And the winners are…

Fanny has 49 points, Lissy 45 points, Lindy 39, Sue 31,  Marion 4 and Dan 1.  Fanny, Lindy and Sue all get their prizes this weekend.   Marion, one of these days you and I will be in the same town at the same time, and I will buy you a glass of wine, (or two or what the heck, we’ll split a bottle!)  Dan, nice try, but maybe next time…

Anyway,  for those of you that didn’t think Ecuador is famous for its roses, here’s proof.

You’ve heard of red roses for a blue lady, but blue ROSES? Ecuador has them.

One of our traveling companions sent me a picture she took of our tubing adventure.  I was actually enjoying it a lot more than it appears in the photo…too bad tubing happened before the moonshine visit. That bottle strapped to my chest would nothave been filled with water!

Remember the question about the horn from a snail’s shell?  Pablo, our guide tried to teach me how to play it, but I was musically challenged.

I DID go snorkeling.  Notice the fins and mask i was holding in my hand, while boarding our boat.And no, I did not wear the hat while snorkeling, or the life jacket either.

Mike took this picture of the blow gun competition.  I did NOT hit the target. Fortunately, I didn’t hit anything else either.

I love this picture that Mike took.  I call it “sibling rivalry”.

Finally, what blog of the Galapagos would be complete without a picture of its world-famous tortoises?

And thus ends this adventure.  No more blogging for a while, gang.




Ecuador: Sunrise, Sunset, and a few things in between

What an amazing country!  Although Ecuador is one of the smallest in South America, it has incredible diversity.  Quito, the capital, is on the Equator, but is high enough in the Andes that in the evening I put my long underwear to good use, despite wearing my bathing suit earlier in the day.

You can’t measure distance in linear miles alone.  Although it doesn’t look very far on the map, it took all day, by bus, to get back and forth between the Amazon and Quito, because we were winding up and around mountains.  What a perfect way to see this spectacular countryside.  As you can see, our travels took us through a “cloud forest”. 

Suddenly the clouds lifted to reveal the lush valley and part of the mountain that just minutes before had been hidden.

The ride, however, was not for the faint of heart. The sign says “Danger, death curve.  Reduce speed”.  They weren’t kidding.  Shortly thereafter we saw what happens when you ignore the warnings.

We were very fortunate to have a highly skilled, responsible driver.  Here’s Paul, at a roadside cafe, making a lunch recommendation for us.

Our road trip was broken up by a visit to the famous hot springs spa.  Here I am, doing my Mrs. Potato head imitation. This bathing suit is perfect for us “Catholic school gals”.  Hey, don’t knock it.  Less territory to cover with sun block!  And yes, everyone HAD to wear a bathing cap!

Onward to those sunrises and sunsets in the Amazon basin!  This is the view of the pool from the Casa del Suizo’s crows nest just before sunset, and then a few minutes after.  You can see the little pond in both photos.

We were up at 5:30 am to visit Bartolome Island, in the Galapagos.  This island was formed by an extinct volcano, and offers a panoramic view of Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding area.  The wooden walkway was constructed to protect the island from being destroyed by visitors walking on the fragile volcanic rock.  It has over 300 steps (I lost count) to the top.

What, you don’t think it looks very steep?  Take another look.

Are we there yet???

The view was definitely worth the effort.  Can you figure out which land mass is Pinnacle Rock?

Time for a group photo of the 15 intrepid travelers.  And what a delightful group it was.  I thoroughly enjoyed our evening gatherings for wine and conversation.

One more sunset–this one from our boat.

Next post–the contest winners will be named.



The Amazon Remembered

Home at last.  The internet access that we lived without in the Amazon and the Galapagos is now constantly available.

While in the Amazon, we visited Amazoonica, a rescue center for wounded and displaced animals.  Click on the buttons in the photo to get the slide show to work.

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Lindy asked that I include photos of me, so these are shots from Mike’s camera.

At one point, I had 7 butterflies on me.  I had put Avon’s “Skin so soft” bath oil all over me to keep away the mosquitoes and sand flies.  It not only did that, but as a bonus, it also appears to have attracted these guys!

Yes, we really DID float down the Napo river wearing long pants.  We weren’t going to take chances with that strong Equatorial sun!

And now the answer to the last contest questions about the moonshine

Yes, they did give out samples;  yes, we all tried it and yes, a half of bottle is currently sitting in my kitchen, so speak up if you want me to save you some!  But maybe drinking the moonshine wasn’t such a great idea…I’m not quite sure how THIS happened!

Butterflies, breakfast, beauty and booze

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my little buddy. He landed on my arm, and didn’t want to get off. So what’s a girl to do? Why, set the camera’s timer and take its picture, of course.


You can buy just about anything at the market in Otovalo,so I figured it would’ve the perfect place to pick up a few prizes for the contest. This was not one of them.

On our way back from the Amazon, we stopped at Papallacta, where we enjoyed the pools, which are heated by volcanic activity. Unfortunately I did not plan ahead, so was unable to get a massage, but the time spent in the pools had a similar impact. Very relaxing!

And now time for more contest questions. We visited a sugar cane farm, where we saw how the cane is harvested, and boiled down to produce sugar products.

This particular farm had its very own still for making moonshine.

So, here are the questions.
1. Do you think they were giving out samples?
2. And if they were, who do you think gave it a try? Augusta, Mike, me?
3. And what are the odds that a half a bottle of this “demon rum” might make it back to the USA? Shelley

And the answers are…

Although it would not be uncommon for me to lose multiple objects on one trip, this time I only lost my iPhone. My own fault, for leaving it in my checked luggage instead of carrying it on. Lesson learned! This time, it was Augusta who ended up making a bathing suit donation.

The correct answers to the next four questions — all true. Good job, gang.

And now on to the rest of the questions.

Augusta and I both threw caution to the wind, and floated down the Napo River, which drains into the Amazon. Unfortunately there are no photos, because I didn’t want to have to replace my iPhone AND my camera! By the way, tubing replaced the balsa raft activity. (thank God. I was a little leery of my water craft building skills!)

As for the blow gun contest, Mike was the star, demonstrating style and grace.

thank you for believing that my Spanish could actually be understood. I may not know many palabras, but the ones I DO know are key–like where is the bathroom, where can I buy vino tinto, how much does it cost? Too bad I don’t like meatballs. That’s one sentence I learned that I never use!

This next question was tricky. You all knew I wouldn’t be in the sun without hat, sun block etc, but it was Augusta, not Mike, that fell asleep in the sun and ended up with an interesting pattern on her neck.

In the Amazon basin, the snails are huge. Not only are they a source of food, but their shell is used as a horn. Take a look at this fine specimen who appeared on our deck and wanted to make friends with me. His shell wasn’t the one that I tried to play-but I DID try with one of his relatives! We did NOT make beautiful music together.

So here are the scores for just this contest:
Lindy – 8 points. You were the only one that got the first question (iPhone) right. Fanny – 8 points. You got all of the people questions right.
Lis – 7 points. You got an extra point for knowing that Augusta and I were BOTH floaters Sue -6 points. Hmmm, you don’t have faith in my Spanish abilities? Marion -4 points for getting all the true/false questions.

The Internet connections continue to be a challenge…but not for much longer.