Last week, I was asked by a couple, who actually live in Cuenca, to drive them and their visiting (from Dallas) friends to a few sites outside of town...one of them being the Ingapirca Ruins.
Ingapirca is in the Canar province, about 2 1/2 hours drive north of Cuenca. It is the name of an Incan archeological site just outside the town of the same name. Built in the 15th century, these are the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador. The most significant building is the temple of the sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock. The building is constructed in the Incan way without mortar in most of the complex. The stones were carefully chiseled and fashioned to fit together perfectly.
It just so happened that we went on one of 3 days of celebration of the sun, Inti Raymi. Most of the ruins were cordoned off because the focus was on the amphitheater where performances were about to take place. We watched as musicians played mystical music, a circle of fire was lit, and dancers moved about the grassy slope in Andean outfits. It was cold, chilly, and rain spritz us regularly, but the dancers braved the chilly weather in scanty clothing (bare-chested men in leather and alpaca chaps).
There were a few hundred people in attendance, mainly local indigenous families wearing their colorful, traditional garb. We stuck out like sore thumbs...3 blonds and 2 tall white men.
Like I said, the weather was somewhat icky. One of the guys in our group joked 'it ain't workin'...in reference to the ceremony being all about celebrating the sun god. But right smack dab during the middle of the ceremonies, a circle of blue sky opened up directly above us and let the sun in. How perfect was that!!??
Along the way back to our parked car about 1/4 mile away, the dirt road was lined on both sides with canopy-covered stalls where vendors sold candies, hats/scarves, hot food, and other Andean knickknacks.
While driving down the winding pothole-riddled road, we admired the vistas, cows, pigs, houses with blue-tinted windows, riverstreams, and one sight that made me hit the brakes. I threw it in reverse. The ladies dove for their cameras. At the front of a house was THE CUTEST little girl (2 or 3 years old?) wearing her native hat and sweeping the front porch. She could be the cover of LIFE magazine. Just as the women were poised to take a photo, the little girls' brother (presumably) came to her defense. He stood between her and us (in the car) with his back turned and turned her around to face the house and they both stood there until we went away!!!!! AWWWWW!!!!
Of course, we discussed this (over and over). Why would he rush to protect her when we stayed in our car? Certainly this doesn't constantly happen to her as they live in the middle of nowhere...how many people hit the brakes to take a photo of her? Maybe it's a cultural thing. I have noticed that a lot of indigenous people prefer not to have their photo taken. If asked, many of them say 'no'. Is it a techie thing? That would be odd, given a LOT of indigenous folk use cell phones!!
We drove back towards Cuenca and over to Paute to the Uzhupud hacienda/resort where we enjoyed a nice lunch in front of a toasty fireplace under barrell ceilings painted with hundreds of birds. This is the same place where, over a year ago, while dining on the patio I was solicited by film crew for a speaking role in a promotional video for the Paute Valley.
Then, home for my daily nap(s).
Enjoy the photos. Sorry some are a bit blurry. Mist got on my lens and my camera doesn't focus very well on super-zoomed shots.
|Dancers braving the chill in a semi-circle|
|Even the lamas formed a circle!!!|
|Indigenous folk carry their babies in a slingon their back.|
|From 2011 celebration|
(photo by Anne S)
|(photo by Anne S)|
|Cuy anyone? (guinea pig)|
|This little piggy went to the market.....to be eaten.|
(photo by Anne S)
|Brother protecting his little sister from the gringo papparazzi!!|