Archive for Travel Posts

published in Beauty, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 20, 2019 | 2 Comments

Welcome to the Jungle – Ecuador Photo Blog #5

 

MA, Lynne & gang on the Nepo River in the Amazon basin, Ecuador

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

– Robert Swan

Finding the above quote for today’s blog sure got me thinking.

This is the fifth & final photo blog about our Ecuador adventure…

After the Galapagos, we returned to the mainland (Cumbaya, a suburb of Quito). I love this photo…I was buying a belt from a guy outside a market and this old fella was supervising the transaction:

Basílica del Voto Nacional, Quito, Ecuador

Then we headed to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Our base was the ever so lovely La Casa del Suizo jungle lodge (I highly recommend it…the food was outstanding). From there, we did day trips as well as an overnight stay in a local community…right IN the rainforest (our hut was on stilts; the ants were HUGE).

Our mode of transportation was by boat on the Nepo River (a tributary of the Amazon River):

Amazon-sized leaves, primary forest

Yours truly ticking another item off the bucket list: hiking in the Amazon 🙂

Our community-stay in a local village…

Muddy trails

 

Margarite the matriarch

 

Goofing around with selfies (looking a little wild)

 

Goofing around with a blow gun

And look what we found on a tree in the village…if you look closely, you’ll see it is hundreds & hundreds of caterpillars:

Another thing we found in the village…two of our own group dubbed as princesses:

Lynne & Nancy were singled out (in a good way) by the local women for asking lots of questions

Back at the La Casa del Suizo, we heard an informative presentation by the sister (third from right, back row) of our Altropico guide, Sante. She works with OMASNE, an organization that raises awareness about mining development in Ecuador. Their hashtag is #Bosques Sin Mineria, which means Forests Without Mining.

Some of us in our OMASNE t-shirts

“Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.”

– E.O. Wilson

We also visited a butterfly farm just down the road from our lodge…

Check out the GOLD cocoons!

After leaving the butterfly farm, we walked past a school and I popped my head in a classroom and snapped this pic:

Not to be outdone by Lynne’s princess-status, I received some recognition of my own on the tour as a DOUBLE WINNER of the Party Animal Award AND the Sung Hero Award. No wait…I think it was called the Unsung Hero Award – but by the time I was finished wearing it for a few days, they may have had to rename it…a humble Double Winner I am not.

And that’s a wrap! Our adventure was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am beyond grateful that I was able to go. Thank you for sharing in my photo journey…and if you have a hankering to go to Ecuador yourself, I highly recommend traveling with Experience International and Altropico. I have been blessed to travel to many places but these two organizations ensured my time in Ecuador was a truly unique (and fun!) experience that I will never forget.

Thank you Charlie & Sante…and Lynne, of course, for putting up with me. Rooming with a Double Winner cannot be easy 🙂

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.

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Great Galapagos – Is that a Giant Tortoise or What?!

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

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 Animals, Beauty, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 15, 2019 | 4 Comments

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 | 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.