Thursday, August 6, 2009 - We are home. Two of our bags were left in Quito to avoid overloading the plane. They are expected to arrive tomorrow. NOTE TO SELF: There are two types of luggage: carry-on and lost.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009 - After one last lunch at Rodriguez', we will take a cab to the airport. Our trip involves a one hour layover in Panama City, Panama. We tried to circumvent Murphy's Laws by packing our carry-ons for a one day stay in Panama City. In any case, there was no way around this tight connection.
It has been a very rewarding summer, but I am ready to come home and sleep in my own bed. I start grad school on August 22nd and have my UCLA independent research project due September 14th.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - We spent the day traveling from the Galapagos to Quito. This involved taking a 7 am cab to the bus terminal, riding the bus the length of Santa Cruz Island, taking the ferry to Baltras Island, flying to Guayaquill (where we changed planes), then on to Quito. George and I held our own farewell dinner at Rodriguez' Tacos and Margaritas (located at Mariscal Foch). Eating there has become a daily occurrance during our stays in Quito.
Monday, August 3, 2009 - We spent our last full day in the Galapagos Islands with a Spanish-speaking (only) taxi driver who showed us the sights in the Santa Cruz Highlands. This included the giant tortoises in their natural environment, impressive lava tubes, and three giant sinkholes caused by volcanic collapse. The mist surrounded us as we walked through well-marked paths in the forest.
Sunday, August 2, 2009 - Atahuallpa has retreated into the highlands, allowing George and I to continue exploring Santa Cruz Island. We hiked to Tortuga Bay (7 miles RT) and saw several mounds of 20-30 giant marine iguanas all lying listlessly in the sun. There were blue-footed boobies standing on a basalt precipice that plunged into the water. The boobies, as well as the iguanas, remained motionless as we walked two feet from them. The only animals that were active were the finches. Once they found us eating our lunch under a tree, they landed on my knee, or sat six inches from us waiting for a crumb to drop. A few of them were so agressive that they landed on our bread. You could hold a crumb in your fingers and they would snatch it and fly away. We observed the different beaks of the various species, just as Charles Darwin did.
Along the waterfront in Puerto Ayora, one can see pelicans roosting in trees and bright red crabs crawling on black basalt rocks. There is a fish market where the sea lions and pelicans gather to be fed. The sea lion has learned when the fisherman is preparing a treat and stands on his tail to reach it. I saw a bird with a huge wingspan (albatross or frigate bird?) glide in and steal a morsel of fish as it fell toward the sea lion's mouth. The wildlife here is truely unusual!
Saturday, August 1, 2009 - After 30 hours of battle, Atahuallpa still held the high ground. We introduced our secret weapon (antibiotics) and are successfully waging a counter-attack.
Friday, July 31, 2009 - I have been laid low by Atahuallpa's Revenge (the Incan equivalent of Montezuma's revenge). I did recover enough by the afternoon to visit the Darwin Center and see Lonesome George. This giant tortoise is the last of his species and hasn't seen a female of his species in over 35 years.
Thursday, July 30, 2009 - We flew from Quito to Baltras Island in the Galapagos. The next step was the water taxi to Santa Cruz Island and a 42 kilometer bus ride to the end of the line -- Puerto Ayora. During this time, the landscape changed from a misty volcanic desert, to a tropical rain forest, to a picturesque beach community.
We are staying one block from the beach at the Hotel Espana. For $30.00 a night, we have a double bed, two twin beds, plus a private bath with good water pressure AND hot water. The room even has a TV that gets CNN in English. Food is expensive here. A small jar of Skippy peanut butter costs $9.70 USD. Any sort of diet cola is impossible to find. George is happy that sea food is plentiful.
We discussed our plans for the next five days during our anniversary celebration this evening. The first order of business is to catch up on the sleep we missed in Quito.
Wednesday, July 29. 2009 - Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. We decided we have had enough of the big city and made plans this evening to fly to the Galapagos tomorrow morning. Due to the last minute nature of this trip, we do not have a place to stay on Santa Cruz Island. If we need more than a swimsuit, we will buy some "I love boobies" T-shirts. NOTE: Boobies are birds that live in the Galapagos Islands.
Getting cash was an ordeal. I must have made too many errors at the Bank of Pinchicha because it appears to have invalidated my ATM card. Then we went back to the hostel and got a credit card. Pacifica Bank said they needed my original passport (not the copy I carry in my wallet) for identification. So it was back to the hostel to get that. The third time was the charm.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - There was a big soccer game nearby. We could hear the roar of the fans from the stadium. Afterwards, hoards of fans filled the streets. There was a strong police presence, both on motorcycles and horseback. Hours after the game ended, cars are still gridlocked on the streets. Music is blaring over the loudspeakers while the party continues all night.
Our sightseeing took us to an impressive gothic church that seemed to be more representative of Cologne, Germany rather than South America (Iglesia de Santa Teresita). We also visited the Mariscal Marketplace.
Monday, July 27, 2009 - We broke the bed! This wasn't just broken slats -- it was the bed frame. And I know we weren't doing anything illegal, immoral, or fattening when it occurred. George jury-rigged it together for tonight and tomorrow we are scheduled to move to another room.
Our excursions today included a trip to the Instituto Geograficia Militar (IGM) to buy paper and digital maps of the Pambamarca area. Later we walked to the Abya Yala bookstore and came home with some treasures ("Los Efectos del Imperialismo Incaico en la Frontera Norte", "Culturas Prehispanicas del Ecuador", and "Arte de Tigua"). We even got our laundry washed at the nearby lavadoria. We are settling nicely into life in gringolandia. George's Spanish is improving at an astonishing speed.
Sunday, July 26, 2009 - We took the cablecar up to 13,451 feet on this beautifully clear day. We spent about an hour hiking, had a picnic lunch, and admired the view -- the city of Quito down below and the snow-capped volcanos that ring the Quito basin. We have been in the Andes long enough the altitude doesn't bother us.
Saturday, July 25, 2009 - The students that didn't fly out today went to the National Museum of Anthropology (Banco Central). It was fabulous! Some of the artifacts showed a marked resemblance to the styles of West Mexico, reinforcing my belief that there was early trade between the two maritine peoples (e.g., acrobat figurines, hollow figurines similar to the Colima dogs, clay dioramas including peaked roof houses, even something resembling voladores). They also found a number of Pre-Inca ceramics that could be mistaken for modern Chinese dragons. Although the Inca gold exhibit was not open, we saw plenty of Inca ceramics, throwing stars, and textiles.
George and I are staying at the Crossroads Hostal in Quito, near Foch Square. Since we have moved beyond the backpacker's dormatory stage of life, we rented the entire room for $36 a night so we could have some privacy (one double bed, two twin beds, a private bathroom with shower, and free wifi).
Friday, July 24, 2009 - We were supposed to leave for Quito at 11 am, but the busses didn't show up. Instead of waiting for the busses to show up "sometime", the project called the Cangahua bus cooperative. They sent two of their busses right away (removing them from their regular routes). We were finally on our way by twelve thirty, with our luggage roped to the roof and piled high from floor to ceiling in the back.
The final dinner for the project was held at Q, a trendy restaurant / bar / lounge on Foch Square in the heart of the Mariscal District (AKA the New Town or Gringolandia). The food was good but the blaring, discordant music was far too loud.
Thursday, July 23, 2009 - Our last day at the Hacienda was spent packing up the lab and doing equipment inventory. The workers have already filled in the excavated sites with dirt to preserve them from the elements.
The project T-shirts are burgundy with a drawing of an a pre-Inca figurine found this season at Loma Sandoval (Photo). The word "Archaeological" is misspelled, but you don't have to be able to spell archaeology to be able to dig in the dirt.
Manuel, our friend from the Hacienda staff, brought us a cuy (guinea pig) and potato dinner this evening. It was very good. It honestly tastes like chicken. Afterwards, George and I took the bus to Cangahua so he could have a second cuy dinner. This one was nowhere as good as Manuel's meal. By the time we had finished, the busses had stopped running. 8 of us piled into a cab and split the $3 fare.
The Casa Comuna students get to spend the night sleeping on the floor in their sleeping bags, since all the furniture is being dissassembled and put into storage today (The Casa and two other houses in Cangahua were rented from the Catholic Church. The good father and his entourage will be able to move back in after we vacate).
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - Today the entire project had a tour of all the PAP excavation sites, with a short presentation by the students who worked on each one. The afternoon was filled with paperwork -- final reports are due on all units. Once that was over, I felt so relieved. The "work" for field school is over until I return to the U.S. I have arranged with Cal State Fullerton to finish my UCLA project in their GIS lab.
The workmen repairing the roof in the Hacienda's church found mummies of a newborn baby and a large rat in the rafters to one side of the altar. Perhaps it was a baby who died before it was babtized and they placed it there so it would not have as far to travel to heaven. The preservation was exceptional, exhibiting skin and tiny fingers on the baby but no face (Photo).
This evening, George and I visited the home of Manuel, the Hacienda handyman. He introduced us to his sons, his plethora of guinea pigs (which he raises for food), and the young children of the tiny town of Buen Esperanza. The kids then took over, introducing us to their pets (dogs so tiny they make chiuauas look large), their fort, etc. We left a bag of small presents for the family -- leather work gloves, LED flashlights, brightly colored embroidary floss, an assortment of sewing needles, cookies for the children, etc. When we walked back to the Hacienda, it seemed like the community came out to greet us. A man and woman came out of their house and wanted us to try a drink of theirs (All I understood was that it was natural). The children came up to us and wanted to shake our hand, one by one. I felt like I was being welcomed by the community -- something that happens rarely to visiting gringos.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - I finished up the portion of my UCLA project that I will do in Ecuador and made my backups. Then, George, Joani, and I (the "seniors") took the bus to Mitad del Mundo to take photos of ourselves straddling the equator.
Dinner was potato soup, a chicken leg, rice, and a square of banana / lemon merange pie. Tonight's lecture was by Tammy Bray (Wayne State University). She brought her grad students and discussed the subterranean Inca temple she is excavating near Ibarra, Ecuador.
Monday, July 20, 2009 - At tonight's lecture, the visiting researchers, grad students (people doing their Masters thesis and PhD dissertations in the Pambamarca Study area), and the UCLA students gave short presentations on their research. I gave a short powerpoint slide show on the problems encountered when I took the maps of the area and added drill-down to the layout of the individual forts.
My UCLA project is to load Dr. Marc Souris' 30 meter DEM (elevation) data and perform viewshed analysis on the forts overlooking trade routes between the Quito valley and points east (toward the Amazon). Since I haven't georectified the raster mosaics (but I am close), I won't finish this project unless I can borrow a computer with ArcGIS 9.2 and the Spatiall Analyst extension once I am back in the US. My backup plan (which I will probably do as an appendix anyway), is to discuss errors in projections, problems I encountered in using ArcGIS, and publish a cookbook of mapping tasks on the web.
Sunday, July 19, 2009 - While working late on my GPS project last night/this morning, I experienced another Eureka! moment. The headers for the ASC files need be edited by hand to make the Ecuadorian co-ordinates (PSAD 1956) correspond with UTM coordinates, so the map can be rectified with latitude and longitude. I am continuing to make progress toward creating the maps I need for my UCLA independent research project, but it's not going as fast as I would like.
Today the project went to Oyacachi to lounge around in the hot springs and have a fresh trout ($2.00 USD) lunch. (Photos). Oyacachi was foggy, drizzly, and very cold. George tried out the various hot springs, but I wasn't about to take off my Antarctica jacket in that weather.
Oyacachi is located on the eastern slopes of the Andes in the direction of the Amazon Basin. The vegetation is semi-tropical -- many trees and lush undergrowth. Houses were made of wood, while near the Hacienda they are made of concrete or cangahua blocks. The people even dressed differently. The women wore boots almost up to their knee, whereas near the Hacienda they wear loafers. They still wore the traditional hats and many-layered gathered skirts one associates with the Andes.
The more I see of Eduador, the more I realize the individualism of the various communities. The ecosystems are so diverse over a couple hours of travel -- ranging from the Pacific coast, to the Andes highlands, to the Amazon basin. People adapt to where they live. They identify more with their community than with being an Ecuadorian.
Saturday, July 18, 2009 - Today we accompanied the Ground Penetrating Radar team to the Pyramid site. After doing some tests there, George and I split from the group and walked back to the Hacienda. We started on the old cangahua-lined foot path and ended up on a dirt road unpassable to vehicles due to felled trees. We passed llamas grazing, small farms, and stopped to talk with people as we walked (I have noticed that "older gringos" are treated with less suspicion and more friendliness than the backpacker set). After an hour, we found the road that led to the Hacienda. This was a very interesting experience seeing how the small indigenous farmers live in the Ecuadorian countryside away from any paved roads.
Friday, July 17, 2009 - George and I accompanied Sarah Lowrey and her Ground Penetrating Radar over to a terrace behind the horse pasture. We spent the day searching for the Inca ruins that are rumored to be near the Hacienda. (The Spanish often built their structures on top on Inca sites). We found a large anomoly, but we don't know what it is. We will find out more when Sarah gives tonight's lecture.
Thursday, July 16, 2009 - George took it easy today while I worked in the lab. In the afternoon, we visited the Pyramid site. I was impressed. There was a series of steps carved into the cangahua rock. I also walked a portion of the Inca road, which was paved with cangahua blocks. There are so many footpaths wandering through the Andes. I wandered along one and found several pieces of pre-Inca pottery.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - Feliz Cumplianos Sandy! After dinner, everyone in the dining room of the Hacienda starting singing Happy Birthday to me. They brought in a strawberry creme cake with a single candle on it. We all shared it. It was fabulous!
About 8 members of the PAP team got tear gassed in Cayambe this afternoon. They went to use the high speed internet (as well as to buy a birthday cake for me) and got caught between a group of rioters and the police. They explained that several Columbian men hijacked a truck in Cayambe and killed the driver. The police caught the perpretrators, but this wasn't enough for the local community (both from the viewpoint that foreigners killed one of their own and Ecuador having no death penalty). The indigenous people formed a lynch mob to execute their form of immediate justice and the police were protecting the criminal. The students escaped through a back door in the internet cafe and safely made it back.
Quite approprately, tonight's lecture was on the Indigeneous rebellions of the last 30 years. It was given by a professor from the University of North Carolina who was traveling in Ecuador with his family. His middle-school age boys toured the PAP excavations and asked why their father worked in cultural anthropology when archaeology was so much more fun.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - George hurt his back today carrying buckets full of dirt. He is walking stifly. A group of people who ate at a Chinese restaurant in Cayambe are now feeling the effects today. There have been falls into deep excavation units (the ground on the edges gives way). Other injuries have been due to falls during hiking and from soccer games with the locals. It is almost one month into the project and health issues are taking their toll.
Monday, July 13, 2009 - I had a Eureka! moment in my GIS efforts -- particularly in converting South American topo map data (PSAD56) to world wide coordinates (WGS84). The details were buried in an ESRI manual for ArcXML 9.2.
Excavations are winding down by this Friday. George has not been finding much at the Pyramids, although other units have uncovered terraces and the corner of the pyramid. The lecture tonight was by Cobo on geoarchaeology. There was a fieldtrip starting at 9pm to "Mitad del Mundo" on the equator, about 2 km away from the Hacienda.
Dinner was much improved today. It was lasagna made with ground beef and ketchup (they don't use tomato sauce here). The hungry teenagers in our group have adapted to the food situation. If someone does not eat everything on their plate, their plate is passed down the table, and the food finds its way onto another plate. There is also a lunch room where you can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches 24/7. George and I have our own small cache of food, provisioned by our weekly trips to the Gran Aki in the "big city" of Cayambe.
Sunday, July 12, 2009 - This was a travel weekend. Most of the students chartered a bus and traveled to Mindo in the tropical rainforest in Amazonia. They did whitewater rafting, ziplining thru the canopy, and visited a butterfly farm. The people that didn't travel report that the Cangahua festival continues, with dancing and fireworks. The bullfight report from this afternoon is that two of the bulls completely escaped from the ring and two torreadors were injured.
George and I were part of a group of 11 who took the public bus to Cayambe, walked 8 blocks to a different bus terminal, then took a second public bus to Otavalo. We stayed at a very nice, clean hotel -- the Ali Shungu. It was warm there! They had hot showers with incredible water pressure. The plumbing was robust enough so you could flush toilet paper. There was an electric heater in the room (even my fingers were warm). There was no patina of silt on all floors and furniture tracked in by filthy archaeologists after a day of excavation. There was a delightful courtyard that was perfect for doing needlepoint in the early morning. It was luxurious living at $55/night.
On Saturday, we spent several hours shopping in the Indian marketplace. Lunch was $1.25 US for a huge piece of pepperoni pizza and a glass of Coke Zero. Dinner was ham, snow peas, carrots, and two baked potatoes (I didn't come close to finishing it). George and I took naps in the afternoons and really enjoyed our respite from fieldschool.
We arrived back at the Hacienda early this afternoon, laiden with supplies from the Gran Aki market in Cayambe (apple and macadamia nut bread, cookies, soft drinks, and chocolate). As we walked down the eucalypus-lined gravel road to the Hacienda, I felt we were returning back to our Ecuadorian home.
Thw nostalgia quickly dissappeared at dinner. The main course was an unidentifiable type of large beans. The mountain-climbing party at the next table (who had just climbed Mount Cayambe at 19K feet) were plates of meat. I'm jealous.
July 9, 2009 - Another good day. The lecture tonight is on the history of this project and what they have found in previous years.
July 8, 2009 - Another good day for George at the pyramid and Sandy in the lab.
We have been having lectures after dinner (with the Foothill students from Casa Comuna joining us) in the Hacienda lecture hall. Tonight Vanessa Muros gave a talk on Artifact Conservation. It was extremely interesting. The field is a combination of materials science and artisanship, when it comes to reconstructing objects. She gave us details as to what she was doing in our lab: A nose ring (possibly gold) and a necklace (possibly silver) were excavated here in 2005. She is also studying the basket/mat under the burned corn found at Molino Loma as well as advising on what can be done to conserve the murals in the church.
July 7, 2009 - George and the Sandoval Loma team found more steps (hopefully, this is part of the pyramid). They also found a distinctive piece of Inca? pottery. Another team at Pucarito was given a human skull by a farmer who said he found it while plowing.
George had a good day in the field. Laundry recovery is now 100%. I am totally jazzed about working with the GIS data in the lab -- I have found my calling! Life is good.
July 6, 2009 - George and the Sandoval Loma team excavated 4 Cangahua blocks in a row. They are hoping this is part of the pyramid they have been searching for. I spent the day doing GIS on the computer. I feel bad about George doing so much physical work in the field, coming home filty, aching everywhere, and falling asleep immediately after dinner, while I am having so much fun in the lab.
July 5, 2009 - The students took a fieldtrip to Cochasqui Archaeological Site (Photos).
July 4, 2009 - The project hired two busses and took us to the market at Otavalo. It was huge, colorful, and noisy. The same Ecuadorian song was playing over and over on the loudspeakers. Bargaining was expected and prices were good. We did some Christmas shopping.
After an afternoon nap and dinner, George headed up to Casa Comuna in Cangahua to see if our laundry turned up there. The Summer Solstice Festival continues in the Cangahua town square (the archaeological project provided the fireworks for the 4th of July), but I am danced out. I am in the mood for a quiet evening at the Hacienda with a good book (D'Altroy's "The Incas") in front of a roaring eucalyptus fire.
Late Report: The fireworks at Cangahua were sufficiently dangerous to be exciting (nothing safe and sane here). George was 95% successful in recovering our laundry. This is Ecuador, not rocket science, so 95% makes me very happy.
July 3, 2009 - Early Fourth of July Celebration! George continued his search for the pyramid while I spent the day using ArcGIS in the lab. This evening, the Foothill and UCLA students got together at the Hacienda for a barbeque and bonfire. It was magnificent -- hot dogs, hamburger and steak.
Amidst this joyousness is a growing concern about laundry. My laundry bag (with a few of George's most needed items) went out to be handwashed by the local women on Tuesday. On Thursday, the bag was returned full of Sara's clothes (Her bag was returned empty). Our clothes still haven't shown up, either here or at the Casa Comuna, where the Foothill students are staying. George's laundry went out to be washed this morning, so all he has is the clothes he is wearing... Can you image how filty one gets from digging in the dirt? Two weeks is a long time without clean clothes for anyone...
July 2, 2009 - George's team began excavation at a new site -- Loma Sandoval. The locals speak of a pyramid that was covered with dirt many years ago to keep the Ecuadorian government from confiscating the land as an archaeological site. The owners of the land (relatives of the person who owns the Hacienda) have given permission for PAP to excavate the pyramid. The first goal is to locate the structure underneath the large, grassy mound.
My team continued excavation at Molinaloma. This group consists of students from both UCLA and Catholic University in Quito. Everyone knows a little Spanish and English, and we learn more as we work together. The group dynamics is excellent. Excavation with trowels is hard work, but we all share the excitement of uncovering clues to the past.
July 1, 2009. Happy Canada Day! George found the first bola stones ever found at Molinaloma. These are rounded stones that were thrown at people (defensive weapons). This discovery means some theories need to be re-evaluated.
June 30, 2009 - George and I spent the day gathering GPS data and refining methodology. We worked in the lab and took measurements in the courtyard. The Foothill students did the dreaded climb up to Quitaloma Fortress while the UCLA students had the day off. After dinner, I took the "cab" to Cangahua for more dancing. The 11 of us (standing room only) in the back of the pickup truck were stopped by dancers along the road. One guy was dressed as the sun god (Inti) -- His mask had an identical face both front and back because it is disrespectful to turn one's back on a god.
June 29, 2009 - George worked up at Molinoloma while I spent the day in the lab learning ArcGIS 9.2, a computer program that is used to make maps. After work, George and I took the bus to Cayambe to replenish our hot sauce and junk food supplies.
The Summer Solstice festival (AKA the Festival of San Pedro according to the Catholic church) will be going on for another 10 to 14 days (Photos). The same music that I danced to in Cahangua last night was played on both bus rides, as well as in the grocery stores. There is a rumor that all the bands in Ecuador only know how to play one song -- the very short refrain played over and over at festival.
June 28, 2009 - Sunday is our day of rest. I washed a critical subset of our clothes in the sink using apple shampoo for soap and a plastic bag as a sink stopper. We have been promised hot water sometime today.
At midday, we took the bus to Cangahua (pronounced can-gow-wa) for the first day of the Summer Solstice festival. We watched the coreographed dancing by people in native dress. We met some of the Foothill students (a community college in Northern California). About 2/3 of the 60 members of our project are staying at Casa Comuna, a few steps from the main square in Cangahua. The Hacienda is primarily for the UCLA students and staff.
It started raining about 3 pm. George and I returned to the Hacienda by bus (15 cents fare) for a hot shower and a well-needed nap. After dinner, 22 of us packed into 3 "cabs" and returned to the festival. DEFINITION: A "cab" is a pickup truck with railings so people can stand in the bed.
It was dark by the time we arrived back at the main square in Cangahua. The party was in full swing. George watched while I danced with the locals. The band played the same song over and over again, the street vendors sold beer and chicha, and the entire town (including visiting gringos) danced. We took the 10 pm "cab" back to the Hacienda. Standing up in the back of a pickup truck on the unlighted, twisting mountain roads, in frigid cold, certainly purged any tipsiness from the one beer I drank while dancing.
June 27, 2009 - Even though it was a Saturday, we put in a half day excavating at Molinoloma. We took an afternoon nap, ate dinner, then went to bed early.
Today was the big horse race (Photos). It was quite an event, with a
June 26, 2009 - Excavated Molinoloma with trowels. Located pumice and burned corn kernels (which are often found above plaster floors). After work, we took the bus into Cayambe. What an experience! For 25 cents, we took a 20 minute ride into the nearest city, crossing from the Southern Hemisphere into the Northern Hemisphere. If I said the bus was standing room only, it would be an understatement. It was more like trying to fit 25 college students plus the contents of their dorm rooms into a Volkswagon Beetle. The bus riders carried baskets of apples, cases of beer, groceries, and all their belongings on the bus. People who had seats held stuff in their laps for the people who were standing. Getting out of the bus at the Hacienda was a struggle, since we had to thread our way through the mass of humanity to reach the door, repeating "Con permiso" and wearing a big smile.
We visited a grocery store and a pharmacy on our hour-long stop in Cayambe. We bought chocolate, Ritz-type crackers, an assortment of hot sauces, ibuprophen, sun tan lotion, and insect repellant. My Spanish is good enough for our purposes. I practice speaking Spanish daily with the hacienda personnel.
Don Diego Bonifaz, the Governer of this province (which includes the city of Quito), the mayor of Cambaye, and the owner of the Hacienda, visited us at dinner tonight. It's the equivalent of Arnold Swarzennegger dropping in to visit. The menu was potato soup, a piece of chicken, rice, carrots and string beans, and banana slices covered with chocolate. The food here is great!
The Hacienda is getting ready for a horse race tomorrow, starting at 8 am and ending about 2:30 pm. Horse trailers pulled by late model pickup trucks have filled up the area in front of the hacienda. White tents filled with long tables and chairs have been erected in the courtyard. Banners describing the horse race, brands of beer, and even cars have been hung from the the Hacienda walls. Plus, there are lots of visiting horses in the pastures. There are plenty of people celebrating already in the courtyard.
June 25, 2009 - Excavated Molinoloma with trowels. What we found while excavating a depression filled with stones is puzzling since the artifacts from a single level date from many periods.
- A stone wall. By the end of the day, our digging indicated it was at least three stones high. These stones are cut on several faces and stacked without mortar.
- Cobs of burned corn. Underneath them is the remains of a mat or basket.
- Several pieces of Spanish roof tile.
- An obsidian scraper plus several obsidian points.
- Cangahua pottery sherds, characteristic of the pre-Inca inhabitants of this area.
- A bullet buried about 6 inches deep.
- Three scorpions, several large (4 inches long and 1 inch diameter) grubs, a lizard who lost his tail (I have a video of the tail wiggling long after it was detached from the lizard's body), large mealworms, plus other assorted bugs.
June 23, 2009 - My group (2 staff and 4 students) is excavating a 1 meter by 2 meter unit at Molinoloma, a couple hundred yards up the hill from the Hacienda. We laid out the unit and excavated about 6 inches. We found a half baggy of pottery sherds, including one wide-lipped jar fragment that is a marker for pre-Inca habitation. I am tired and sore.
Life is getting back to basics. Last night I darned a sock for the first time in my life. Fireplaces are great at providing heat in the evening, but the room is VERY cold by morning. Dinner was potato soup, pizza, and peaches. George is making quite a hit by bringing bottles of hot sauce to meals. We have already used up 1/3 of a bottle of San-Jay Sechuan sauce. I wonder if we can get more in Quito?
June 22, 2009 - Climbing up to Quitaloma Fortress at 12,235 feet
June 21, 2009 - First Day of Archaeology Fieldschool
June 20, 2009 - We have picked up a new SIM card for my cell phone. You can get the number by contacting any of the Raines' or Schreyer kids. We can now call the US for 12 cents a minute, but non time critical communication is best done by email.
George has had no problems getting used to the altitude. I have had a headache but nothing major. We are taking walks, then coming back to the bed and breakfast to take naps. We get tired quickly at 9,300 feet.
Quito is bright, colorful, cosmopolitan, and noisy. We are in a small bed and breakfast, away from the Mariott and fancy hotels of gringolandia (their term for places where the US tourists stay). The music plays loudly until 4 am and starts back up early in the morning. The Supermaxi grocery store is well stocked with US brands, but we are trying out local products -- including bottled water by the 5 liter bottle. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich on apple and macadamia nut bread (the bits of apple are dried and look like raisins). Breakfast was cantaloup and bananas covered with yogurt, and an interesting type of bread (toasted in a frying pan) with butter and marmalade.
June 19, 2009 - We have arrived in Quito and have linked up with others in our group. We are staying at the Jardin del Sol, a bed and breakfast in the Mariscal District http://www.hostaljardindelsol.com) while we sleep off our jet lag and get accostumed to being at 9,300 feet elevation. We do have a wi-fi connection.