Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Queen With The Frozen Heart - To The Enchanted Night


Iluku held out a giant snail's shell to her husband.

- Call out for the warriors before you change, she told Killa, so that the enchantment will brake and they will wake up.

The moon took the shell and lifted it to his lips.

It had been years, decades, maybe hundreds of years since he had blown into one of them.

But his lips and hands still remembered.


He blew and the low sound shook his body and travelled through the air.

On the mountain top Amarun shook in his sleep and the mountain growled and shot dark clouds of ash to the air.

Far away in her palace the queen sprung up and listened with attention.

In her village Sisa felt how her magic fluttered around her and the call compelled her to leave and search for its origin.


Under the mountain the jaguar men growled and hissed their anger at the sound of the shell.

In their cages the kings men held their heads up and felt the hope grow in their desolated hearts.

Alone in his lonely cave king heard the sound and feared to hope and wish.

Behind the waterfall the warriors woke up from their enchanted sleep.

Ready to follow Iluku's instructions as soon as the sun reaches its zenith.


Killa lowered his hand and felt his heart stir.

There was a reason why the magic loved the humans.

- Take the clothes, Iluku's exasperated voice broke the spell, we don't have all the night. In fact the night is almost over. And we still need to reach the jaguar men's cave before the sun rises over the horizon and they close the mouth of the cave.

Killa took the clothes and hid himself behind the trees.

When he had the garments on, he could feel the enchantment around him.

His back bended closer to earth, his eyes became watery and it was hard to see, and his hands shaked and had huge wrinkles and brown spots on them.

Touching his face with his hands he could feel the wrinkles there too.

- I am old, he sighed.

- Look at me, he whined to Iluku, I have never been old. And now I have to look like this just to humor you and to save some human king. Can't they find another one to replace him instead?


- Oh, be quiet before you reveal your stupidity to everyone, Iluku hissed.

Angrily she started towards the mountain and the home of the jaguar men.

Their walk was not graceful anymore.

Instead of it, they waddled around the trees and panted while walking through the bushes, heaving their disobeying old bodies up, higher and higher.

- Will we never arrive, Killa panted, when will we be there?


Iluku raised a gnarled finger to her lips and stood quietly waiting.

- We are here, she hissed.

- Finally, Killa sat down and rested his weary feet and back.

- Oh, don't be like that, Iluku shook her head, get up and let's go!
It's almost morning!

To Be Continued...

This is the twenty second part of the story.

If you want to read the first part of the story, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 1  

To read the second part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 2 

To read the third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 3

To read the fourth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 4

To read the fifth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 5.

To read the sixth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 6

To read the seventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 7

 To read the eight part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 8

To read the ninth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 9

To read the tenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 10

To read the eleventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 11

To read the twelth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 12

To read the thirteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 13

To read the fourteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 14

To read the fifteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 15

To read the sixteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 16

To read the seventeenth part, go to the The Queen With The Frozen Heart 17

If you want to read the eighteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 18

If you want to read the nineteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 19

If you want to read the twentieth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 20

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Zamora Chinchipe - Province in Southern Ecuador

Zamora Chinchipe is the southernmost province of Ecuador in Amazonian region  and it is located at the southeastern end of the Amazon Basin.

The province shares borders with the Ecuadorian provinces of Azuay and Morona Santiago to the north, Loja and Azuay to the west, and with Peru to the east and south.

The province comprises an area of approximately 10,456 km² and is covered with a uniquely mountainous topography which markedly distinguishes it from the surrounding Amazonian provinces.

Zamora-Chinchipe is characterized and largely identified by its mining industry; indigenous ethnic groups with a rich archaeological legacy; its biodiversity; and its niche and tourist attractions, which include a number of waterfalls well-noted for their beauty.

The province takes its name from the bureaucratic fusion of the Zamora and Chinchipe cantons.

The provincial capital is the city of Zamora.

Natural attractions in Zamora Chichipe include the Podocarpus National Park which is true extravagance of nature.

The vegetation is lush with virgin rain forest full of animals and birds.

National Park is home of many species of orchids and is one of the most biodiverse places in the world.


There is water everywhere; the jungle is filled with rivers, waterfalls, creeks and lagoons.

It is also very accessible and easy to navigate.


History of Zamora Chinchipe

Human habitation in the region is thought to date to at least 4500 BCE, and was grounded in the Mayo-Chinchipe cultural complex.

In approximately 1548, Spaniards made their first contact with the region's indigenous people.

On October 4, 1549, Hernando de Barahona, accompanied by Alonso de Mercadillo and Hernando de Benavente, founded the city of Zamora de los Alcaides.

Fifty years after their arrival, the Spanish were driven from the city by the Shuar revolt.

In 1850, the Zamora de los Alcaides city ruins were discovered by a group of colonists.

It cannot be established exactly when the first white and mixed race settlers arrived in the province.

But the oldest verifiable data shows that in the late 1840s, the Chinchipe River basin was already inhabited by people arriving from the Loja Province of modern Ecuador and Peru.


The migration was also made from the Ecuadorian Province of Azuay to the Yacuambi Canton, where the Saraguros and mixed race people arrived.

During the Spanish Colonial period, several explorers surveyed the territory, such as the French geographer and mathematician Charles Marie de La Condamine in a 1743 expedition.

In 1781, the Spanish made a second attempt at colonization in the area, lured by the exploitation of gold deposits, but they found it impossible to dominate the natives.

The current settlement known as Zamora was not permanently reestablished by white and mixed race settlers until March 12, 1921.

The Catholic Church founded the Apostolic Vicariate of Zamora, after many prior attempts at colonization, each repelled by the resistance of the Shuar people.

In 1911, the Zamora parish became cantonal head of the Zamora Canton of the Provincia de Oriente.

On December 15, 1920, the Santiago-Zamora Province was created, it consisted of the Chinchipe, Macas, Morona and Zamora cantons.


War with Peru


On July 5, 1941, Ecuador was invaded by Peru, with part of the unpopulated territory of the province in contention.

A ceasefire was brokered between the Foreign Ministers of Peru and Ecuador (with the participation of the United States, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina as "guarantors") capped with the signing of the Rio Protocol.

The treaty officially brought an end to the state of war which had existed between Ecuador and Peru, and left part of the Ecuadorian provinces of El Oro, Loja, and Zamora-Chinchipe under Peruvian occupation.

After the 1941 war, forced migration of impoverished peasants and citizens to the province was accelerated by drought in Loja Province.

This resulted in colonization of many areas of the Zamora-Chinchipe territory which had been theretofore uninhabited.

In 1981, the tensions with Peru were rekindled by a military confrontation over the Cenepa River in the Cordillera del Cóndor.

By 1995 the conflict had reemerged, and Peru and Ecuador were again fighting each other.

In 1999 the signing of the Peace Agreement between Ecuador and Peru settled the contours of Zamora-Chinchipe's borders with its southern neighbor.


The war is still remembered in the province and fear of new attacks from Peru remain, even though the new generations know of the confrontation only from stories, history and the monuments.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Picnic in Ecuador - For the Love of Food and Food of Love



Picnics in Ecuador are all about love of food and food of love.

Love of food because all true Ecuadorians love good food.

They all have a little foodie inside of them and can spend hours talking about the right way to prepare a certain type of dish.


Or the differences of using a blender to just frying the refrito and the condiments and adding them to the food.

Or if a certain dish should have pepper, cumin, coriander or some other ingredient or not.

And of course, is the cebiche from Esmeraldas the real one or the one from Manabí.


A deadly discussion, almost as heated as which is the favorite, and best, soccer team in Ecuador.

And food of love because all Ecuadorian are taught when they grow up that food is love.

Mothers show their love through the food they cook to their families.


A real mother is the one that feeds you.

And the more there is food and tastier it is, the more she loves you.

In Ecuador, the way to man’s heart, truly, is through their stomachs.


To woo an Ecuadorian you need a lot of meat and copious quantities of plantain banana, potatoes, rice, manioc and other starches.

You should not forget the salads and fruits either.

For a picnic everyone pinches in.


I cooked the rice and the potatoes and brought sodas.

My friends made an Ecuadorian chicken dish, seco del pollo. 

Which means dry chicken and is completely absurd name for the dish.


Since the chicken is very moist and prepared with thin, clear and very tasty broth.

Besides the chicken, we had cooked plantain bananas, avocados, salad, laughter, interesting conversations and lots of friendship.

Sharing food is like sharing love with the people that surround you.


Seco de pollo or chicken stew


Yields for 8-10 people
Seco de pollo or seco de gallina is an Ecuadorian chicken stew cooked slowly in a sauce of beer, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and spices.


Ingredients
·         6 lbs of assorted chicken pieces
·         4 tbs oil
·         2 red onions, quartered
·         ½ red onion, minced for refrito
·         10 whole garlic gloves plus 4 ground garlic cloves
·         2 tsp ground achiote or annatto
·         4 cups of beer
·         8 tomatoes, quartered
·         3 bell peppers, quartered
·         1 hot pepper (jalapeno or serrano)
·         1 bunch of cilantro, reserve some to add at the end
·         1 bunch of parsley, reserve some to add at the end
·         1 tsp oregano
·         2 tsp cumin
·         Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions
1.    Blend the beer, quartered onions, whole garlic cloves, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot pepper, cilantro, parsley, oregano and cumin to obtain a smooth puree.
2.    In a large saucepan or soup pot heat the oil over medium heat to prepare a refrito or sofrito, add the minced red onion, minced garlic and achiote, cook for 2 minutes.
3.    Add the chicken and brown lightly on each side, add the blended puree mix
4.    Cook on low heat until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has thickened. Unless it's a hen, the chicken should be tender in less than 1 hour. However it takes longer for the sauce to thicken, so if the chicken is very tender - meat falling of the bones - and the sauce isn't thick yet, then remove the tender chicken pieces, turn up the heat and cook the sauce until it's nice and thick, about 20-30 minutes.
5.    Add salt and pepper to taste.
6.    Add the remaining cilantro and parsley.

Do you think food is love?

Did you have any picnics during these vacations?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Night Of The Black Moon


It was a night of black moon.

Iluku had shed her feathery form and stood on a glade, clothed as a woman.

Waiting for her husband, Killa the Moon, to arrive.

The glittery light of the stars lit the deep forest around her.

It was hard, she lamented, it was still so hard to see the sky and know of her husband’s betrayal.

To see the proof of his deceit and dalliance with another woman written in the stars.


Every night, at the wee hours of morning, she would watch the two brothers rising from beyond the horizon.

Announcing the morning and causing her to flee from the pain.

Her husband’s sons, with another woman.

- Are you still angry with me, Killa embraced her and tried to steal a kiss from his wife.

- After all these years, he sighed when she turned her face away from him.

- No matter how many years pass, Iluku answered, they still remain your sons. They still shine on the sky and tell everyone the story of your love affair with my own brother’s wife.

- That is a story for another night, Killa reminded her gently, Didn’t you have some humans to save? Or something?


- Don’t you try to make me forger, Iluku’s voice was filled with rage, We shall save them, yes, we shall. But you shall also remember that a woman scorned is a dangerous foe and not one to underestimate.

Killa sighed.

No matter how many hundreds of years passed his wife never seemed to get over that one little slip of his.

- Where have you left the warriors that were with you, the Moon looked around him, are the hidden somewhere? Or do we have to save them too?

- I have hidden them in a cave, Iluku shook her head, behind the magic of a petroglyph stone. The jaguar men will never be able to find them.

- Then we will have time to make up for my mistakes, her husband sweet talked to her.


- My mistakes won’t make up for yours, the answer was frozen, there is a King waiting for us. And he won’t last forever.

- Come, let’s save the King and his men, Killa finally answered, and then I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you to forgive me.

Iluku did not answer but turned around and entered the jungle.

Together, but apart, the walked through the dark forest, like two beams of light.

Barely touching the ground, floating and darting, sidestepping and eluding the obstacles on their way.

- What are we to do, my only love, the Moon inquired.

Only silence answered him.


- How are we to vanquish the jaguar men, he questioned, am I to attack them with my bare hands and win them with my charm.

Iluku laughed.

- I do wish to be alive still tomorrow night, she finally answered, I have everything ready. You shall soon see!

Women, Killa shrugged his shoulders, he would never understand them.

And never be able to live without them, he sighed while admiring his wife’s beautiful form.

The mountain loomed over them when Iluku finally stopped.

She bent over to retrieve something under a pile of old boards.

 When she stood up she held few garments of old clothes in her hand that she showed to Killa.



- What are those rags for, he asked with a laugh, are you going to wipe the dust from jaguar men’s cave?

- No, my beloved and noble husband, she giggled a little, these are your clothes. The ones that you are going to wear tonight.

Killa looked at the horrible old tattered garment that Iluku held in her hands.

- Do not worry, she nodded her head, they are quite clean. Unlike what they look.

- And you, the Moon stuttered, will you enter looking like that? What a fine pair will we be. The beastly beggar and the young noble girl.

- That wouldn’t work at all, his wife shook her head, I have a spare clothing for myself too. Just wait and you shall see.


Iluku hid behind a boulder and after a moment an old beggar woman in rags emerged.

She hobbled over the rocks in ungainly way.

Her back bended, face full of wrinkles and with a hair that had lost its shine.

Hanging from her head with a band, she carried a large wowen basked, filled with mysteriours things.

But even though the Moon was of curious nature, he just hadn't time to indulge himself in wondering what an old woman could be carrying around in the jungle in the middle of a night.

He peaked at the fast but could only see the banana leaves covering the basket.


- Dear granny, Killa asked politely, did you happen to see my wife back there? She is taken an unseemly long time and we really do have to hurry up.

- And what does your wife look like, the ancient woman inquired with her weary voice.

- She is a beautiful young woman, the Moon answered, just like you must have been granny. She was wearing a beautiful blue pacha but she was supposed to change into some old rags.

- Like the ones I am wearing, the granny swiveled around.

Killa felt his face burn and his mouth drop open.


The change was incredible, there must have been magic involved.


To be continued ...




This is the twenty first part of the story.


If you want to read the first part of the story, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 1  

To read the second part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 2 

To read the third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 3

To read the fourth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 4

To read the fifth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 5.

To read the sixth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 6

To read the seventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 7

 To read the eight part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 8

To read the ninth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 9

To read the tenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 10

To read the eleventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 11

To read the twelth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 12

To read the thirteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 13

To read the fourteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 14

To read the fifteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 15

To read the sixteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 16

To read the seventeenth part, go to the The Queen With The Frozen Heart 17

If you want to read the eighteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 18

If you want to read the nineteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 19

If you want to read the twentieth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 20