fresh walnuts from the tree
Ok since everyone knows I like to eat.. here is more about food. The food at the lodge for the past week, we cooked ourselves the first weekend then after there was an Ecuadorian cook. The Ecuadorian food was interesting. Every meal including breakfast was served with lots of white rice. The farm was surrounded by rice fields. Even though it was extremely hot and humid they served something hot (herbal tea, coffee or chocolate) with breakfast and dinner and a hot soup with lunch. We had stopped at the market to purchase food on the way to the farm and large grain sack (I think said 50kilos.. of what I dont know but the large sacks that are maybe 4 or 5 ft tall) was filled with vegetables, including a couple heads of lettuce, a few lbs of potatoes, onions, beans, garlic chard, tomatoes, broccoli and many other vegetables.. the total cost.. $12.. I was told its cheaper out there because it is the farming area and obviously the more one buys the more the discount. Interestingly enough they dont seem to eat much vegetables but many many starches. I have often had meals of pasta potatoes or plantains and rice and normally chicken or lentils/beans and a very small portion of salad or vegetable. They eat alot of plantains which have to be cooked and can be put in with lentils or can be fried in different ways. We also bought fruit which it appears they dont eat, but instead make into juice. I believe its juiced then water and sugar and some spices are often added like cinnamon. I really liked the watermelon juice which I have only had maybe once before. In banos my favorite was the coconut milk juices which you could get with just coconut or have added other juices. I also tried mate a strong thick tea of sorts, while I was there which is not Ecuadorian but Argentinian.
The other travelers I have met have been interesting. The first group I traveled with was a group of 5 boys from 1 from Canada, 2 Ireland, 1 from Germany, and 1 from Latvia but has lived in London for many years. I got to know the Latvian boy the best as he was more interested in exploring and hking than the Irish boys (Which I know you wont believe this but they were more interested in drinking). He was very interesting and had a goal of seeing 100 countries by the time he was 30 and he was well on his way. Do you know how many countries there are? 192. I think I have only seen about 20 something countries. So little of the world.
In Banos on the farm the other travelers I met were from US, England, France, Germany (another Beliner) and were from 18-24 years old. Yikes I am old. The two 18 year olds from England were on a gap year, which I met two girls from NY today who were also 19 and just graduated taking a year before going to College. The person I was with on the farm the longest and got to know the best was a 21 year old college student from Washington. We ended up traveling together for a few days after the first farm.. I had to laugh at how many people thought we were a couple. At this last farm I was with two Czech boys and a French girl. The days were so hot and humid I just wanted to sleep. I have really enjoyed the other travelers I have met.
So far English has been the international language. This past farm none of us knew Spanish so it was challenging to communicate with the workers. They have lots of knowledge that they want to share and are so friendly and nice but I cant understand what they are saying and has been frustrating. I need to really work on my Spanish.
Tomorrow starts a new day and a new adventure! I am not sure what my plans are, I have too many ideas and likely not enough time. As always I want to cram in as much as I can but perhaps I should focus on relaxing and learning Spanish, but alas.. I will put off the decision till I have a better feel of what my next destination is like.