Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22, 2011... Winding down in Ecuador

Our last week at the coast was incredible, mostly because of seeing the Humpback whales. We were told by our boat captain that the season was virtually over and that most of the whales have already begun the trip back to Antartica but that just maybe we would be able to see them. It was on the way to Isla de la Plata in the morning that we came upon a large group of whales....some large and one young (about one year old). I snapped so many pictures and am sharing a few here, along with a movie that shows the tail and the size. They were very close to us. This felt like a once in a lifetime experience and I was thinking about the migration of the butterflies that we saw several years ago in Mexico. From the very small to the very large....traveling long distances year after year on their migrations. Perhaps Ricardo and I are also on some kind of migratory trip but not with the consistency or plan of these incredible whales. We also encountered a school of dolphins as we approached Isla de la Plata. 

This is an island off the coast of Puerto Lopez which is often called "The Poor Man's Galapagos". It is part of the Parque Nacional Machalilla and was about 1 1/2 hour from the mainland. It is similar to the Galapagos but actually formed differently. Some of the wildlife is similar as you will see below. It was the season for the blue footed boobies to be sitting on their eggs and we saw many many of them. Amazing as their feet were the deep blue of "Carolina Blue!"

Here is the mama with her 2 week old fluffy
white baby on the left and the one
week old baby on her left foot.

Fragates on Isla de la Plata

Here are a few more pictures of interest from the coast. We are really glad that we went to the coast as it is a completely different scene than the mountains of Ecuador. The people and lifestyles are very different though the common denominator is the kindness and friendliness which we found wherever we went.

Flowers at Hostaria Mandala
Our favorite - Pan de Yucca on the bottom

Beautiful views on a beach walk at Los Frailes

playing with garlic!
Little creatures in the sand making interesting designs

taxi in Puerto Lopez

Now we are getting ready to head off to Peru. We both experienced a few moments (perhaps a day or two) of "overload" from traveling and began evaluating our lifestyle and trip....did we plan too much, should we go back (where??), will the bus rides be too long, what do we want to see, is 4 months too long for traveling, do we have too much stuff (yes), should we come back to Ecuador at the end,  etc, etc.  So we just talked it all through and made our plans for at least the next few weeks. The one thing I believe we learned is that we need to make sure to break up every 10 days of travel with a long time in one spot. So we are off till about Nov 1st when we plan to arrive in Cuzco, Peru and then will stay there for at least 3-4 weeks before heading to Bolivia. Peru is a country filled with interesting things to see (says the Lonely Planet) and so we will head down the coast. Our first day will probably be the longest as we go from Ecuador, cross the border and to Mancora which is another beach town. We will stay there and hope for sunshine and some swimming. BTW, it has gotten beautiful here in Cuenca during the day. Now into their summer with sunshine just as we are leaving. Oh well....another thing we know for sure, there is nothing we can do about the weather except to accept it.

Regarding our stuff...we gave a few things away to our family and packed a suitcase to leave behind which we will get in December when we come back and if we decide not to come back for some reason, will just let it go and forget about whatever is in the suitcase.  "Stuff" sure can be a hold back to living. I hope that I am learning my lessons and will pack less and less each time we travel.  Nancy, my sister, was kind enough to remind me that sometimes having an abundance of things allows us to give of ourselves. I shall take that thought with me as we travel with maybe a bit more than we need and I shall remind myself to be generous with my spirit whenever I can.

Traveling is a learning experience and I am so grateful for our health, wealth and the support we have for each other to experience this adventure. Thanks for joining us and also for your emails. This trip would not be the same without the technology of the day. We have not had our skype working so have not talked to many of you but are happy for this blog, facebook and of course, email. "Talk" to you soon.

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