We returned from the Amazon tired, damp and with a large load of laundry. We were met by our fantastic guide, Luis Gonzalez, and our outstanding driver, Viterbo Aguilar.
Rosadex, the rose grower we visited, ships 1.5 million roses per month - 18 million roses a year. That's a lot of roses.
Most of the roses are shipped to the US. The remainder are shipped to Europe and Russia. Russia is VERY particular and wants roses with LONG stems.
Far and away the biggest day of the year is Valentines Day. I think he said that they ship almost 70 percent of their roses for that 1 holiday.
First stop was to drop off our laundry so we would have clean clothes when we left Quito. Next we went for a wonderful lunch at a private mansion built in 1910, We had lunch with the owner and his sister and then went to visit his greenhouses where the rose business is conducted.
Click here to see a video of how the roses are sorted for stem length.
We walked through the greenhouses and got an explanation of how the roses are grown and the different techniques that are used to produce different results.
<<<< Inside one of the greenhouses
A single rose specimen >>>>
This morning I got up to meet Luis and Viterbo at 6am. We went to the livestock market which takes place before the regular Saturday Otavalo market.
The animal market is held in a large open area just off the main road. There appeared to be different sections for each of the animals, i.e. a section for pigs, one for cows/bulls, one for horses, etc. People bring the animals they want to sell and stand around hoping somebody wants to buy.
Pigs seem to be a popular animal at the market. Here is a man with bunch of pigs or is it a bunch of pigs walking a man? Click here to see how well the man does.
After 6am livestock market, it was artisans day. In the courtyard Hacienda Cusin, a woman from a coop was embroidering her cotton. Being caught up with the original designs, skillfull embroidery and colorful results, I impulsively bought more than she probably sells in a month.
First stop was the home and workshop of a weaving family. Miguel cleaned and carded the raw wool.
The wife spun the carded wool into rough yarn.
The wool was then dyed using lichens, nuts, fruits and plants.
Finally, Miguel wove his wall hangings. There are few of these artisans left in Ecuador. Hopefully, this family will carry on the tradition. Miguel's entire family is involved in the weaving. .
Then to the home and workshop of a successful musician. The man made a lovely pipe organ for us by cutting local bamboo into various lengths depending on the sound he needed. Click here to see a video of him making the instrument. Once the pipes were assembled, he gave us a short concert using the instrument he had just made. Click here to see and hear him playing..
Then it was time to return to Hacienda Cusin. Cusin is a beautiful hacienda with about 40 rooms of various types. Some of the rooms are private cottages while others are bedrooms from the original estate buildings. The grounds are magnificent.
We went from Cusin to the airport for our flight to Peru. However, we couldn't leave without visiting one of the local markets.