Tag Archives: llamas

Tales from the Paramo

Out here in the Paramo there are no stars

Out here we is stoned


Lagunas de Mojanda

Ah, the American Dream. What’s it doing down here of all places? In South America? Get out from under mi cama you little rascal!

No, its not here. The American Dream is dead possibly, or at least off somehwere in the world dreaming, put to sleep after visiting the Cabazon dinos and buried under Mojave sands.

Everyone wants to know how much money I’ve spent so far. Not a lot really, considering the places we’ve been and how, but I’m still blowing through my life savings at a phenomenal rate. We all know your dedication, eating cold Spaghettios from a can in a hotel room in Vegas, said DJ Jared. And they weren’t even real Spaghettios, they were from the $1 store. And then there was the weird metallicy tasting chili with “extreme” lettering on the can to appeal to the youth of today and to set it apart from more boring chilis that your grandfather might enjoy. The truth is that this trip would’ve been a whole lot easier 15 years ago. Golden times for America they were when everything was 1/4 the price of what it is now and there were jobs everywhere.

Word up, it wasn’t that long ago.

The almighty dollar, now practically worthless.

How the mighty have fallen.

A gallon of regular gasoline is $1.50 here, in Ecuador.

Makes a man wistful.

Not a bad place to kill some time during the Patagonian winter.

I’m helping some people build a house near Quito.

When I first arrived, I sat there listening to them explain their plans for a new ecologically amiable home while watching their little kid struggle to fit an action figure into a hole on one of those little plastic boxes with the different shaped holes on the top.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it is not a good time for building anything of permanence, but not because of the rains.

Better to be building a throne on which to sit and watch the end of days.

Ecologically friendly “cob” house, built with mud and straw and sand all mixed together and then slopped to form.

Get some sand, some dirt, and some straw.

Mix it all together.

Then slop it to form.

The mix shown will yield about 10 feet of wall, a foot and a half wide, and about 3 or 4 inches thick. Many moons of backbreaking labor may yield a house.

Fuya Fuya

Tales from the Paramo: High in the Andes, undulating fields of grasses interspersed with terrifyingly tall mountains, volcanoes and weird plants make up the Ecuadorean paramo and give it a Dr. Seussian air. It’s all muy alto and a little day hike can top out over 14,000 feet.

Cochasaqui Pyramids: Grass covered pyramids out there in the Ecuadorable paramo. Perfectly aligned with another ancient relic placed miles away on the true equator by forgotten peoples, the Cochasaqui Pyramids were most likely used as some sort of observatory. With their builders dead and their use forgotten, llamas now graze the grassy paramo on which they stand.

Fuya Fuya: Fuya Fuya looms large over the Lagunas de Mojanda outside of Otavalo. The CB powered up the cobblystone access road in first gear and sputtered to a halt at 3800 meters. No matter, for we had arrived and there was no more road anyway, eaten alive by the encroaching waters of Laguna Negra. An epic landscape the likes of which I have never before seen, a feast for the eyes. At 4263 meters the summit of Fuya Fuya is just a shade under 14,000 feet.

Bonus Quito Track:

The Buns of Calderon: Bread Boys and Bread Girls and Bread Llamas and Bread Mamas. Little inedible bread figurines scultped and painted into all sorts of fantastic things line the shelves of shops in the Quitoan suburb of Calderon.

The Quito Basilica: Built on top of an ancient temple once aligned with Cochasaqui and other sites, it has been said that light filtering into the Basilica will illuminate the altar on the summer solstice. Only those in the know its true purpose, and shape. Do you?

Coming Soon: Going to the Sun and Other Myths