A Meal With Family in Ecuador

On this sunny Sunday in Otavalo, GHS staff and students were the guests of Hernan and Priscilla Barahona, Cidel’s mom and dad and Chichi Moscoso and Alfredo Pena, Isabela’s mom and dad. These wonderful, gracious people invited us to join them and some of Isabela and Cidel’s sisters for lunch at La Mirage in Cotacachi, a nearby town where we experienced Ecuadorian hospitality at its’ very best.

This beautiful venue was the location for Hernan and Priscilla’s wedding 25 years ago. As I told them, it’s where I want to get married…oh wait, it’s too late, I already did that. Lunch was delightful, from the appetizers served in wooden music boxes through to the chocolate or lavender tortes for dessert.

After the meal, we adjourned to the gardens for photos with the peacocks wearing the genuine Panama hats which Chichi brought us all from Cuenca, Ecuador where they live. We have learned since arriving that Panama hats are actually an Ecuadorian product made in Ecuador from the fibres of a plant that grows in Ecuador but not Panama. They received their name when they became popular headgear for the workers on the Panama Canal.

Our tour of La Mirage included the spa and generated the question from one of our young women “why can’t we stay here”? I responded that I’m not sure they would accept us. Her answer was that they had just met us and we had been on our very best behaviour so they would probably still take us.

Hernan, an experienced father of 4 daughters, then invited us to join him on a tour of Cotacachi which naturally included stops at some of the leather shops. Shoes, computer bags and knapsacks were among our purchases. He was very patient with us and provided tips on bartering strategies which we put to good use. Then, as all good things do, the afternoon came to an end and we headed back to our hotel.

Muchas Gracias, Hernan and Priscilla, Alfredo and Chichi for this unforgettable afternoon.


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