Friday, June 19, 2009

Haciendas and Andean markets

The cultural concert that was scheduled for tonight was cancelled (and then re-instated – that’s Ecuador!), thus Ryan & Nuala became free to take off for the weekend. The embassy office shuts down early on Fridays so we managed to get out of town a [little] bit earlier. Although it took us a while to get going after stopping for a snack at KFC and plodding through traffic. Driving in Ecuador seems quite similar to Malaysian Borneo: two-way traffic on windy roads through the mountains with large slow trucks belching exhaust and crazy people passing wildly on corners. Eventually you join the crazies because you get sick of breathing diesel smoke and also get impatient at going so slow. Otavalo is relatively close to Quito, but the drive takes so long due to traffic.
hacienda pinsaquiHosteria Hacienda Pinsaqui is a historic (tres siglos de historia - 3 centuries of history) hacienda located 5km north of Otavalo on the Panamerican highway. When it was built in 1790 it was originally a textile factory, but then an earthquake levelled most of the place and new owners turned it into a hotel. Revolutionary Simon Bolivar stayed at the place while en route from Quito to Bogota and an  important treaty between Ecuador and Columbia was signed in the room that's now the bar.  It's all pretty neat, and the rooms that were shown to us all smelled really old (that museum smell) but were very nicely decorated and equipped. We chose #6 with two double beds, a fireplace plus the added option of a loft bed above the bathroom.  Since the place is owned by a grandson of a former ambassador, they try to maintain diplomatic relations and as such Ryan’s presence ensured our comfort.
A "surprise" concert was put on for us by a local band of brothers who played traditional Andean music (pan flutes and guitars/mandolins and drum) while we enjoyed cinnamon tea with sugarcane alcohol in it (tasty - a perfect winter drink!) and then were encouraged to dance around while being poured shots of liquorice liquor by Hector. Pretty fun with the small crowd of guests.

We had dinner in the dinner at pinsaquirestaurant with an adorable little Otavaleno lady (standing up she was as tall as Ryan & I sitting down!) as our server. The food (I had Carne Colorada - locally spiced beef) was good and we're getting used to enjoying freshly made juices once again! 
We had some drinks in the room and played cards for hours (Julie never lost “president”) while the fire warmed up the room.

Reservations: Ph: (593-6)294-6116, manager Hector

Photos of this weekend –>

No comments: