8/4/15 — Cotacachi Cool (when I’m not napping!)

Note to self: Don’t deprive myself of sleep again before a long trip! Guess I was too excited. And I left too many things for the last minute. And I had a flight that left at 5:20am. And I had read that one of the symptoms of landing at a very high altitude location is tiredness. Oh well. Despite my intermittent napping, I’ve managed to do a whole bunch of walking around the cute, shop laden streets of Cotacachi (including a wonderful leather district)and t ake in a delicious dinner last night at D’ Anita, around the corner from my lovely little hotel, Hostal El Arbolito on Calle Imbabura.  When I somehow communicated that I wanted to know where to eat (with the gesture indicating putting food in my mouth), my hotel proprietor recommended D’Anita. I enjoyed a fabulously tasty Shrimp Ceviche and a wonderful Chicken Soup. And it didn’t hurt when the very nice owner of the restaurant honored me with a free ice cream for dessert. He spoke enough English so that we could communicate fairly well. That brings me to the subject of language and how I’ve managed so far using only gestures, the thumbs up sign, lots of smiles, and the infinitesimal amount of Spanish I know. But I must say it’s gone pretty well so far despite my language barrier.

Only one potentially disturbing event occurred because of my poor language skills: After dinner at D’Anita, which was just about 3 blocks from my hotel, I realized I couldn’t remember which direction to take to get back to my hotel. I berated myself for not paying attention on the way to the restaurant. Nothing looked familiar to me as I walked, and walked, and walked. Luckily, my sense of humor kicked in keeping me somewhat distanced from my other thoughts like: Omg, I can’t even remember the name of my hotel!!! So I can’t even ask where the hotel is!!! Thoughts like: I could be out here for hours, even all night. Thoughts like: it’s getting deserted out here and I’m passing fewer and fewer pedestrians. I wasn’t afraid for my safety at all but I still thought I’d better start stopping someone before there was no one to ask. First was a couple. I say: “Hable’ usted Ingles?”; They say “No!”; (a universally understood word) and they keep walking. A little later I stop two men strolling on the opposite sidewalk. “Hable’ usted Ingles?” They say “No!” but seem to want to help. I say “Hotel?” and put my hands up to indicate I’m in a quandary. One of the men names a hotel I don’t know and I indicate it’;s not the one. He then names several other hotels which weren’t right. He finally says “Arbolito?” As soon as I heard this, I knew this was my hotel. I say “Si, si, Senor!”; excitedly. He points to the next corner and indicates I should turn right there. What relief I felt. And also immense gratitude for my good luck. I followed his directions and sure enough, there was my hotel! Another adventure was under my belt!!

The weather is perfect here in Cotacachi, from my point of view. Low to mid 70’s in the day time with a very nice, cool, consistent breeze. The sun has been out the whole time I’ve been here, with a few passing clouds. In the evening, the temperature falls to mid to high 50’s. This is my ideal range for comfort. The streets are so enjoyable to walk along. Tame and gentle dogs are resting and strolling along the streets, without collars like in the U.S. Their freedom reminds me of the old western movies where the frontier dogs are portrayed just like this.

You look down any street here and you see lovely mountains in the distance. There are a load of leather goods shops selling everything from jackets and handbags to attache cases, wallets, and shoes. Prices are at least half to two-thirds less than what I’ve seen in New York. You almost can’t resist. And I didn’t. Bought 2 shoulder bags. Couldn’t resist the prices!!!

Renatta and her dad, Carlos are about to pick me up. We’ll be having lunch and then off to Carlos’ house. Later!

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