Archive for Photos Posts

published in Animals, Beauty, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 15, 2019 | No Comment

Great Galapagos…is That a Giant Tortoise or What?! – Ecuador Photo Blog #4

 

Iguana pals on rock, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin, 1800 – 1882

Wow, wow, wow…

From sea lions, sharks and dolphins to iguanas (land and marine), Blue Footed Boobies, Darwin’s famous finches, flamingos and, of course, the giant tortoises, seeing the wildlife of the Galapagos was a dream come true.

Our five days there were jam-packed with seeing animals, swimming, snorkeling, eating, boating, hiking…and locking out my travel companion’s credit card. Oops 🙂

Let’s start with the giant tortoises…

The males can weigh up to 500 pounds. A giant tortoise can live up to 150 years.

Whoops…wrong end.

Tortoise love

Iguanas…

Iguana in the mangroves, Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island

Iguana crossing

“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”

– Edward O. Wilson

Sassy Sea Lions…

Sea lion yoga on dock, Santa Cruz Island

 

Sea lions lounging on park bench, Isabella Island

Snorkeling Shenanigans (Homo Sapiens)…

MA & Lynne happy on boat (before the credit card incident)

Team Snorkel

 

A delightful lunch on board…

 

Back home again in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

Lovely Isabella Island…

White-tipped reef shark

 

Lone flamingo

And then we had crepes…

Right after this photo was taken, Lynne and I had a scrumptious feed of crepes and beer…possibly more beer than crepes, which might partly explain the credit card faux pas. When the time came for me to pay my bill, I cheerfully punched in my PIN. Wrong number. I punched it in again. Wrong number. I punched it in a third time, which is when I remembered that you only get three chances. Wrong number again.

“That’s odd,” I (finally) thought to myself then pulled my credit card out of the machine.

Except, of course, it was not my credit card. It was Lynne’s. No wonder my PIN didn’t work! So I casually handed Lynne her card back and said (rather softly), “Your card is probably locked out.”

“Pardon me?” she said.

“I’m pretty sure your card won’t work anymore,” I said sheepishly, then took another sip of beer (why stop now?).

It didn’t (which was confirmed after a rather panicky call to her credit card company). There ended Lynne’s access to her credit card.

Thankfully, she had a second card. So all’s well that’s end well. The moral of this story is be careful who you travel with. No wait…that’s not right. Always have a back-up credit card…yes, that’s the lesson here 🙂

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Surviving Inti Raymi – Ecuador Photo Blog #3

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 Inspiration, Joy, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 7, 2019 | No Comment

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 Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | July 24, 2019 | 4 Comments

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

 

Lynne walking the line at the equator, Ecuador

“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!

MA & Lynne holding on tight

We were rather happy to see an angel at the top of THAT bus ride:

Statue El Panecillo ( Virgin Mary with wings of an Angel)

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.

My paparazzi pose in Quito 🙂

The equator

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:

MA & Bev in Ibarra

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):

Some of our group with Sante on the far right

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. 

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.