Sunday, July 31, 2005

Chillin' in Otavalo

When we arrived in Ecuador close to 4 weeks ago, we spent the first week in Quito taking Spanish classes prior to setting sail to the Galapagos. Quito, which is the capital, for the most part, is like most large cities-pollution, noise and corruption. However, sepapate from this “moderno” Quito, is an Antigua which is landscaped by hills, pedestrian only streets, colonial buildings and cathedrals.
We ended up staying in a “gringo” infested area near our language school. The food for vegetarians was just OK except for our frequented trips to the local Indian restaurant run by our new best friend, the Pujabi uncle who would treat us to some killer gulab jambu.
We decided upon a smaller town experience, and left the big city for a town called Otavalo, which is known in Ecuador for the HUGE weekend markets. Otavalo is a pretty quaint town set in the highlands. The population consists of a large number of indigenous people, with the rest being the metistzos. So, we got here, set up camp at Hostel Geriano began taking Spanish classes in the afternoon and spending the mornings working at San Luis Hospital. The hospital is a public one, open to the poor and is quite interesting. We spent our days rounding with the pediatrician on the kids admitted in the hospital. For every medicine, IV and even medical supplies that is necessary for the child, the parents have to go buy and bring back. So of course, the first day there’s already a story (not quite like the Ecuadorian thumb). First we should explain that in morning rounds, there is the pediatrician who’s running things, 2 head nurses following along closely, 4 random college students in white coats serving as pseudo-nurses and now of course, the 2 “doctors from the states”. There’s this boy with a massive pneumonia involving his entire left lung….so of course, after hearing the story, everybody immediately looks at Tarak, to see what the expert has to say. Of course, Sharvari couldn’t let him have his moment, and had to pipe in, (of course in 2nd grade Spanish), “oh, this kid needs a thoracentesis (for non-medical folks-it’s removing fluid from the chest for evaluation). Everybody nodded and agreed, we wrote for some antibiotics (for his poor mother to go buy) and moved on. We saw more kids, then went to clinic and around noon, we thought we were done. We went back up to the pediatric ward, and lo and behold, there was a little metal tray, with green “sterile” equipment and some test tubes wrapped in paper. We thought, hmmm, that’s odd, I wonder what that’s for. The next thing we knew, there was Tarak in sterile gloves about to do this thoracentesis on a 4 year old without any sedation. We ended up using BRUTANE (yes that means the 4 pseudo nurses holding him) and of course, Sharvari was an amazing 1st assistant. Bottom line: we got a bunch of pus, the kid survived, (no pneumo) and we looked heroes.
Enough with the medical story…. Last weekend we took a nice trip up to a volcanic lake, Cuicocha. We hiked around this amazing lake and then had lunch at the “Mirador” which means lookout. Here are some great pics from our hike!!


Chick Pea said...

beautiful pics...


hehe.. sorry to hear your wife is allergic to garbanzo beans... the best bean ever ;)

happy trails.. do you plan to go to peru? was there this past xmas/new years.. also an amazing country.. amazing landscapes and beautiful scenery.. machu pichu is a slice of heaven, and the amazon is breathtaking...

good luck with spanish classes.. hopefully you had some prior experiences learning the language besides the crash courses..


Patrick said...

What a great story. I keep forgetting that you guys are actually practicing while you're traveling. It makes more sense really than just traveling coming from you two.
Tarak, you should be a national geographic photographer. Your galapagos pictures are incredible.

Vin. said...

Blind thoracentesis w/o sedation or anesthesia!?

Wow, you guys are awesome! They won't try anything like that at Pitt w/o US guidance and a crapload of lidocaine!


Rakshit said...

Thse are nice pictures. Looks like you both are enjoying this trip very much. Be careful in strange places and with strage food. Don't be too much kanjus!. You will make lot more later. So enjoy while you have opportunities.