Friday, March 27, 2009

The way we roll, ya know?

All is gravy baby in this here land they call Ecuador

So as of now, the crew is kickin it in Quito yet again before heading down to Peru-a-go-go where all should go equally swell. This past week Adam and Heather entrusted their sanity, safety and well being in the hands of us, spanglish speaking loonies, in hopes that we wouldn´t seriously hurt, or offend anyone. All i can say is bless their souls...bless their souls.
Our week of fun in the sun began with a surprisingly smooth bus ride down the coast. All went well, and the group was taken aback my Amanda´s travel brilliance, and I have decided to name my first born after her as a token of my gratitude. Hope she won’t mind.
Anywho, Puerto Lopez was oh so lovely except for all the trash that these here Ecuadorians find to complement the breath taking beaches so well. It makes strolling down the play a bit treacherous when you are constantly avoiding lord knows what in the form of day old plastic wrapped little gifts of surprise. Well I guess in a place as tranquillo as the big P.L. you need something to keep you on your toes.
Also, Adam has decided to write a short novel on the ramped mating habits of street dogs that really just can´t seem to get enough. I personally find it a bit perturbing but that is neither here nor there. It was classic, every morning we would be enjoying heaven on a plate (also known as desayuno) and without fail, the wild mongrels would perform a rather strategic shag-dance fest-thing that would consist of much barking, yipping, and ever awkward fighting mid thrust between the males. Talk about mildly unpleasant!
Beside the dogs, however, there was much wildlife to been seen. On Monday, we ventured out to Isla de la Plata where we saw three types of Boobies and yes, needless to say, there were far to many attempts to stifle our oh so mature laughter. It’s quite pathetic really how one simple word can set off a group of young adults. One would think that we are all professionals here but no, Boobies are just far too absurd to keep a straight face when discussing the importance of saving their habitat and all that good stuff. The island itself was large, dry, and rather hot but beggars’ can´t be choosers when it comes to Boobie spotting. Our afternoon was spent swimming around the island and basking in the glory that is the Pacific Ocean. The color of this water was enough to take your breath away, which as you could expect made the whole snorkel\swimming thing rather difficult.
Day two was spent at Agua Blanca, which ironically had very little water, and if you ask me, it was more brown then white but there’s no need to get caught up on the particulars now is there. We learned that they buried the dead in pots about the size of a small water cooler. I asked the guide if the whole stuffing a body in a pot thing was difficult and he explained that the people of this region, back in the day were rather small and no, it wasn´t difficult. I don´t think he saw the humor in my question, but that isn´t surprising at all. Also at Agua Blanca there were some lovely sulfur hot springs that smell all the better in mid-day heat.
Day three was one to go down in the books for the simple reason that dearest Paul celebrated his 20th year of life in style. We went to Los Friales, possibly the best beach in the whole world, but I´m not going to get ahead of myself. There were absolutely no other people on the expansive playa and the sun, water and world were all in celebration of Paul´s big day. The crew was able to pull together a picnic that pretty much was the bomb. We feasted on marmalade, and manis (peanut butter, which by the way is surprisingly difficult to come by) samis, local oranges, and cookies galore. What a life we lead!
Yesterday, we spent a long 12 hours on a bus from the P.L. back to Quito. Can someone say fun cuz I sure can! Anyway, life is, you know what I speak of, and we all look forward to Peru with the excitement of a child on Christmas morning, or some other really excited creature.
Well then, hope all is peachy in the grand states up north and give a shout out to all the fam and friends that are deprived of our tender love.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Composting Toilets

What up yall this week has been a blast. the organic farm called rio muchacho was an amazingly wonderful place. everybody loved it.

We had a full five days there at rio muchacho. we did something new every day. A reguler day consisted of waking at six and doing the morning chores, varrying from cleaning the pig pens, helping with breakfast, cutting grass with machetties and fedding the horses, or cleaning qoy cages. at 7:30 we would eat breakfast and some one usualy two people would be on dishes. at about 8:30 we would take a class on organic agriculture. tought by Dario. we did tours and classes most days in the mornings of the garden and different eco friendly systems. like solar energy, the composting toilets, compost bins and etc. after lunch we would do something like make rings or cups and spoons out of a gord like plant called mate or make necklaces out of tagua, or working in the gardens planting weeds or choping and pulling weeds. we would rest the rest of the day at around 4:30 and eat dinner. in la noche we would chill out maybe watch a video or play cards. and sleep like we hadent slept in days.

So we did alot and had a blast, after today we leave early in the morning for puerto lopez to begin free travel.

Till next blog, onyx

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Im a G in the jungle"

We left Otavalo a week ago for the Alto Choco Forest Reserve in northern Ecuador. Ramiro and Carolina, Ecuadorian mountain man, and a Swedish woman, our two contacts there, met us in town to get us started. We ended up in our own small van following a rocky road through the mountains driving through thick clouds to get to the town of Santa Rosa. We got out at the start of the town, just a couple of houses, a store, and hiked into the forest to the house we would be staying in for the week.
Staying with us were Ramiro, Carolina, and three Belgian boys that had been there for 5 weeks already.

We brought all the food for the week up with us, excluding the avocados we picked off a tree, and got our water directly from a river in the jungle that we had to hike to when it got clogged, and of course it did.

We did a variety of things in our stay in Alto Choco. We used machettes to plant baby trees and branches of trees that would grow quickly. We cleaned out the tree nursey and helpéd order what was in there. We spent a lot of time unearthing plastic bags with soil in them that were to be used for seedlings but I guess were forgotten and completely covered with soil and the new arbolitos. We went into town for a crochette lesson, making bracelets from all natural materials, and for our last day we hiked up the house the Belgian boys were working on and hiked further into the reserve to the corn fields meant to feed the rare spotted bears that are protected by the reserve. We planted more corn and then had our lunch of rice sandwiches in a spot cleared by a hungry bear.

We did important work reforesting some of the last 40 acres of the reserve that had not been reached, and we all loved the peace and tranquillity of the reserve, relaxing by a fire at night in a hamock.

Today we are hopping on a bus for the coast and a week working at Rio Muchacho organic farm, making chocolate and milking cows!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Otavalo Take Two

Hey all! We are back in Otavalo for another weekend in the city. We have just returned from a week in the Cloud Forest, teaching English and computer skills to little kids. They were all absolutely precious and it was incredibly rewarding. As far as English goes, we taught the kids numbers, the alphabet, colors, days of the week, months of the year and basic greetings like hello, how are you and my name is _______ in English. They all learned pretty fast!
The setting we were in was incredibly gorgeous. Green mossy mountains everywhere you looked, with a minty green river snaking its way through. There were banana trees and tropical flowers everywhere you looked. Each day we took a 45 minute walk from the house where we were staying to the school where we were teaching, so we got to take in a lot of the scenery.
Living in the house all together was fun. The girls had a bit of a bug problem in our room so Im sure it was pretty funny for everyone else to hear us shrieking for about 5 minutes before and after we stomped on another big cockroach. Turns out some of the men who we were staying with and were helping us with cooking etc this week had some shamanistic abilities, so they taught Karen, Amanda and I to be ¨brujas¨or witches and our ceremony to become brujas involved having to walk through a huge waterfall! Ouch! It was an incredibly refreshing and amazing experience. We are witches now so look out!
We have had a lot of fun trying different plates of Ecuador, drinking fresh pinapple, papaya and blackberry juices, playing thousands of rounds of cards, and getting to spend time with the kids.
Next step- working in a nature conservation park but we aren´t sure yet what our jobs will be exactly.. wish us luck!
¡Hasta luego y muchos besos!