Monday, January 9, 2012

Papallacta (potato town) at 11,000 feet

Papallacta is a combination of words. Papa (it means potato in Spanish) and llacta (which means town in Quichua). It is a small village up in the mountains east of Quito.

It is famous for the hot springs and the HCJB Global hydroelectric plant that was built here 30 years ago. A year ago HCJB Global sold the plant to a German investment group but the missionaries can still use the guest houses. This is where we stayed. The place was very nice. Clean, large, with HOT WATER straight from the tap (not Potable – but hot)!!! (What a thrill after fighting cold water for a year).

On the way up here we stopped and bought a paper man. Ecuadorians have a tradition of making a full size paper person with clothes and making a mask of who it reminds you of. At the New Years Eve celebration the idea is to burn the person to signify the burning of all things old to start the New year. The mask on our “man” was the president of Ecuador- however we were told that it is not considered disrespectful to burn the paper man version of the president– just an ending of the old year and old things.

We spent a morning at the hot springs with the entire group of 17 people. Lots of fun. The place was very pretty and the water ranged from almost too hot to near frozen river water. After a peaceful afternoon in the town we again returned to the hot springs for an evening swim.

Dinner and games were the story of the night as everyone waited for the New Year. The boys started a small fire outside to prepare for burning the paper man and a spot was set up for fireworks. Fireworks here are not like the USA. You can buy near professional grade fireworks rather cheaply. We had bottle rockets 4 feet long and the rocket was larger than an aluminum soda can.

As the fireworks progressed we had a near accident as one of the smaller rockets tipped over and shot into the crowd. Praise the Lord no one was hurt. On New Years Day we cleaned up and headed back to Quito for a week of shopping for household items and orientation.

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