I think we were near Calacalí??

On November 2nd, Ecuador celebrated Día de los Fieles Difuntos which roughly translates to the Day of the Dead. It is tradition for many indigenous people to visit the graves of family members who have passed and have a little visit. They usually bring food and eat with their dearly departed. They even leave a helping of food behind in case someone plans to come back from the grave and have a little nosh. Everyone else drinks colada morada and eats guagua de pan. My host mom, Marcia, is really proud of her recipe for colada morada and she should be. It took her about 5 hours to make the delicious drink made from blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, naranjilla, and lots of spices and other yummy secret ingredients. She made two HUGE pots of it and the house smelled so good! She sent my little brother, André, and I to get guagua de pan, but alas, all of the bakeries were sold out. This is no big deal since I’d already had pan de guagua a couple of other times. We just bought some delicious chocolate bread and everyone enjoyed the hot spicy, fruity drink with chunks of fresh fruit. SO GOOD!!

Yesterday, the family invited me to visit El Pahuma Orchid Reserve which is near Calacalí for the day. We woke up at 6 am and headed out of town for the day. After a couple of buses we got to the reserve and had a little breakfast. I had fresh pan fried tilapia – yummmmm! And then we headed into the cloud forest reserve. There were tons of orchids and a bunch of waterfalls. It was such a beautiful place and I loved hanging out with my family. They are fun and funny! At one point, André was putting mud on my face claiming it was good for my skin (It’s not – he just thought it was funny to smear mud on my face!) while Marcia was ‘borrowing’ plants to take home to her garden. Henry, Jr. took about a million photos of everything, Esteban was trying text his friends, and Henry, Sr. just kept looking all around and taking everything in. They are good people.

After our walk in the woods, we went to Nanegalito for lunch. We ate the restaurant that brags about its fritada being the best in Ecuador. It. Was. So. Good. There was beef, mote (huge kernels of corn cooked until they are opened and really moist) and fried skin. I tried everything but the fritada was the best. I tried to take a picture of the choclo that Esteban ordered. The corn kernels in Ecuador are HUGE. You can’t tell in the picture but it’s really big.

I was so happy all day. I love being in Ecuador!

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