Colombia is home to about 20% of the world’s birds. The bird immortalized in painting and sculpture around Cartagena is the Maria Mulata. A medium-sized bird of iridescent black or brown, Maria Mulata is neither blackbird or raven. Maria Mulata’s official name is the great- tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus).
The story of Maria Mulata is a traditional tale shared with Two Who Trek by several local residents. Long ago, in the barrio of Getsemani, people and exotic animals co-existed. One of the animals was a vividly colored bird called Maria Mulata. When a raging fire overtook the neighborhood, Maria Mulatas carried the people to safety. The people were saved and forever grateful to their deliverers. Discolored by the fire and smoke, the bird’s colorful feathers remain blackened to this day but with proper sunlight, we can still see a hint of Maria Mulata’s former plumage. Continue reading
Categories: animals, art, artistic, background, birds, blog, Cartagena, Colombia, displays, folklore, nature, photos, travel
Tags: art, artist, artistic, bird, blog, Cartagena, Colombia, folklore, grackle, maria mulata, museum, photos, theatre, travel
Two Who Trek let the wool get pulled over their eyes
One day at school Two Who Trek and their teachers were talking with other teachers and students when an idea started to take place. Why not play hockey for a day? Because there are no ice rinks in Cuenca, we all decided to play hookey instead, head to a neighboring town, and take a tour of place where artisans make woolen products by hand. We picked a date and decided to rely on public transportation to get there rather than take taxis.
Riding on the public bus system is an event all its own. Travel light and have lots of change. For less than $1, you can be transported from the center of old town Cuenca to the outlying towns. See vendors boarding the bus, selling everything from chocolate bars at 3 for $1, to an organic panacea of uncertain origin for curing most physical maladies. The vendors give you a sample of their wares as they walk through the bus aisle and give their speech. If you choose not to buy, politely and firmly return the merchandise when they are at the end of the presentation. Continue reading
Categories: art, artistic, blog, bus, Cuenca, displays, ecuador, gualaceo, manufacturing, photos, pottery, tallar, taxi, travel, weaving, wool
Tags: artistic, bus, cuenca, ecuador, gualaceo, loom, photos, pottery, taxi, travel, weaving
Two Who Trek learn about hat tricks
Call it a hat or a sombrero but it is not a Panama Hat! Traditionally made from a high grade of straw called paja de toquilla, these hats are called Montecristi after the Ecuadorian town of the same name. The misnomer referring to Panama dates back to the 1800s when the Spanish began exporting the hats from Ecuador via Panama. In the 19th century, Panama Canal workers used these hats to protect themselves from the strong equatorial sun.
There are many excellent tallers or artisanal workshops creating sombreros del paja toquillas in Ecuador. Two Who Trek visited two hat-related places in the Cuenca area. Continue reading
Categories: blog, Cuenca, displays, ecuador, hat, making, manufacturing, markets, panama hat, photos, straw, travel
Tags: cuenca, ecuador, hat, hats, making, manufacturing, panama hat
UPDATE – 1-23-2013 — Two Who Trek attended a presentation yesterday and found there are many more Christmas-related celebrations. For example, Cuenca holds a Christmas parade that is over 8 hours long. Plus there is the Festival of the Wikis (no, not information sources. In this case it is a native word for tears) that starts three days before and ends three days after Christmas. Daily celebrations occur on the twelve days following Christmas.
Please consider this blog post as being just what Two Who Trek have seen during their stay. It is not meant to be a complete listing of all the Cuenca celebrations. If we provided that, WordPress might run out of server space! Now the original story:
As Two Who Trek wander through the streets of Cuenca today, the city seems a little less festive. That’s because the Christmas lights and displays have been stored for another year. But when we first arrived, we marveled at all the decorations Cuenca had throughout the town. Continue reading
Categories: blog, celebrations, Christmas, Cuenca, displays, ecuador, festivals, local, photos, travel
Tags: blog, Christmas, cuenca, ecuador, festivals, lights, parades, photos, travel