Category: Ecuador

Mountain Toucans, Tough a Bargaining and Ray Charles

June 23.Our last full day in Ecuador starts with a mile walk uphill on a road in an attempt to see Mountain Toucans. As I’ve always said, sometimes when you set out to see Mountain Toucans you see them and sometimes when you set out to see Mountain Toucans you don’t. This was one of those don’t times.

Breakfast at the lodge, then we drive back up the road to try to see Mountain a Toucans again. As I’ve always said, sometimes when you set out to see Mountain Toucans you see them and sometimes when you set out to see Mountain Toucans you don’t. This was one of those do times. I didn’t really get that good a look, but Carol and Josue did.

We drive down to a private site Josue knows about, which he says is just down the road a little way. Well, the little way turns out to be half an hour down a very bumpy road. When I confirm with Josue that we will need to drive back up to the lodge to get our bags, then drive back down the same way, en route to Quito, I allow as how I think this is crazy. Josue volunteers to drive back up himself to get all of our bags and then return to join us. While Carol is a bit reluctant to agree to this, I accept immediately.

Carol and I spend a very pleasant hour watching birds at the reserve Josue has left us at. He returns with box lunches that the lodge has prepared, which we eat outside, while watching more birds. Here are some of the birds we see. 

                            We take a pleasant walk down by the river in search of some terrific ducks, which we do not find.   

 Then we set out for the approximately 2-hour drive to Quito, enjoying the spectacular mountain and forest scenery in the sunshine.

We arrive at our home, the Casa Gangotena around three, and say fond farewells to Josue, who was fantastic. He vows to stay in touch, and my bet is that he will.  

We rest and clean up, then set out for a large artisan market. Carol is in her element, bargaining in a way that I need to walk away from, and winds up getting a slew of stuff from five or more separate vendors for about seventy-five bucks. Wouldn’t be a trip without Carol doing her thing in the market. (I do my own damage, buying a small leather pouch in which to keep hearing aid batteries. Egads, it’s come to this. Cost is one dollar, and I’m quite thrilled with my little pouch.)

We take a taxi to a restaurant tat Josue has recommended, with great views of the city, but it’s hosting a noisy bus load of people, so we walk out. We wander next door to Vista Hermosa, which is quiet, and has even nicer views of the city. The only trouble is that it up has strings of blinking white, sort of Chrismassy lights, that we are quite sure will cause us to have strokes. Our solution: we don our sun glasses, which work perfectly. I tell Carol that I am in my Ray Charles period. After a very good meal, we taxi back to the hotel, read/blog, check out the Cubs score (0-0 in the top of the first, against the Dodgers) and retire.

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