Sunday, May 30, 2010
Is it true that Cubans really like to eat? I know they like a strong tiny cup of coffee. I have a Cuban American friend and geocacher who recently hid several food-related caches in the Metropolitano Park overlooking Quito. I really liked Media Noche (GC24HP0) because it was well hidden and the prize was a recipe for a Cuban sandwich of the same name. I brought it home and that very day, twelve hours off the mark, my wife prepared the sandwich. It was great. I recommend you find the cache and that you fix up a Media Noche for yourself. If you can't travel to Ecuador, google it for the recipe and make your own. Imagine: cheese, pork, ham and a special mustard sauce. Good eating!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
When I came to Cusco several years ago I thought there were some geocaches out in the Sacred Valley. I guess they've been muggled and removed. I was disappointed. We traveled from the high plains (altiplano) town of Juliaca by bus one evening, arriving in the rainy city of Cuzco. We spent the next day visiting with friends. On Monday we had a day to ourselves. We hired a tour and went out to the Sacred Valley. What an experience. Our first stop was Chinchero village, a small town with many Inca ruins and artisan shops. It was fun but the real fun for me were the ruins we'd see later. We saw the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo with the many terraces climbing up the side of a mountain. We had a good meal at noon in one of the towns. Upon leaving town we got word that there had been a landslide that killed some people in Pisac. We had hoped to see the ruins there but could not get through. Recent floods had washed out one of the bridges as well. We back tracked to Moray, where the guide said the Inca had established an agricultural experimental center. There we found the amphitheater-like location. We climbed down into it and were amazed at the construction. We had a great day. I wish there had been some caches in the area!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
We recently returned to Ecuador from a time in the US. It was nice to find that there are a few new earthcaches here now. One is San Pablo + Imbabura (GC20FQZ), located along the scenic Panamerican Highway 1.5 hours north of Quito just after you enter into the province of Imbabura. The site of the earthcache is a large lake formed thousands of years ago at the base of the Imbabura volcano. Be sure to visit the shops at the location. Fresh cheese and all kinds of items are on sale here. Get you photo made with the lake behind you too! This fine couple did. Further down the road you come to the Indian market city of Otavalo. There you can purchase all types of Indian artisan items. You are in the heart of the Otavalo Quichua people, one of the most productive and progressive Quichua peoples in the country. All around you are places to see and things to do. There are waterfalls, volcanos to climb, volcano lakes, hiking trails, woodworking and sales, leather works and more.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Recently I had a wonderful visit from MTMAN2, a physician who came as a volunteer on a medical team to work with one of the local churches ministering in the poorer communities. MTMAN2 had come to Quito several times before and had even found one or two of my caches. He wrote me and arranged for us to meet. We were able to arrange a day of geocaching. All in all MTMAN2 was able to rack up 20 caches that day, most in Parque Metropolitano. We began in the valley far below the park where he was staying. I drove out to Cumbaya (no singing please, that is the real name) and met him. We went down the street less than half a kilometer where he became the first one to find and sign the log on a micro hidden in the Cumbaya Reservoir. Someone had indicated a find some months back but they must not have had a pen in the moment. We then climbed up several thousand feet in elevation in the car to the Metropolitan Park on a mountain ridgeline overlooking the Cumbaya Valley to the east and the city of Quito to the west. From here on I pretty much served as a guide with the exception of one find which we did together. It was a fun day off caching and visiting. Several days before hand I hid a cache in honor of my new friend. It is called MTMAN2 surveys his work (GC23Z9P), because MTMAN2 has been working in the Cumbaya Valley with medical teams. It was a fun hide, one that resulted in me spending a little time in my shop preparing this cache. I won't go into the make up of this micro cache, I'll just say that it is a little tricky and completely different from anything we've seen so far in Ecuador. I guess it pays to cache some in the US where you can pick up some tricks. I look forward to when my geocaching friend returns to Quito for some more caching. He comes every two years to Quito and goes to other places the odd years. Thanks MTMAN2 for a great day of caching fun!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
We had just arrived back in Ecuador with a handful of Travel Bugs and Geocoins that we brought from our furlough in the US. It took us about a week to get the house in order and get to the point we could give some time to geocaching. Finally on Saturday we decided to go up to the park overlooking the city of Quito and do some cache maintenance, hide a few caches and even find one. In spite of the drought Ecuador is experiencing (power outages from the lack of hydro-electric production, etc.) we had a beautiful, sunny day. The grass was dry and we saw sign that some of the area had been burned by forest fire. We headed out with our hiking poles to find the one and only cache here we'd never found. It was Ropa Vieja (GC). We hiked across two small, rolling hills and down a trail to make an easy find of this one. Thanks FreeCuba for the cache. It means "Old Clothes". It wasn't until two days later while reading Facebook that I noticed that FreeCuba was keeping the kids and playing batchelor. He posted a picture of a steaming plate of rice with a delicious looking thick meat stew on top. It was called Ropa Vieja. The story in Cuba is that a poor man didn't have enough food for his family so he cooked some of his clothes and it was turned into food to feed his family. I wrote and found out that the cache is named after this favorite dish of his. From Ropa Vieja we checked on a few more of our caches, two being TB Hotels where we dropped all the travelers we had. Then it was time to check on some caches that we'd temporarily archived. While we were gone all this time a few had gone missing. Don't you hate it when one of your favorite cache containers goes missing! Near the big yellow alien figure was a really nice blue lock n lock container that is now gone. My wife had three caches to hide. That ought to give the few cachers we have here and the tourist who come through something to do. It will seem that we are preoccupied with old clothes when your read about this next one. Close to the place where she hide her last cache we found a pair of blue jeans on the ground. Just recently a YouTube song had gone viral called "Pants on the Ground". It was from an America Idol audition and it was funny. Paula couldn't resist naming the cache by the same name. We wrapped up a four-hour outing at a small snack bar in the park. This the way I like to spend an afternoon with my Paula!