Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mindo -- Birds of Mindo, Part 2

I went out to the same bird watching location a second day, this time in the rain.  The photos may not be quite as clear but I think the birds are still just as lovely as ever.

This first photo may be my favorite from the trip.  There's this little fellow sitting on the sign for his feeding station looking exactly like the bird painted there.  Was he posing for me, do you think?  Probably not.

Our tour guide, Euni, captured this picture on our last morning there.  It was raining again and I decided I didn't think I wanted to go one more time.  Darn!  Well, I'm just glad she got the shot.
A toucan in all his glory!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mindo -- Birds of Mindo, Part 1

There's just nothing quite like the butterflies and birds of Mindo.  I'm sure there are many other places where there are as many and possibly even more but I haven't been there and so I'm just thrilled to be able to share these with you.


Our first outing to see the birds was to a nearby hostal/restaurant that had a bird viewing area in the back.  If you ate there, the admission was free--if not, it was $2.  Either way it was a great deal.  The people have a variety of feeding stations set up to attract the local birds and they succeed beautifully!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mindo -- Chocolate, Flowers, and Miscellaneous

Our first day in Mindo we took a tour of a chocolate factory.  The tour was fun and the tasting afterwards was even more fun.

Our tour guide, Jorge, is describing the process of drying the cocoa beans.  (Isn't he cute?)

The view from the balcony at the factory.

Monday, January 28, 2013

End of the World and Christmas Party

One of the restaurants in town decided to have and End of the World and Christmas Party on December 20th.  Reservations were required and it's a good thing because the place was packed for both seatings.

Some of my dinner mates.  You hear me talk about Jack and his email list all the time--well, that's Jack up close and personal.  Now you have a face to go with the name.

One of the things I love about Casi Olivias is the mural painting on the walls.

Our host, Rudolpho, offered several toasts...

one of which was to a man who was born in Oklahoma City on the day of the bombing back in 1995.  Now there's a claim to fame I don't think I'd want to have.

 Our chef and sous chef mugging for the camera.

Ah, that's better.  The meal was fabulous, the company was bun, and a good time was had by all.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Trip to Mindo--The Journey Begins

This past week I was able to go down to Mindo for four days and I had the most magnificent time! I have tons of photos to share of course and much to tell you about this lovely, little tourist town in the Cloud Forest.

We traveled in style:
Our bus was a school bus and, as such, made for somewhat smaller people than most of us but it was still very comfortable and it was lovely to have such a delightful driver, Rolando.  We were on our way from sunny Cotacachi at 8:30 Monday morning.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The President Comes To Town

Yesterday was a big day for Cotacacheños--President Raphael Correa came to town for a brief visit.
The president is the guy smiling almost in the center of the photo.  None of these pictures are great.  Unlike my friend, I was much further back in the crowd and was using my telephoto lens in the pitch dark with people surrounding me.  I'm just glad I got more than crowd shots.

Grand Openings

We recently had two new businesses open on the same day.  It was lots of fun and I wanted to share that with you.

There is a new restaurant in town (of course there is--we have new restaurants opening on a regular basis here) but this one is a wee bit different.  It's a totally vegan restaurant.  It's owned and operated by an Ecuadorian family who don't speak English but the chef does and he loves talking about the food he makes so it's lovely to be able to hear what is in something until my Spanish gets to the point where I can understand all of that.

The decor is lovely with tables set a comfortable distance apart.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Photo Roundup January 24, 2013

Today is the day I return from Mindo.  I'm quite certain I won't be writing any blog posts tonight and probably not tomorrow so I decided to share some of my photos that are just fun, interesting, or both.

I LOVE this guy.  He was here in town with his friend (wife, partner, whatever) and I made the mistake of assuming he wasn't from here because of his attire.  It may not show up adequately here but those are silver lamé plants.  When I asked, in English, if I could take his picture, he responded in Spanish.  Uh, once again with the assumptions on my part.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Special Event at Morochos, Part II

As this is magically posted for me, I'm enjoying a visit to Mindo, in the cloud forest.  I will be writing about my trip there in upcoming days (or perhaps weeks, who knows?) but if you'd like to take a quick peak at what the area looks like in the meantime, if you'd like to take a quick peak at the area, the Cloudforest Ecolodge has a great site for learning more about the area.  That link takes you directly to the page for the Cloud Forest but the rest of the site has more information.  I'm not staying anywhere quite so grand but it's a lovely place to start.  If you are less interested in the descriptions and more interested in what it looks like there, just go to Google, put in "Mindo Ecuador," and click on the link for Images.  Tons of fabulous stuff there.

OK, back to Morochos!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Special Event at Morochos, Part I

In mid-December there was an event in Morochos that, among other things, was celebrating the 12th anniversary of the home sharing program in the indigenous communities (it had a lovely, official name that I didn't write down and so it is totally gone but I can get it if anyone is in need of it).

Paige is the Peace Corp Volunteer in Morochos and she makes sure we know about events up there that we might be able to support and that we'd also enjoy.  This was indeed one of them.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Music Night at Trebol

Trebol is one of the local restaurants that is owned by expats and has a menu most people would feel very comfortable seeing in the U.S. or Canada.  David and Wendy do a lot of fun things.  There is pizza on Thursday, movies on Wednesday, and music on Friday.  Oh my but we have fun.

The Friday before Christmas was a night to remember.
Almost all our musicians are here--Justin, the youngest, is the son of David and Wendy, owners of Trebol.  He's an amazing little talent.  The adult musicians all work with him the same as they do with one another--he's not "just a kid," he's another music maker.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy New Year

New Year's Day is the most "official" holiday in all of Ecuador.  In the entire time I've been here there has never been a day when everything was closed but New Year's Day it was--everywhere.  There was no gas delivery, garbage pickup, absolutely nothing that made any noise out there.  No deliveries, no stores open, nothing.  It was pretty amazing.  I only mention the gas delivery and garbage pickup because those folks were out on Christmas Day but not on New Year's Day.

Of course the night before was a whole different story.  New Year's Eve is a huge event here filled with symbolism and lots of parties.
People dress in costume, stop cars, and demand a fee to pass.  Of course it's pretty much voluntary and I always saw them lower their ropes if they had them or step aside for taxis.  These adorable kids live in my block and for a small fee they were more than happy to pose for me.  The wigs were very popular and I think that next year I might have to try to find one for myself.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

More Christmas

As I've said, Christmas in Cotacachi is a big deal.  Everyone participates in one way or another.  The nativity scene in this city display is almost life size and there's a lovely tree as well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Morning Observations

I'm sitting in my living room this morning, less than a block from the main east/west street through town and two blocks from the main north/south street, looking out at an avocado tree and a guava tree, listening to a half dozen varieties of birds, the chickens and rooster next door, and a horse that just passed by out front.  To borrow a movie title, it's a wonderful life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fiesta de la Jora International Encounter Food Festival

Welcome back to "Cynthia Goes To Ecuador."  It's been a while since I've written--so much is happening here!  I got over my flu and I'm almost over my cold.  I've had my furniture delivered (part 1 of 2).  New friends have come from the States.  I've been shopping for my house in Ibarra. In general, I've been running around like crazy.

I have been trying to decide whether to go back and catch you up with all those photos I took for various occasions or just go forward from here.  I decided on a combination of the two.
I'll include some of my favorite events that have some fun photos and the rest I'll either fill in on the odd and sundry photo post or not share them.  I could go for a couple of months with absolutely nothing new otherwise.

The fellow in this photo was around at the Jora Food Festival and how could I not share him with you?  Well, there's more, too, of course.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Holidays and the Flu

Hello, my friends.  I'm back in the saddle after a very long semi-hiatus.  I now not only have my computer up and running, I have almost reliable internet service, and I've come through on the other end of a very nasty flu bug.  I still have the cold that accompanied it but in comparison to how I was feeling for the past several days, I'm in the pink of health.

There's are several things I like about small towns and a few I don't particularly care for.  One of the things that can be a bit of a challenge is the rumor mill.  One of the great things is the rumor mill.  There I was, sick as a dog, and I called a woman with whom I had an appointment and told her I couldn't come because I was sick.  The next thing I know, she's delivering soup and tea to me.  She brought it the next day as well.  Then I get a call from another friend telling me "the word on the street" is that I'm down with the flu.  She helped tell me what is good to do for it to help it get better faster.  Then I got a call from another friend.  All three of these women asked if there was anything they could do or could they bring me anything?

It occurred to me that this outpouring of aid and offers of aid wouldn't have been forthcoming in the States.  I know it would have for some people--my sister, for example--but not for me.  I didn't have that kind of support system there.  I lived in my last apartment for over two years and I've lived here less than 10 months and have people coming to help and offering more help.  I also know that with a phone call I could have had help from many other sources if I had needed them.  I'm not saying there weren't people in Minneapolis who would have helped me--there were.  I could have picked up the phone there and gotten two or three people to help out but here it's more like a dozen or more.  It's a good place to live.

As for the holidays, there was much activity here.  Unfortunately I missed quite a bit of it because I was so sick but there's always next year and I still have lots of photos for you.  Since I'm still a little under the weather today I think it might be a day or two before I get around to doing a post with photos and information about what's happening here but they're coming.