Few events excite me like watching the Quito dawn.
The city reveals herself in a purple haze…waking slowly…
but with great energy. Honored by the world as a Heritage City, Quito is ancient, rich…powerful city with every amenity.
Home to more than a million people, Quito has abounding wealth…and great shopping.
This makes our new column at this site and its author, Ray Manna, a special pleasure to introduce. Ray Manna writes in his column “Travels with Ray, Beyond Cotacachi” about Quito shopping and as you will see…much more.
Quito Shopping – Travels with Ray, Beyond Cotacachi
As lovely as our tranquil little mountain home in Cotacachi is, it helps to know that in an hour and a half one can find oneself in the midst of a metropolitan shopping experience that rivals some of the best. Today I arranged a shopping tour for friends and clients of our country inn, Meson de las Flores.
After a wonderful breakfast we piled into our van and headed off to Quito. We drove over the beautifully cobbled and landscaped roads leading out of the canton.
Our driver, Julio, was his usual gracious self as he politely described the wonders unfolding before us as we wound our way through the majesty of the Andes. The volcanoes and mountains and tended slopes are breathtaking. Lago del San Pablo and its village are remarkable in their beauty. The lake is huge and blue and surrounded with a perfect balance of agriculture and buildings. It evokes a
feeling for me of the Italian Alps. The lake backs onto a gentle which ten becomes
the steep volcanic slope of Mt. Imbabura.
After this comes the village of Tabacundo. This is the heart of Ecuador’s industry in the cultivation and shipping of Roses worldwide. Ecuador is a country of many contrasts, and this is but one of the many happy surprises that await in our region of Cotacachi.
After Tabacundo, we traverse an interesting and beautiful treed area, Guayallabamba. This area is filled with Caccia trees. It is very similar to Kenya in its feel…a bit dryer and with a more rugged feeling. They grow Cherimoya
here, and you can buy a basketful for five bucks. If you have not had
Cherimoya, let me tell you simply, that I consider it to be one of the
premium fruits on this planet!
Winding our way through the villages and eucalyptus groves that line the highway we found ourselves traversing the outermost suburbs of Quito in an area called Carapungo. Before us lay a beautiful community gracing the slopes that lead finally into Quito. This area is newer and is quite breathtaking to see.
Just a bit after this we arrived at our first destination, El Condado.
This is Quito’s newest shopping mall, and it’s truly a wonder to behold. The food courts alone will blow you away. I’ve never seen such a variety of food offerings in my life. The mall has an entire wall of glass on the fourth floor providing a full sweeping view of the stunning Pichincha beyond. The architecture is tiled and beautiful and everywhere you look it has the feel of a state of the art endeavor with art and lighting and video screens with imagery. Quito is as serious about expressing themselves in this modern format as well as they are through their traditions.
Well, what can I say? The girls couldn’t pass without stopping at the many shoe stores. My opinion was relied upon heavily and I’m pretty sure those boots and flats are going to turn some heads. Jo, a recent transplant from Dallas scored the foxiest half boots that are elegant but not over done. The leather is butter soft, with a jaunty strap around the ankle and shaft that is relaxed and feminine. Barbara, a
recent transplant from Miami, found a pair of flats in a subtle metallic and print that had a Chanel feel to them.
Next came the fabric store. Oh my god!! Talk about a collective freak out. I found a white sheer tone on tone fabric with a combination of bold shimmering bands and subtle accent banding that would look great with the gentle Andean breezes wafting through open windows on one of our typical Spring-like days. The velvets and jacquards were amazing and many for only $13 a yard. Finally, we found
an incredible midnight blue crepe with a gold metallic motif of Moorish design. We all just stood there, jaws practically open in amazement. These mountains, this weather, this beautiful architecture, and window treatments!! Get my drift?? I can’t wait!!
We continued on, Julio and I dutifully toting the growing number of prized purchases. We hit the Todo Hogar (Everything for the Home) store, a place where you can totally outfit your apartment or home. Barbara is going to be hosting the holiday for a bunch of us in her new Diana Carrasco designed home that she has rented for $600 a month. This is going to be one fun adventure. Barbara is a great cook, and I am looking forward to sampling her special version of holiday turkey.
Oh, the turkey will be fresh of course. And locally grown. That’s the way things work here.
There is so much more things I can tell you about the day, but these are some of the highlights. We finished up the day a bit tired, but with a van full of kitchen furnishings, new shoes, art supplies, fine French cosmetics, books, and a couple of cases of red and white wine from Super Maxi. Barbara opened up a couple of bottles of wine and we all had wine and cheese and crackers together in the courtyard at Meson after our long “hard” day. We found ourselves gathering in friendship and laughter here in our special home in Cotacatchi.
Come down and see what it’s about.
We’d like to share it with you!
Till next time, Ray Manna, Meson de las Flores, Land of the Sun Foundation, over and out.
We invite you to join us in Cotacachi where the shopping is great (but entirely different) as well. Come a day early or stay a day late and do some Quito shopping!
Here is Cotacachi’s main shopping street.
Otavalo, the largest indigenous market in the Americas is just minutes away as well.
Join us in Cotacachi.
Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour
Enjoy our chef ad we help at times) for great fresh Ecuador seafood!
Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic
Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Or join us on the coast.
See Ecuador’s incredible scenery.
March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour
Here is our Ecuador tour schedule for the balance of 2009.
Date Course Couples Fee
May 21-26 Ecuador Spanish Course ($999)
May 27-28 Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($749)
June 12-15 Shamanic Mingo Tour ($999)
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($749)
June 18-21 Coastal Real Estate Tour ($749)
July 2-7 Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($749)
July 10-13 Coastal Real Estate Tour ($749)
Sept. 17-22 Ecuador Spanish Course ($999)
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($749)
Sept. 25-28 Coastal Real Estate Tour ($749)
Oct. 21-26 Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)
Nov. 6-8 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador ($999)
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($749)
Nov. 11-14 Coastal Real Estate Tour ($749)
Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009 and how to attend as many of them as you like FREE.
The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual transportation.