|Richard, Mark and Susanita at the equator|
|a view of quito|
Here is a view of Quito from high above the city. We took the "TeleferiQo" a multimillion dollar sky tram that takes you 2.5k above the city bringing us to over 12,000 feet. Since we were only in Quito for a few days we did all the things that good tourists could fit into the schedule, like visiting the Palacio de Gobierno - where the President, who was there the day we were there, conducts his business. Inside were some great murals.
|The Government Palace|
We happened to be in Quito during Carnaval which meant that there was lots going on, especially parades and many people with cans of foam like substance spraying it on everyone. We were all hit with the foam once or twice during the time in Quito as well as the other places we visited. This long 4 day holiday also meant that many Ecuadoreans were traveling for the long weekend and when we wanted to leave to head to Otavalo, our next stop we could not get a bus or if we had waited it would have been for many hours for the two hour trip so we took a cab. The same happened to us the following day when we wanted to go to Mindo and so again the three of us paid for a cab instead of the long wait for a bus. We know enough now not to travel on special holidays like this.
|Carnaval in the city|
Probably one of the real highlights of the trip was learning about the famous Ecuadorean painter Oswaldo Guyasamin. I cannot explain how it is possible that neither of us had ever heard of him (I hate to admit this). All during our trip had heard about the museum that he had built called Capilla del Hombre - Chapel of Man which represents the suffering of Latin America's indigenous poor and to the underlying hope for something better. We both loved all his artwork and I recommend that you check it out online and certainly visit if you are in Quito.
|little varieties of potatos|
|Marie and Chaski (from the band Los Chaskis)|
The next day we were off to Mindo. This is the small town (2500-3000 people) where our friends Mark and Rebecca are helping to start a medical clinic. It is a town of mostly Ecuadoreans but there are many tourists coming for the outdoor adventures as well as the incredible birding opportunities. We had a taste of all of these...chocolate factory, coffee roasting company, butterfly garden, hiking, 5:00 am tour to a special place to see a bird called "Cock of the Rock - Gallo de Pena" - male birds that strut their feathers and squawk at 6am every day and long meals with friends of Mark...getting to know the locals. We saw many other birds as well as 15 or more species of hummingbirds. I did learn on this trip that I am not really a "birder" and enjoyed the flowers and leaves and colors of the forest more than standing with binoculars looking at birds. I did, however, enjoy watching the other birders.
|Richard and Mark on the early morning birding trip|
|a few of the birds - really hard for me to get many pictures|
THANKS all for following our travels. It is wonderful knowing that all our friends and family are with us while we are on the road and please know that we love and miss you all.