December 20, 2011
I got up and got an early start thinking that 56 miles would surely be a 10 hour day of cycling in these mountains. It ends up the first 20 or so miles was mostly downhill as I cycled down through a cloud layer that made the visibility difficult. My glasses got wet adding to the difficulty of seeing and my clothes got a little wet. It was a good downhill ride and when the sign said the curve was "40" I was doing 40 or 41. Of course they were on the metric system and I was not.
Soon I found my self cycling through a beautiful valley. It was this section that reminded me of Northern BC and The Yukon, although none of this was flat, nothing ever is here. The road is always going up or going down, in the valley the ups and downs were less and it was a pleasant ride, but all good things come to an end. By now I should probably just quit talking about the steepness, the long non stop grueling climb up, the sore legs and body from non stop pushing and pushing. I think by now most people get a bit of an idea of what these mountains are like. I did have a nice experience as I'm struggling up a big truck started honking from behind me. The truck was struggling too and was barely going faster than me up this slope. As he was passing me the driver waved and then threw an orange out to me, I waved and gave him a big thumbs up. The orange had to be the best orange I ever ate! It was given to me just when I needed a boost the most. I don't think I have ever been so happy eating an orange before.
It was early afternoon when I arrived in Ibarra and I found a hotel I looked up on the internet the day before. There were several that had wifi but during my google searches this one came up a couple of times and on a review I read the owner speaks English. So as I was riding into town I kept asking people where this was until I found someone who could direct me to it.
When I got there I immediately met the owner, Francisco, a very pleasant man who speaks excellent English. We had a brief discussion and he was very interested in my philosophy and my bicycle ride. As we talked I again felt that sense of synchronicity, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I desperately needed a shower as I was being drawn further into this discussion. After a few minutes I had to excuse myself to go shower and planned to continue our conversation later.
Later in the evening Francisco joined me in the restaurant, after my dinner we shared a beer. It ends up we have very similar philosophies about life, the Earth and the nature of reality. After some conversation, Francisco left the dining area and returned with his jacket. He pulled out a small collection of stones that he says always stays in his pocket. Each stone has a certain quality and a "medicine". He asked me to hold the stones to put my energy in them. I picked up the stones and looked at them carefully, I did not recognize several of them but I did know the quartz crystal and the amber. I held them and focused my energy into my closed hand that was holding the stones. These are the stones that are kept for their energy, he said that when he meets someone of like mind and good energy he has that person hold them to infuse the stones with their energy. As I held the stones I felt as if I was holding so much good energy in the stones that I wondered how much was coming into me versus how much I was putting into them. There seemed to be a certain "power" in them that I could feel, almost like a tiny electrical charge that tingled in my hand. I laid them back on the table and thanked him for this honor.
I am told about a sacred gathering that will happen in three days. I was fascinated by his descriptions of the vision quests and the stories he had to tell. His philosophy on life, interactions with people and the planet were very much aligned with my own personal philosophy. This is now the third time I have heard about the yage tea, in this case it is used during the ceremony with the shaman. The quest will take place in three days and by this point in the conversation, I have already made up my mind that I would like to attend the quest and meet the shaman. I will not understand what is being said but I hope Francisco can translate some of it for me, otherwise I will just "feel" the intent behind the words being said.
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