For our second day in the Quilotoa Loop area, Patrick and I decided to do the popular hike from Chugchilán, to the "cheese factory" in the countryside nearby, and then on to the cloud forest. We had a great morning's walk, through a fairytale countryside of rolling hills and quaint little farms (although it was uphill most of the way). We were also blessed with great weather (not something to be taken for granted, here in Ecuador). However, the visit to the cheese factory turned out to be — well, somewhat different than expected! In short, it looked more like a house than a factory; and we saw little or no evidence of cheese, or of cheese-making, in the immediate vicinity.
I've been noticing it more and more in the past month, but at tonight's BBQ buffet at Casa de Arena, it reached the point of being rather ridiculous. What's with all the French people around here?! All of a sudden, they're everywhere. At the dinner tonight, out of about 15 people, Chris and I were the only non-French-speakers around. Everywhere we've gone lately, we've seen massive French tour groups, of 20 or 30 Froggies, turning up at places all at once. Mon dieu, c'est ridicule! I mean, what's a French invasion doing in South America? Eh? None of your business!
Our pampas trip group was tired and shagged out, following a prolonged swim with the dolphins (earlier in the afternoon); so this evening, we went out on the river, in search of two good bottles of red wine. Hey, we have two french girls in the group, remember? We already managed to find one bottle earlier today (near where we also found two baby anacondas), but we decided that two more were needed in order to satiate our needs for the evening. So we ended up stopping at every building we saw along the river, and calling out: "hola, ¿tienes vino?" (lit: "hey there, got wine?").
I already knew that Tipón was famous for its Incan ruins. But what I didn't know, before today, was that the town of Tipón is absolutely mad about cuy. If you're in Tipón at lunchtime, your choices of cuisine are many and varied. You can have cuy in the park. You can have cuy at a restaurant (every single restaurant is a cuyeria). Or you can have cuy wherever the hell else you want. Ohhh... what's that? You want... something... else? As in, something that's... not cuy? Cuy, cuy, cuy, cuy... Lovely cuy! Wonderful cuy!