ECUADOR

While in Ecuador, I canoed down the Amazon to a jungle lodge, explored colonial churches and ancient ruins, and enjoyed bargain hunting at the Otavalo market. However, the time I spent in Banos stands out as the highlight of this journey. I met Cesar, a young Salasaca Indian, who had a weaving shop that displayed the amazing tapestries, wool fabrics, waistbands and ponchos handcrafted by his community. After becoming acquainted, Cesar affered me the opportunity to meet his family and see firshand how the weaving and vegetable dyes were created. His mother roasted corn and potatoes on an open fire, and after lunch, I met his extended family. I marvelled at the intricacy and beauty of their textile art. As Cesar so generously played the rondador (a wind instrument) for us, I fell in love with the music of the Andes. That day was an intimate glimpse into an artistic culture that, for generations, has maintained its original imagination and talents.