"Sit like a Raja" he said: Sit like a king.
Travelling in Rajastan, literally the Land of Kings, I am at awe at the splendors of nature and man alike.
Where neem trees and date palms spring from the dry, yellow dirt alongside the highway; the cattle wander lazily along the same highways with tingling bells, their necks adorned with flowers and glitter, their wild horns dyed a fainted red; where the sun's scorching rays catch the eye in the jewels of the light, colourful cloth that the women protect their skin with; the nose rings are giant and attached to heavy jewellery in the ears; the black-faced Hanuman Lanngoor monkey waves its elegant long tale on walls and temples; the food is so spicy as to set your mouth on fire; where the carvings and pillars and windows of palaces and forts and temples pierce the mind with its majesty and the walls hold secrets of a thousand years' civilization, politics, war, love and celebration.
This is a place where one must bow to the beauty that is a biproduct won of war and destruction.
A place to look down upon the wars fought on my own battlefield, and bow to the beauty that it continues to yield.
La Warmi Kuna Cocina in Cuenca (refers to womans cooking or the home makers kitchen, a name derived from the indigenous Quechua language). A class kitchen typically for tourists that come to visit Cuenca for a few days to learn how to prepare traditional fare and also a restaurant serving up the Ecuadorian cuisine from these two woman chefs. A seco de chivo and a fritada de cerdo were excellent with some chicha. A fermented corn beverage popular in Colombia and other South American countries as well. Originally made from chewing and spitting out corn, not the case so much now but still a strong brew! Street food consisting of choclo (big kernel corn) dipped in a kind of cheesy sauce and then tossed with the local cheese mixed with a little greenery in Salinas, the land of cheese, chocolate, and textiles. The fried corn kernels with chicharron is a typical accompaniment to soups or as an appetizer. The simplicity of nature on an overcast day. Remembering how I tried to rock climb only to discover that this rock crumbles, always testing the rock beneath my feet and see where these new horizons lead.
The corralellas in small Ecuadorian pueblos in the Chimborazo province hold a traditional sense of wonder and awe as people gather and watch as young corralello boys and girls launch themselves fearlessly at the young bulls. These small scale sports serve more of the purpose to bring people together and to honor the celebrations for their town's initiation than most any other. From what I've read the toreros, a tradition brought from colonial Spain, served a societal function of class mobility for young men. In many ways it has become a tradition for traditions sake. These small coralellos are relatively safe as the young bulls hardly pose the same threat of a mature bull and also the bulls aren't intended to be killed like in the toreros. These events are organized by the pueblo during celebratory weeks and beyond that are a way they utilize to preserve their identity and history. I observed as people partook in the music and evening festivities and recognized how much a tradition varies in meaning and practice. The persistance of memory and the courage of those who inherit these traditions.
Every once in a while there comes a time where all we can do is hope. Hope for the better, hope that everything will be okay in the end, hope that this ain’t the end yet. The moment will come where destiny decides and it either turns out the way we wanted it or not. But for now, in this moment, all we’ve got is hope, that’ll keep our souls warm like a blanket in the middle of winter.