10 Observations of Life in Intag

We came, we saw, we conquered (or not quite!) but sadly our time in Cuellaje has come to an end.

We met some of the loveliest people so far on our trip here, played games with the kiddies, got to know the local customs, the food and get accustomed to waking up while the sky is still dark and starry.

It’s time to leave and discover pastures new. But we enjoyed our time here so much that I decided to share with you some of our many observations about this corner of the world – Intag.

  1. Greeting people in any social situation, whether it be in the street, at home or in the shops, you must always greet each and every person present separately, instead of one big ‘buenos dias’ to everyone.
  2. There is a variety of fruit and vegetables here that you never dreamed existed. From tree tomatoes, naranjilla and granadillas. You will get addicted! Only don’t expect to see them on your plate, only in your juice.
  3. At a fiesta the song karaguay will be played at least once, minimum, requiring the dance floor to fill up with bodies jerking around to something resembling the chicken dance. Don’t be alarmed, this is just the all-time favourite. Think ‘Nutbush’ with bums stuck out and feet stamping.
  4. In the wet season pachamama has a clock timed to start raining at 12 noon, on the dot, everyday.
  5. It’s a subtropical, high altitude climate. But hot, cold, rain or shine it is always, ALWAYS humid and mould is a second skin.
  6. Que chévere meaning ‘awesome’ is widely used in the everyday vocabulary.
  7. Delicious Intag coffee is some of the best in the world and grown everywhere. You can find it in the streets, in backyards, on mountain trails. Only don’t expect an Ecuadorian to drink anything but instant.
  8. Cheese comes in one form, white and spongy.
  9. Rice, potatoes and chicken is the national dish. At times you will eat this for all three meals in one day. There must be at least a hundred different variations of its presentation, but don’t expect the ingredients to change.
  10. Wellington boots are an invaluable investment and knee-high mud an inevitable part of everyday life.

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  • Natasha Malinda from Melbourne, Australia
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