Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kathy and David visit Ecuador

We had the pleasure of having Steve's cousin Kathy and her husband David spend Christmas with us. it was a really wonderful visit! We spent one day on the beach in Montanita, which we had previously avoided like the plague. But, on a weekday, it's really not too bad. The gringo quotient was at a minimum, and the beach was empty enough to enjoy it. The water was a lovely temperature and the sandy beach was so nice! BG threw sand around, tried to bury Steve, and giggle insanely when the waves would splash against us.

The next day we walked about half an hour past my site (about 2km from the village) and were regaled with the calls of a troupe of howler monkeys. How cool is that? It was a great little hike, even though BG didn't want to be in the kid carrier and insisted that Mommy carry her for the whole hike. I was quite sore afterward, but it was worth it!

On Wednesday we set out to spend Christmas in Cuenca! BG did great on the bus rides (3 hrs and 5hrs) and only threw up a little bit on the first ride, so it was not nearly as traumatic as it could have been. The bus ride up and over the mountains to Cuenca was absolutely stunning! It went from lush tropical mountain sides, to an environment quite reminiscent of where we lived in Wales. Beautiful!

On Christmas Eve day, Cuenca hosts the elaborate Pasado del Nino, a parade incorporating nativity scenes, reenactments of moments of Jesus' life, people decked out in their finest indigenous dress, and displaying the bounty of their year. It started around 10am and continued until 5pm, a constant stream of people. One of the best things is that the parade route ran just a block from our hotel, so we could go out and check it out, and then pop back for BG's nap, etc., and still see most of it!

Cuenca is an absolutely beautiful city, and I highly recommend visiting it if you get the chance. Unlike Guayaquil, or even Quito, the urban sprawl and slums are somewhat minimal, so the overall impression is of a clean and prosperous city. This isn't to say that poverty doesn't exist, or isn't prevalent in the nearby indigenous villages, but overall, it's a really nice place. It was a nice treat just to be able to walk around and discover neat places and things, without being on a strict schedule. We managed to get in a little shopping and a lot of good meals and company! We even visited a "Panama" hat workshop, where Dave bought his very own. BG had a great time trying on and stacking the hats!

We gave up on our plan of visiting Ingapirca on the 26th, and just came home instead, parting wasy with Kathy and David as they continued their travels towards Quito.With my cold that's been hanging on the altitude really got to me, and I had a lot of trouble breathing. Add on hauling around a 25lber who refused to be touched by anyone but Mommy, and I was pooped. We had a close call of almost loosing BG's travel tent (including her blankie and doggie!) but managed to retrieve a lost bag, get lunch, and get on our next bus home all within a 45 minute stop over at Guayaquil's bus terminal. It's nice to be home, but the heat and humidity have increased in our absence, and after the cool and dry weather of Cuenca, I am suffering!

1 comment:

  1. Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries in South America. Hope you enjoy your stay.