Friday, February 26, 2010

The People You Meet In Cuenca: Minneapolis Based Craftsmen

I could do a hundred posts on the fabulous characters I have met since arriving in Cuenca, Ecuador. Not to malign the United States, but nowhere that I've lived there ever compares to the variety of people that you meet when you are traveling abroad!

Today I just finished an hour long conversation about the supply chain for Ukrainian Easter Eggs with a lovely man from Minneapolis. He's an engineer, and he's built several tools for processing the wax used to make the egg design. He's a supplier for this well-known Minneapolis landmark:

Ukrainian Gift Shop

If you've ever been in the Ukrainian Gift Shop you know what a unique treasure it is to browse and buy. The wood for the sticks used to make the patterns comes from Lithuania, but it is processed in Minneapolis before being sent to the Ukraine. There, the copper for the beeswax funnels is hand-processed by the owners' family before being sent back to Minneapolis, where the beeswax used in the designs is extruded and loaded into the sticks.

Although I'm supposed to be working, conversations like these always make my day. I love the learning and the novelty of it all, and it was just so funny and interesting to meet someone from where I used to live and then get a tutorial on an art form that I've always thought was cool. You definitely learn a lot when you hit the road, and not always about the things you think you will when you set out!

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