Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”
– William Feather
Let’s get this party started…here come some Ecuador pics & tales!
My recent trip to Ecuador with Lynne was a study tour through Experience International. The tour was outstanding. Our trip planner & guide, Charlie Walkinshaw, has 35 years of experience traveling in Ecuador, so we were in very good hands!
The family-run tour company Charlie works with in Ecuador is Altropico. Sante, our Altropico guide, was a delight…his translation skills alone were mind-boggling. And various members of his lovely family joined up with us as different times.
There were about 47 people in total on the tour – a few more and a few less at times, depending on who was joining in (or opting out) at different stages. And they were REALLY nice people! Many of them knew each other from the Kulshan Chorus in Bellingham, WA. We sang our way through Ecuador 🙂
Our first week was spent in Quito and a few smaller communities in Northern Ecuador. The second week was in the Galapagos Islands and the third week was in the Amazon basin.
The trip was jam-packed full of fun & adventure so I will be breaking up the photos into 4 or 5 shorter blogs…enjoy!
Capital city of Quito
Lynne & I and a few others arrived a day before the official tour began so we could acclimatize to the high altitude of Quito (9000 feet). We took a Hop On Hop Off tour and at one point, the bus drove straight into oncoming traffic to navigate a sharp turn!
We were rather happy to see an angel at the top of THAT bus ride:
City as far as the eye can see (population of Quito is 2.7 million; population of Ecuador is 17 million):
At first, I really felt the impacts of the high altitude…tired, shortness of breath, headache and a rather fuzzy brain. But I was also exhausted from the plane trip and, of course, still really upset about Sadie. But within a couple of days, I started to feel better (physically & emotionally). I was also taking Diamox (a prescription drug that helps prevent altitude sickness) but didn’t like the side effects of tingly hand & feet.
Just north of Quito is the equator (imaginary line that runs around the middle of the earth dividing it into the Northern and Southern hemispheres). We stopped at a visitor center and our guide explained to us the science (which I had trouble grasping at the time due to the high altitude…that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).
They had us close our eyes and walk the line, literally…and the effects of the imaginary line are NOT imagined. Because of the different gravitational pulls of the north and south hemisphere, it was tough to do. It felt like my legs were being pulled in two different directions.
Another equator trick is to try and balance an egg (so that it stands up). It’s tricky to do but it can be done. Lynne did it (show off) and got her official certificate stating: “I Balanced An Egg At the Equator” (big deal). In hindsight, this may have been the start of our roommate rivalry (yes, there is already a play script in the works about our escapades) 🙂
Next stop was the town of Ibarra where I shared a sip of some sort of giant beer concoction:
NOT going to have a second sip, thanks! Have I ever said no to a beer?
Loved the sculptured hedges in this park (no, I don’t remember what town this was…I’m not THAT kind of know-it-all travel blogger where I actually know where I am or what I’m doing at any given time…I just look out the window, take a photo, then return my attention to retrieving a snack – usually a bag of crushed plantain chips – from the bottom of my pack):
On the road to our community stay in Moran in Northern Ecuador, this photo was taken at 12,000 feet. I was right out to lunch (and likely dreaming about lunch) by this point (and no, I don’t know what type of plants these are…they look like cacti but don’t hold me to that):
Thanks for sharing in my (light on details) photo journey & have a great week!
A bit more about Experience International Study Tours
Experience International (EI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization based in Bellingham, Washington. Incorporated in 1988, their mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources. EI also works with community and choral groups of all ages that travel and often sing to celebrate human diversity, peace, and social justice; to exchange and share with local groups and communities off the beaten track. Please click here for details.
Altropico is an organization committed to social and environmental causes in the binational region of Ecuador and Colombia. They collaborate with indigenous, afro-descendant and mestizo organizations, with programs and projects oriented to the good living of their populations. Please click here for further info.
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.