OK, so I´m still in Latacunga and the usual afternoon thunderstorm is just about to break outside. I was all set at 6.30 am this morning to head on down to Baños on my bike when, while having a coffee, the owner of the pink palace (it´s not really, it´s called Hotel Tilipulo) reminded me that Thursday is market day in the nearby village of Saquisili… it´s famous through Ecuador apparently for the size and íntensity´of the market… so a quick change of plan and by 7.30am I was in a taxi with 3 new friends from Arizona for the 20 minute journey. I could have cycled I suppose but it´s better not to have to worry about the security of the bike while wandering around a market.
(ooops, just been told off for bashing the keyboard too hard… !)
The weather was glorious first thing, lovely and fresh after a night of heavy rain. Cotopaxi looked magnificent 30km away. I hope she is like this when I come back this way. In the other direction the cone of Volcan Tungurahua was visible on the horizon spewing forth her column of ash… that is where I´m headed tomorrow but more on that in a minute.
Back to Saquisili (typing quietly now…)… the market reminded me very much of the Sunday Market in Kashgar, not as ancient and without quite the same ethnic diversity (or the camels!) but still very colourful, busy and interesting – very much a local market with everything from cattle to bananas to kitchenware on offer, with only a small area of tourist goods. I was using my Leica with a pocketful of film so you´re going to have to be patient with regard to photos, but I did snap a little bit of colour just to wet your appetite so to speak.
I´m quite happy to have the afternoon now to relax, I didn´t sleep well last night and I´m more tired than I expected. I´ll be in Baños tomorrow instead. I might go back to that cafe in a mo and see if they have any more teabags :o)
From Baños I want to head west to Riobamba where I can spend a couple of days exploring around Volcan Chimborazo. There is, or rather ´was´ a direct road from Baños but last info was that it had been closed due to volcanic activity, landslides and so on. I´ll ask in Baños, I´d like to try and get through on the bike rather than have to backtrack to Ambato and then go south to Riobamba. Heck, I can usually get a bike past stuff that stops anything else bar a mountain goat… and it makes things more interesting for sure…
So, that´s it for today… I only have one small bit of bother on my mind and that is what the heck was I thinking when I packed a white pair of cycling socks! I have 2 pairs of socks, one black (sensible), one white…. Very soon I think it will be one black and one grey (if not also black). I should have learned by now…!
p.s in case you are wondering why volcanos are always a ´she´in my writing… well think about it, take Cotopaxi for example, right now things are pretty frigid up there but with neither warning or reason she´s quite capable of spitting fire and brimstone when you least expect it. Female all over if you ask me….