Friday, June 8, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
focused on what is important in life...
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
My loose routine in Montañita was to wake up by 7 am, get a newspaper, make a fresh batch of coffee straight from the Colombian sierra, and greet Johan and Brett as they lazily arose for a morning swim/surf. I spent the afternoons reading or swimming or walking, and the evenings almost always included a swim right before sunset and good food whipped-up with Chef Johan´s direction, or when we felt lazy, good pasta and wine at a local Italian´s restaurant.
Once we took an enjoyable day trip up the coast to different surfing spots, including Ayampe, Las Tunas, Puerto Lopez, and Puerto Cayo with a local acqaintance. We had just as much fun talking and watching the scenery pass by from the back of the pickup as we did surfing!
Another highlight was scuba-diving at Isla de la Plata, or as they commonly refer to it as ¨Poor Man´s Galapagos¨. With Johan as my diving partner, we saw many eels, large marine turtles, big schools of brightly colored tropical fish, a blow fish, rays, and beautiful corals among other things.
At the end of a prolonged stay of 2 weeks, I resistingly packed up my things and headed for Vilcabamba, Ecuador to volunteer on a WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) farm.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
On the bus ride from Cali to Quito, we watched as the landscape changed to one of rural Andean topography and culture. We had arrived in the Ecuadorian sierra. We had a short stay in Quito where we met up with Mary O´Donnell, and went to a racous party of pure debauchery.
Next we went to Mindo for a day of hiking, swimming, and playing in the cloud forest. O´ lindo Mindo! I would like to have a farm there someday.
After saying goodbye to Johan and Mary, I headed to Cotacachi with Andy and Luis to visit our host families from 2 1/2 years ago. We showed up unnanounced, and were greeted with such warmth and graciousness. It was wonderful to be back if for only a couple days! I spent the time shelling beans and catching up with Mamita Ester and her grandkids, buying seeds and planting beds of vegetables in Andy´s and my family´s gardens, cutting Alfalfa for the pigs, and not a whole lot more.
After Cotacachi, Luis and I headed to Baños. Baños is Luis´ hometown, so going there with him was especially enjoyable. It was my first visit there, and I hope it won´t be the last! i fell in love with Baños immediately; it is quite possibly my favorite city in Ecuador. It is a small city located at the base of the very active Tungurahua volcano. It´s somewhat precarious existence is also in my opinion one of its charming qualities. As one enters Baños, surrounded by remains of lava flows (less than 1 year old), towering Andean mountain peaks, and magnificent flowing waterfalls, one has a humbling sense of being completely insignificant and at the will of mother nature´s path. Luis and I rented bicycles and coasted down the mountain 20 km to Pailon del Diablo waterfall, which is said to be one of the ten most magnificent waterfalls in the world. (Sounds like quite a subjective measure to me, but I wouldn´t argue otherwise!)
The next morning we spent in one of Baños´ many thermal baths before returning to Quito. I said goodbye to Luis and am now awaiting a night bus that will bring me to the coast of Ecuador. Montañita here I come!