Posts Tagged With: indigenous

Cuenca of The People

Its full name is Santa Ana De Los Cuatro Rios De Cuenca. Four rivers flow through it and end up in the Amazon River and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It’s high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The world knows it simply as Cuenca. Thousands of Americans of retirement age call it home. And many travelers regardless of age know it as an absolutely fantastic place to visit. I came to Cuenca not expecting much. I had not done my research. This time I decided to let my next destination pleasantly surprise or disappoint me. I extended my stay in Cuenca. That should tell you something, especially since I am anxious to get to Peru. Cuenca and its nearby towns are a feast for the eye. Indigenous women dressed in traditional clothing are everywhere. The city, surrounded by mountains, gives a glimpse back to colonial and pre-Columbian times. There are Inca and Cañari  ruins. Beautiful colonial churches. Plazas and parks. And the spectacular Cajas National Park, a place of incredible natural beauty. And of course, the people make a city. The people in Cuenca are welcoming to foreigners. You wouldn’t have thousands of Americans and ex-pats from other countries living here if that were not the case. All over the city’s colonial center English is heard. If you are seeking a destination other than the usual, visit Cuenca. You will be glad you did. I’m happy I did. Here are some images of Cuenca and the nearby towns of Gualaceo, Chordeleg and Sigsig, all places that are worth a visit on Sundays to witness the indigenous food and arts and crafts markets on full blast. The smells. The colors. The Bustle! The incredible bargains!  Enjoy.

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Supia: Gold in these Hills

I took a trip three hours south of Medellin, to a town called Supia, where they have been mining for gold since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors. Along with friends Mauricio and Katrin of Munich, Germany, we set out to talk to the miners. They at first were understandably apprehensive about talking to us since they did not know who we were. But once we chatted a bit, they were more open and allowed us to take pictures. Some of these miners are operating outside of any government guidelines and so we understood the concern. They dig tunnels mining for gold while others sift the river. It’s dangerous work going down into these tunnels. And certainly hard work. The rocks and boulders you see scattered about the mine were removed by hand from the dug up tunnels by the men. No machinery! Just brute strength and will. The men said this particular mine was so far not yielding much gold and they would likely abandon it and dig another elsewhere. This is but one of several such mines in these foothills. There is gold here alright. Spain sent its conquistadors here after learning that the indigenous people were themselves finding lots of gold here. And when the conquerers could no longer rely on the indigenous people to do the backbreaking work, they brought slaves from Africa. That’s why there is such a large black population here, mainly in the nearby village of Guamal. They are the direct descendants of slaves. This area is rich with history that dates back nearly 500 years when the natives called this land home and had it all to themselves.

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