Wednesday, May 31, 2006

my last month in ecuador

It´s been awhile since I´ve written since I´ve been volunteering for the last 2.5 weeks at the Magic Roundabout ecolodge/hostel/farm (website is here) to save some dinero that I´ve been burning through at a rapid pace. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. The place is beautiful. Ali and Meg own about 80 acres of land in the Ecuadorean cloud forest, with several waterfalls, trails, cabanas, rolling hills, etc. on the property. Just like the rest of Ecuador, you can expect rain almost every day at some point. Ecuador is really really green. While there I was a chef, a server, a dishwasher, a sign maker, a sign poster, a mule carrying things from the road to the hostel at the top of the hill, etc. Some days we had no guests, other days we were filled to capacity with about 20 guests. Those days were busy. The most rewarding things I did involved community work. Had a minka one day, which is where everyone from the community of Las Palmas comes together to help one household out with a chore that requires lots of hands. The day I helped out was making and sterilizing sawdust bags for producing oyster mushrooms. Not a difficult process, but too long and probably boring to explain here. Other community activity included cleaning out chicken shit from the chicken coop for 3 hours to make fertilizer. One of those things you do once in your life to say you did it, and hope to never do again. Also, at the Roundabout, we had a big old fiesta for a little boy's first communion, and his sister's baptism last Sunday. Ended up partying with 50 drunken Ecuadoreans till the break of dawn. Que bueno!
Anyway, here are photos from the last month in Banos, Quito, the equator, and the Magic Roundabout in Ecuador:

church in Banos

hilltop view of Banos

did a hike up to the top of Pichincha Volcano at 4800 meters, just outside of Quito. Took this Mitsubishi Montero up to a point, then hiked the rest.

this was another group whose Land Cruiser got stuck part of the way up the hill.

mountain flora

a cross near the top

cloud people

view from the top with lots of clouds and me looking at clouds

views from the Secret Garden Hostel in Quito. great place by the way.

photos of stained glass windows and mass in the Basilica in Quito

views from the top of the Basilica

did you know that this cathedral actually has a bar in the tower? here´s proof.

this monument is where French scientists located the equator in the early 20th century. They were off by about 300 yards. The yellow string in the second shot is the real equator with the incorrect French one in the distance. Way to go Pierre.

photo of my left ass cheek in the southern hemisphere and my right one in the northern

views of the cloudforest from Magic Roundabout and some local fauna


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