Thursday, January 15, 2009

First biking aka Otavalo Roubaix

I paid the $8 and went on my first ride into the country. The first reaction is, after walking around a town for 10 days, a bike makes things much closer; it’s way faster than walking! I headed out of town to go to Panecillo to deliver a message for the Tandana Foundation. This is perfect mountain bike country; the roads are either paved and shoulderless (photo of the Pan American highway) or paved with stones (photo. For you 4-wheelers out there, the Paris Roubaix is a wildly famous bike race that includes many sections of pavé, French for “uneven rocky cobbles”). This road gradually faded to jungle as I left town (photo) and then to grassy path (photo), then to pig path, then Maria (photo) rescued me and showed me where to cross the creek and push my bike uphill through the corn field. She had walked about a mile each way to harvest this long grass to feed her guinea pigs (food and pets, more another day on that)

Awesome ride, sprang for two half-liter bottles of water at the top. In the 15 minutes I sat at the little store, these two tiny ones (photos) came by twice, to buy cumin and matches. Their daycare plan clearly includes walking back and forth to the corner store a lot.

Also on the ride, I encountered this amazing clothes washing scene. In my time at the helm, doing the laundry and minding the kid might have involved toys, a book, perhaps a couch. Not so here. I asked her if I might take her picture and she replied “for free or for pay?” I said for pay of course and gave her a buck and we were both happy (honest! I showed her this and other pictures afterwards and she smiled)


1 comment:

Brother David said...

Nice post! I tried to find Panecillo via google maps and came up with something that sits about 4K slightly S of W from Otavalo. Is that it?

You could write a whole monograph on roadway development based on that one ride. You spanned thousands of years on one little ride!

Never one to pass up a teaching moment about French: the English cognate for 'pavé' is 'paved' (and thus 'pavement'). Back in the day, cobbles were the bleeding edge of roadway technology, and that was as 'paved' as roads got. Fortunate was the Frenchperson who could roll his wheels upon those uneven bumps.

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