Saturday, March 25, 2006
Otavalo Market, Ecuador
No more road blocks this weekend! I made it to the Otavalo market and did a little tourist shopping and a lot of looking. The only things here I really liked were the wood carvings, so I got one. The weaving was not as good as I would have liked so passed on that, but I did see some very good uses for 205 liter and 60 liter drums.
In the morning it is off to Quito.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Ibarra: Protest March
Just to let you guys know that the road opened today, but I have decided that it is worth the time to stay an extra day and look at the public unrest, though very calm, and also a market day in a town called Otavalo. I am told that it is one of the biggest here in Ecuador and it is most active on Saturdays.
[Editor's note: The common border between Ecuador and Peru has been the source of conflict for the past 150 years. The most recent crisis began because of a poorly defined peace agreement between the two countries in 1942. The Rio Protocol, as it was called, took some 200,000 square kilometers of land from Ecuador and gave it to Peru. The poor description of the new frontier left come 100,000 square kilometers of the border unmarked when an unknown river appeared where the mountains were supposed to be. These rivers are the Santiago and Zamora and are located in the middle of the dense jungle between the two countries. As a result of the lack of clarity of the Rio Protocol, the two nations have been fighting on and off for the last fifty years, including two full scale wars and spasmodic frontier incidents.]
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Stuck in Ibarra
I am stranded here in Ibarra a few hundred Ks from the Colombia border and getting closer to Equator and Quito. I have been only stopped once after the border and this was for a police check (they made me remove the window tint from the doors)
and drug check. Yes, I had a dog go through my car.
The drive down from Colombia was a strange mix here of very fertile valleys at 1500 meters to almost high desert passes at 3500 meters. I noticed the difference in altitude between 3000 and 2500 meters but my car really does know what height it is at as I have had to adjust the diesel fuel rate to compensate. Got tired of the black smoke and hard starts.
From what I am told and see on the TV the Indians do not want the government here to agree to a free trade agreement in the Americas. (I just want to know what Simone Bolivar would say?) There also seems to be a big divide between the Indians and Ecuadorians, though no one will say much. It is just the way things are said. Seeing the news today, it is clear that the police are tired of the situation and are beginning too take down the road blocks that have been up now for a week or so. I guess that they feel that they have made their point and this is enough.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Border crossing into Ecuador
Still heading south. I have had a short delay at the Colombian / Ecuador border as the guys in Ecuador on Sunday did not know what to do so I had to wait till Monday to get my car permit. I am in Tulcan, Ecuador but will leave in the morning. As usual here in Ecuador there are road blocks set up because of some thing to with an anti-government movement. Hopefully it will go away in a day or two.