Friday, January 5, 2024

A Great Wintertime Vacation

I love sitting in my comfortable chair and reading about other people’s traveling. About a month ago, my friend Nina and her husband Dave vacationed in Ecuador. I had such a great time with her detailed descriptions.


We are back and I am slowly getting all the laundry done.  We had a good trip even if they were 12 hour days.  

Things that I learned-


People in Ecuador are so kind and polite.  Just some of the nicest folks I’ve met.


The food in Ecuador is good- the main seasonings are garlic and cilantro.  All the ingredients I recognized but cooked differently.  One morning we had a traditional Ecuadorian breakfast.  Out came scrambled eggs and a baseball sized scoop of cooked mashed plantains that had beans, hominy and pork cracklings mixed in. And cilantro.


Coffee is very good but if it is offered it is served black.  Decaf doesn’t exist.


There are trout farms up in the mountains so there is a lot of grilled or pan fried fish.


Nobody can drink the tap water so any juice or water served is filtered for everyone’s sake.


There is a lot of poverty in the Amazon basin.  That said, people are always neatly dressed and food is abundant, as are chickens.  I saw clotheslines filled with laundry everywhere.


Dogs.  Dogs everywhere.   Dogs in front of houses, in front of shops, at rest stops, along the road.  Sometimes sleeping in the road and people have to drive around them.  Very few cats.  I saw only 4 in 16 days.


The country subsidizes diesel so it is a fraction of the price of regular gas.  More diesel cars there and in the city, it smells like diesel.  Ew.


I was surprised by how cold it can get there.  The cloudy forest areas are wet and chilly like Seattle and the Andes are just plain cold.  The Amazon area is just as hot and sticky as we thought it would be.   And muddy and swampy.


For one birding location boards were thrown down for us to walk across- not to keep our boots dry, just a stable place to walk.  The boards ran out and bamboo poles were set down.  It seemed a joke.  They were muddy and slick and you can guess what happened next.


I fell in.   I rinsed off with buckets of river water but back at the hotel I had to do some serious hand laundry.  The stains weren’t coming out- but then I got the idea to use my electric toothbrush.


I had stupidly rinsed my toothbrush off in tap water a few days before, ruining it.  I had a regular toothbrush as a backup but the electric was just sitting in a ziplock bag.  Some bar soap and buzz buzz buzz, the pants got scrubbed with the electric toothbrush.


Birds are astonishing in the Amazon.  Hummingbirds are wee things but there are some half sized hummingbirds not much bigger than a bumble bee.  Hummingbirds with long bills, longer than their bodies.  Hummingbirds the size of wrens and woodpeckers the size of hummingbirds. 


Our guide Miguel knew the sounds of hundreds and hundreds of birds.  He could play recordings and the birds would respond.


Denver is "the mile high city".  Quito is the two mile high city.  It was easy to get out of breath.  I enjoyed being in the old downtown section of Quito.  The streets are crowded with people and there were hundreds of tiny, specialized stores.


One was selling only cake and candy making supplies.  One was children's dresses.  Another was a miniature warehouse filled with bags of rice.  People walked up and brought smaller bags with them for the man to fill.  An older woman had a stand on the sidewalk where she sold toilet paper.   People selling bags of tomatoes, green peppers or cookies.  A store selling only fleece blankets.  Another one sold yarn and knitting needles.  A backpack store.


I asked if they had Amazon and our guide said, No, but there was a fleet of young men with motorcycles with big storage boxes on the back.  You could call them, place an order and they go shopping for you in town and then deliver the stuff to you.


I saw one woman selling brightly colored whipped cream or was it frosting?  She walked around with her big container, a scoop and wafer ice cream cones.   People were buying cones full of the fluffy stuff.   


  1. It is interesting to read about different cultures around our world - unusual to us, ordinary to them, all loved by God!! Blessings! (Erma)