Archive for Joy Posts

published in Inspiration, Joy, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 7, 2019 | 2 Comments

Surviving Inti Raymi – Ecuador Photo Blog #3


MA after taking swig of sugar cane swill

“We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity.”

– Desmond Tutu

Party, party, party…

You know the saying, “When in Rome…”? Well, when it’s Inti Raymi time (end of June) in Ecuador, get ready to celebrate with the locals!

Inti Raymi is celebrated in Andean villages in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador. People sing, dance, play music, eat, drink, celebrate and show gratitude for the bounty of the earth. Inti Raymi means Festival of the Sun or the sun’s resurrection.

Members of indigenous communities also undergo ritual spiritual purification, which they believe results in a renewal of energy, as well as a strengthening of their relationship with Mother Nature. Here is a great link to learn more about Inti Raymi.

On our trip, we were very fortunate to be able to celebrate Inti Raymi with an Indigenous group of performers, the Juyungo Dancers. They were outstanding musicians and dancers – and pretty determined to make sure we didn’t just observe the celebration but also participated 🙂

At the beginning of the evening, I was tired (and still feeling blue about Sadie) so I chose a seat nearest the exit with the hopes of slipping out early:

Hah! Here are some party pics:

Lynne dancing up a storm

Earlier on, we all stood in a giant circle and a Shaman slowly worked his way around the group, performing a spiritual cleanse of sorts on each and every person. It was powerful.

The celebration continued the next day:

Love this shot…the musicians were taking a much-needed lunch break but kindly posed


One of my favourite photos from the trip 🙂

And just in case we didn’t have enough in the way of joy & laughter, singing & dancing, we also visited the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Mascarilla. We saw a demonstration of their mask-making:

And then the party began:

Lynne busting a move with the town matriarch…yes, that IS a bottle of wine on her head!


MA & kids in Mascarilla

That’s it for this blog…I am exhausted from just posting these photos! I can’t believe how much we saw and did while in Ecuador. More photo blogs to come…

Until then, have a wonderful week & enjoy the lazy, hazy days of August!

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Magical Moran – Ecuador Photo Blog #2

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

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. 

About Altropico

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.



published in Activity, Inspiration, Joy, Laughter, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | April 23, 2019 | 4 Comments

Disneyland For Dummies


MA & Laura on the Dumbo ride

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

– Karl Barth

So I took a little break from unpacking boxes…

And went to Disneyland over the Easter weekend with my niece, Laura, who turned 27 while at the park (she got to wear the Birthday Button). We had a BLAST!!

Our 3-day adventure was as fun as it was mainly because Laura is a Disneyland-guru.

By that I mean she knows Disneyland…where to get the freshest churros (don’t settle for ones that have been sitting around for 20 minutes), how to use the FastPasses AND the FastPass app, which ride to tackle first in the day before the line-up gets too long (Radiator Springs), where to watch the World of Colour show (and to remain seated as long as possible, to rest those aching feet, before the park wardens make you stand up), how to appease an Aunt who is weirdly obsessed with the Star Tours ride (take Aunt on said ride over & over again until she has seen every single variation of C-3PO’s intergalactic journeys), how to make that Aunt even happier (take her on her second favourite ride, Soarin’, over and over again), and so on.

The trick to having a successful visit to Disneyland is simple: go with a pro who makes things smooth like buttah (speaking of which…oh, the popcorn!)

45 hours, 75,0000 steps and 60 rides later (we’re weren’t muckin’ around), I can safely say we got our money’s worth out of Disneyland and California Adventure.

And the food was AMAZING…from churros, corn dogs and hot fudge sundaes to fried chicken, monte cristo sandwiches and deep fried pickles (but for Heaven’s sake, don’t bite into them right away…let them cool a moment. Laura warned me but I did listen? No, of course not…and the roof of my mouth is still sore).

If you haven’t had the Mickey-shaped beignets at the Mint Julep bar, you may wish to add them to your bucket list…yum! Oh, and the Dole Whip (pineapple deliciousness) on a hot day tastes even better while watching the kooky but cheery singing bird show in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.

Here are some snaps from our 3 days of fun:

My most Magical Moment: meeting Minnie Mouse 🙂

If you’ve been to Disneyland or DisneyWorld, what are some of your favourite rides, food and/or memories? 

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

– Milton Berle

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 regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.