone who sees it.

It sometimes appears in dark nights and solitary places.
The one who crosses this being can be favoured, since those who know this legend say that anthrax gives and vomits a golden ball encrusted with precious stones... but the one who receives these jewels must not be ambitious, because if he does - immediately - anthrax discovers it, removes the treasure and swallows it, disappearing immediately in darkness, while the one who has shown himself ambitious can be blind or paralysed.

There are a great number of Ecuadorian legends and myths, it would take too long to make you know all this folk culture. If you want a blog article dedicated to these creatures of legends do not hesitate to share it with me in the comments.

Equator pyramid 

A fact that is little known in the world, but that we are here to show it, to reveal a little of our hidden history, of what does not appear in any school book. I have always thought that the fact that pyramids exist all over the world is due to the simple fact of their logic and their relatively simple construction for ancient cultures, as the saying goes: "It is much easier to stack pyramid-shaped stones than parthenon-shaped stones. However, there are details that we cannot ignore are repeated tirelessly and share identical characteristics.

We will begin by talking about something popular in my country, but perhaps unknown in the rest of the countries: The Pyramids of Cochasqui.

The Pyramids of Cochasqui (located 52 km north of Quito) is a supposed pre-Inca astronomical complex, a legacy of the Quitu-Cara culture, supposedly built again in the 5th century AD. These pyramids, 15 in total, have the particularity of being "cut" at the top and having a "seal" instead of a tip. Cochas literally means'landing in the middle of the water' or'half the world', a concept that gives us many ideas to fly, could we speak of an Ecuadorian Atlantis, or a complex Egyptian Giza? Let us remember that the complex of the Giza plateau in Egypt was also called by the ancient Egyptians as the very center of the planet earth.

In Bulk 

No time change 
You may not know it but Ecuador does not have a time zone like the others. It may sound silly, but here the debate of moving forward or back an hour for summer or winter time does not take place. Indeed, Ecuador as some other countries around do not change time. This means it won't be darker in winter (or summer depending on where you are). Isn't that beautiful?

Ecuador has many things to offer you thanks to its rich ancient culture and its many traditions. I've only done an overview of the previous themes, it would be far too long to detail everything in a single article.
If you want to know more about a specific topic, write it in the comments, I would be happy to create a more detailed blog post.

viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

how to prepare for the best vacation possible

In order to best prepare your vacation what are you planning? Are you the type to plan everything by the millimeter or rather the adventurer type?
In this blog article we offer you the essential steps to any good journey that respects itself. It is up to you to select information that concerns you for the perfect planning of your holidays.

1) When and how to leave? 


Choice of destination
First of all it goes without saying, you must choose a destination (certainly you already have it in mind). The idea is to select a starting city instead of a country in general. It is easier to plan your trip from Zagreb than from Croatia. Obviously, the more you do it in advance, the lower the rates will be, but not only. In order to fix you on a destination, informed you on Internet or to exchange with other people in order to select some useful advices.

Country information
One of the most important criteria when choosing a destination is the political and health conditions of the country chosen. Vida Verde recommends this website (available in French and German) to learn more about your destination. http://www.safetravel.ch.

Seasonality is also important in predicting the number of visitors you are likely to find. During the high season mass tourism is generally quite dense. If you decide to go out of season, you will get very advantageous prices, but you may encounter closed activities and monuments.
Furthermore, there is nothing more unpleasant than making a 15-hours trip and then having a week of rain. If it is obviously possible for you to place a holiday whenever you wish.

Transport on site / Flexible itinerary 
Holidays often have their share of unexpected things. Preparing your itinerary too carefully could be dangerous if there is any delay. Plan routes and activities in case of changes. Park your schedule in mind, but the purpose of the holiday is to enjoy and rest and not to go back home stressed out. Create a short list with the monuments you want to visit, restaurants, places of interest, etc. This will give you an overview on the spot and help you avoid getting lost.
Think about your means of transportation. Will you have to take a taxi? The subway? Take long walks? If you take public transport, make sure you know how it works in the country you are travelling to.

Thing to take away
Having taken into account all the weather and seasonality factors mentioned above, you are able to write a checklist with all the necessary equipment (clothes according to the temperature, toiletries, special medicines, bath linen, etc). Doing a checklist in advance prevents you from forgetting essential things that you may forget in the stress of the last day.

2) Organize logistics 

Evaluate expenses 
The cost of your trip will depend largely on what you choose to spend. Spend an hour or two determining what your trip will cost you and your fellow adventurers. Consider including airfare and transportation costs.
Always leave yourself a margin and prefer overpricing rather than underpricing. During a trip, unexpected expenses are inevitable.
- If the result of your calculations is higher than what you are willing to pay, save where you can. If this means shortening your stay, make this sacrifice.
- Once the expenses have been evaluated, you have a more or less defined vision of the amount you will have to pay to go on vacation. So you need to think about saving money for the trip.

do some research
By planning your trip in advance, you can save money on offers and other things you can find online, for your flights or accommodation on site. Find out what activities you can do and look for travel tips for your destination. Look for bargains and buy your hotel nights, museum tickets and flights at reduced prices.
For some destinations like Rome, you can book tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican. These tickets will allow you to get ahead of anyone who does not have a ticket (queues are often very long). You should go to check if such ticket exists for the places you covet.

It is generally advisable to book your plane tickets about 2 months in advance: this is when airlines start to sell their flights, before going up the price for last-minute travellers.
If you are travelling abroad, take the time to learn the basics of the country's language. You will be very happy to have made the effort and your interlocutors too. Prepare a short list of important words by theme (Restaurant, transport, greetings, etc.)

Travel credit card
If you can, get a travel credit card. Today, many credit cards are associated with major airlines. You can earn miles every time you make an expense. You can use this card for all your daily expenses and see your mileage balance skyrocket. Just make sure you don't get into the red!
Many airlines also have partnerships with department stores such as Amazon or Apple. You can then earn miles by shopping in these stores. What more could you ask for? You shop there anyway, so why not take advantage of it to get a free flight.

3) Taking action 

Book hotel and flight 
Once all your research are done, it's time to get down to business. This is the big moment for reservations. For the flights, if you are flexible on the duration of the journey and that you do not wish to pay too expensive we propose you these 2 sites: kayak.com; skyscanner.com 
Be sure to either download the application to have all bookings in one place or print all documents to prove your booking. 

Travel insurance 
Think about your travel insurance. If you may not want to pay full pot for a minor risk, still make sure you're protected in case you can't travel on the dates you booked your tickets. A travel insurance for one week will usually cost you about 30 dollars. It's not very expensive if you think about the security you'll gain.
Also remember when renting a car to take out additional insurance (certain a little more expensive, but it avoids you having to pay astronomical amounts in case of problem). 

Valid passport 
If you are going abroad, make sure your passport is still valid. In many countries, it must now still be valid three months after your departure date. To travel to certain countries, you will also need a visa. Is it the case of your destination? If so, apply for your visa as soon as possible. If you can't get your visa in time, you can say goodbye to your trip. Unless you find yourself facing a corrupt officer who will settle for a few bills, you will have to turn around and go home.
Keep your passport, travel documents, visa and other such items in a pocket. It would be best to make copies of these documents and keep them in a safe place. It will then be much easier for you to replace a document that you have lost.

Inform family of departure
Inform your loved ones of your departure. Always inform at least one friend of your departure. If possible, leave a number or address where you can be contacted. You can thus be warned in the event of an accident or other event. And if something goes wrong on your end, your loved ones will know where to find you. 
Don't do like Aron Ralston who left without warning anyone and found himself stuck for 127 hours alone in the gorges of Utah (reference to the film 127 hours).

4) Organize details 

Vaccine 
What could be more dangerous than going to a destination and realizing on the spot that you do not have the necessary vaccines. In some parts of the world certain types of vaccines are mandatory if you wish to enter. Take the time to inform yourself on various sites including: safetravel.ch mentioned above.

Travel light
On vacation, no one ever said to themselves, "I'm so glad I brought my entire wardrobe. Save space in your suitcase for the souvenirs you buy. Also, travelling with a lot of luggage is impractical and restricts your freedom of movement. Only bring what you need.
Just bring basic clothes and two pairs of shoes. No matter how long your trip, you won't need more clothes. A few simple t-shirts and a few pants, shorts or skirts will suffice. You can then assemble them into different outfits.
Roll up your clothes before placing them in your suitcase. This will save you space and allow you to bring back this authentic Tiki torch if you feel like it.

Let's GO 
Get out of here! Itinerary? Check. Passport and visa? Check. Various reservations? Check. All you have to do now is leave and enjoy your vacation. That'll be the easy part. Now it's time to relax!
Leave your personal and professional troubles behind. Otherwise you will have prepared this trip for nothing and will still feel at home. Forget your computer and your phone, it's time for adventure!

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2018


10 Ecuadorian foods you need to try during your stay

The Ecuadorian kitchen is not very well known if you are not familiar with a little bit of the Andes culture. However it very important for family here, because they really like to share a good meal with family or friends. What’s better than a good little dish to learn more about this rich culture?
Today we are going to present you some of the most famous meals from all around the Ecuador. Sometimes you will find one of them only in a certain area of the country. It is mainly due to the different regions (The Amazon, the Sierra and the Pacific Coast).
Across the country you’ll find a broad spectrum of national and regional dishes, including shrimp, toasted corn and pastries stuffed with spiced meats.

Appetizer

Soups are without doubt Ecuador’s specialty. Most lunches and dinners are accompanied by a savory soup as the first course. Locro, made with cheese, avocado and potato, sounds a bit odd, but is actually quite tasty.

Caldo de bolas de verde // green plantain dumpling soup
Caldo de bolas or sopa de bolas de verde is a typical soup from the Coastal region in Ecuador. It is a soup made with dumplings or balls made from Green plantains and mixed with meat and vegetables. It is served in a beef broth with corn and yuca. You can serve it with lemon and Aji hot sauce (an Ecuadorian hot sauce made with hot peppers, cilantro, garlic, onion and lime).

Fried cheese empanadas // Empanadas de viento
Empanadas de viento or fried cheese empanadas are the most traditional and the most delicious meal from Ecuador. They are filled with cheese and fried until crispy. This empanada de viento is served with sugar, but you have other kind of empanadas salted. these empanadas de viento are the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack but you can also eat them as an appetizer.

Diches

The signature dish of the country, however, is ceviche, a seafood dish marinated in lemon and onions.

Thin beef skewers // Ecuadorian carne en palito
These grilled thin beef skewers, or Ecuadorian carne en palito, are made with thinly sliced meat seasoned with orange juice, garlic, achiote and cumin. It is eaten generally during carnival or in honor of the virgen del Cisne every September.




Vegetarian ceviche de chochos or Ceviche
One of the most popular street foods in the Ecuadorian Sierra or Andean Highlands is a vegetarian ceviche made with chochos in a sauce of lime, orange and tomato with onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. But there are a lot of different kinds of Ceviche, mainly mad with seafood of fish.

Braised goat stew // Ecuadorian seco de chivo
Ecuadorian seco de chivo is a goat stew dish braised in a sauce of garlic, cumin, achiote, oregano, peppers, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, chicha or fermented corn drink, naranjilla or lulo juice, panela and spices. Seco de chivo is goat stew and is special occasion food in Ecuador. Traditionally, seco de chivo was made with chicha, a fermented corn beverage favored by the Incas. Nowadays beer is more common. Tart fruit juices are often added as well for added flavor and to offset any gaminess.

Ecuadorian churrasco // Steak with fried egg
Chrrasco is a plat well known in Brazil or Argentina but a little less in Ecuador. It is like the little cousin of the Brazilian one. It is made with a thin cut of steak, and it actually refers to an entire plate of food: a grilled, or sometimes fried with onions and peppers, steak topped with a fried egg served with rice, French fries, ripe plantains, a small salad, avocado slices and hot sauce.

Cuy
Travel in the highlands of Inca country, and you're likely to be offered cuy, a traditional Andean entree, on the menu.
Cuy, alternately called Cobayo or conejillo de indias is a guinea pig or cavy. The taste is compared to rabbit, thought delicious, and though difficult to accept for people in other countries who regard guinea pigs as pets, the cuy is a staple of Andean cuisine. They are called "cuy" for the sound they make cuy, cuy.
The taste of guinea pig is difficult to describe and depends on how it is cooked. In Ecuador it is often cooked over an open spit; it reminds me of chicken wings or some other kind of dark meat.

Desert

Dulce de higos or fig preserves in syrup
This is a very traditional desert here in Ecuador. It is made with figs preserved in spiced syrup of panela / piloncillo or simply brown sugar and spices. This desert could be served in a humble family as well as a famous restaurant. These caramelized figs are usually served with a slice of fresh cheese, queso fresco or quesillo, to help balance the sweetness.

Pineapple flan // Flan de piña
In Ecuador, especially on the coast, it is very common to find flans made with pineapple, coconut, mango, or other fruit. Pineapple flan, also known as flan de piña or queso de piña, is custard like dessert made with fresh pineapple juice, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla and rum.
There is a variant of the flan, the dessert known as pineapple cheese in Ecuador is a cheesecake to which pineapple is added and is very popular in the country. It doesn't need to be baked, which makes it an even easier dessert to make. As it is cold, it is a dessert especially consumed in summer.

Beverages

Canelazo and naranjillazo spiced drinks
Canelazo is a traditional spiced hot drink from the highlands in Ecuador. The original canelazo recipe is made by boiling water with cinnamon and sugar or panela, and then it is mixed with a local sugar cane alcohol called punta or aguardiente. It is mainly appreciate in Quito because it is generally cold during nights. This is where hot canelazo comes in; if you are feeling the cold a drink of canelazo will definitely warm you up.

Colada Morada // Ecuadorian spiced berry and purple corn drink
Colada morada or spiced berry and purple corn drink is a traditional Ecuadorian drink made with fruits, spices, and purple corn flour. It is prepared for the day of the Deceased or el Dia de los Difuntos celebrations in Ecuador. It is a day to honor and remember all the loved ones who have passed away. As with most Latin holidays and events, there is always a food aspect to any special day, in this case one of those food components is a thick purple drink called colada morada. This drink is made with fruits, spices, and purple/black corn flour. It is typically served with sweet breads shaped in the form of dolls called guaguas de pan.

Colada de avena con naranjilla or Ecuadorian oatmeal drink
Colada de avena con naranjilla, also known as refresco de avena or sometimes just quaker ,  is a refreshing drink made from oats and fruit.
Colada is generally served with breakfast or lunch but it is more appreciate by kids after the school. The most common way to prepare it, is with oats, water, cinnamon, panela or hard brown sugar and a very tart fruit called naranjilla.
You can make it also with milk or other kind of fruits (pineapple, maracuya or passion fruit, babaco or mountain papaya).

It is only a little view of the culture and the enormous variety of the Ecuadorian cuisine. A large number of these dishes are very simple to find at the market or restaurants. The stomach is the most effective way to perceive the way of life of a country's population. We wish you a good lunch.

jueves, 22 de febrero de 2018

things to do before coming to Ecuador

Things to do before arriving in Ecuador 

Located between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is a country in Latin America that is often little-known. 
It has one of the highest capitals in the world, based at 2'800 meters above sea level Quito overlooks its compatriots. 
The country itself has a very varied fields due to its high concentration of volcanoes. Speaking of volcanoes, Ecuador has the highest one in the world, the Chimborazo reaching an altitude of 6,263 meters.
It is a country divided into three distinct regions: the Pacific Coast, the Andean Cordillera and the Ecuadorian Amazon. Added to this are the Galapagos, a unique wildlife reservoir in the world.

Seasons 

Ecuador has a pleasant tropical climate that varies from region to region. The climate is very changeable, you can quickly pass from the marvellous sun to a torrential rain in a few hours.
There are 2 less and less differentiated seasons in Ecuador: 
  • The rainy season: from December to May, the climate is hot and humid.
  • The dry season: from June to November, the climate is dry with cooler temperatures.

Jetlag

Ecuador is in the GMT -5 zone (-6 for Galapagos), which corresponds to minus 7 hours in summer, and minus 6 hours in winter compared to Switzerland.

Visas 

Entry Visa: You must have a valid passport with an expiry date of 6 months after your return date. Usually you do not need a Visa if you want to make a tourist stay of less than 3 months and according to the country you come from. These conditions may change. Please check with the Ecuadorian Consulate in your country before departure to confirm this.

Money

In Ecuador, the official currency is the US dollar USD. Most credit cards are accepted in department stores and restaurants, and you can withdraw cash from domestic banks such as Pichincha Bank. 
It is advisable not to carry too much money when you walk in the street. 

Tips 

It is customary in Ecuador to reward the guide and driver who accompanied you throughout your trip.
At the end of your stay, do not forget to reward the work of those who will have "pampered" you throughout your journey by taking to heart to make you discover their country with passion.
We remind you that tips from guides and drivers are not included as they are not billed.

vaccinations

No vaccinations are mandatory in Ecuador, but we do advise you to be up-to-date on the "typical" vaccines of the traveller such as DT Polio, Hepatitis A and B. The yellow fever vaccine and malaria treatment are highly recommended for any stay in the Amazon.


Electricity

Standard American plug (2 flat plugs, 110 V, 60 Hz). Provide a universal or US-specific adapter.


Cars rent

The minimum age required according to the rental companies is often 25 years. You will be required to present an identity document and your country's driver's licence at the time of booking and at each police checkpoint. Road conditions in Ecuador are generally good, but the indications are not always present. We recommend that you exercise extreme caution and consult the insurance coverage limits. Driving in Quito during rush hour can be difficult, so we advise you to avoid working hours and rainy days (yes Ecuadorians generally don't like the rain). 


Security 

Ecuador is a fairly safe country. It does not present any particular danger to travellers who take a minimum of precautions and use common sense.

We recommend in particular:
  • Prohibit external signs of wealth,
  • to travel "compact",
  • Do not leave your bags and cameras unattended,
  • to use the safes in hotels when they are available,
  • take with you a photocopy of your documents (passport, driving licence,...)