Ecuador and Galapagos

Donde esta el Banos?

“Fraaaaaaancoooooo, Ingles” The woman behind the counter at the Hostal Abalorio cooed. A man rustled a little on the couch in the lobby under a heap of blankets. She called Franco’s name a few more times until he rose from the couch. Half asleep, Franco hobbled towards us. Struggling to do two things at once in his stupor, his put the small round glasses on his face and asked if we spoke German before resorting to English.…

Cotopaxi: Part Two

“Why aren’t they stopping?” Cary asked wringing her hands. “It’ll be alright, one of them will stop. Relax.” I tried to make the words sound as assuring as possible, but I was beginning to have doubts of my own as another bus roared by without even looking at my outstretched arm. Everyone from Luis to Esteban to our guide at Cotopaxi had assured us that getting a bus back to Quito from Cotopaxi would be “no problema”.…

Cotopaxi: Part One

“La Entrada de Cotopaxi!” The bus attendant called. We looked around and didn’t see anything resembling the entrance to a national park. The bus didn’t slow, but we walked to the front anyway, thinking we might have to duck and roll to get off this thing. The bus slammed to a halt and the door opened. I looked outside and saw nothing more than open road. “Where is the entrance?” I asked in Spanish.…

Otavalo: You Don't Know What Cuy Is?

“Luis, what do you call that plant?” I asked, pointing to one of the hundreds of Century plants dotting the countryside. “That? Just ‘cactus’.” “I can’t believe there are so many of them. They are a treasure in many American gardener’s collections.” “Here, they are a nuisance.” After a Jumbo breakfast we took a road trip to the north of Ecuador. Along the way to our first destination we stopped at one of the many equator lines.…

Old Quito: The Cure for Altitude Sickness

Feb. 17th 2012 I popped out of bed starving and ready to get some food in me. Cary rolled out wondering what the hell was wrong with her. We made our way downstairs and as we had breakfast the effects of altitude sickness took hold of Cary. After politely excusing herself from the table, Cary rushed back upstairs to eject what little she had already eaten. She allowed me to eat the rest of her meal, which in addition to 3 cups of Luis’ fabulous coffee, made me all right with the world.…

Center of the Earth: Coming in Hot

Feb 16th 2012 “We’re coming in kinda hot, aren’t we?” “Uhh, yeah”

The little display embedded in the seat in front of me indicated Time remaining to destination: 25 min. I glanced up seconds later and it read 19. Moments prior the captain had indicated that we shouldn’t be concerned with the woman lying in the aisle, and that she was well taken care of. He kindly asked that we stay seated while they rush her off the plane after we land.…