Dec 6, 2008

Banos, Ecuador

It looks as though we have our first Ecua tradition.  For the 2nd year in a row now, we have traveled to the adventure capital of Ecuador, Banos, for the Thanksgiving break.  Last year we went mountain biking, hiking, crossed rivers on suspension bridges and cable carts and repelled down waterfalls.  This year we went white water rafting and then followed that up with a 30 mile mountain bike trip the next day.  Check it out:    
This is the only photo I have to show you from our rafting trip.  There was no such thing as calm water between rapids to rest, or to take photos.  After going up and over large exposed boulders and going into class 4 rapids sideways, the only reason we didn't loose anyone overboard was due to quick hands grabbing the feet of other rafters on their way out.   
Here is a shot of the Tungurahua Volcano that looks over Banos.  Last year this volcano erupted the day after we left Banos.
Not only does Banos have excellent adventures, the city is a great place to come back and rest.  Most of the city is made up of small one way streets, great resturaunts, coffee shops and colorful markets.
A photo looking down into the city of Banos as we were climbing up on our mountain bikes.  2 1/2 hours of climbing  and 2 hours of descending, took us through beautiful farmland and gave us a chance to see Ecuadorian life in the mountains.
Previous lava flows set the course for many of the rivers around the volcano.

This is the first Fly-Fisherman I've come across in Ecuador.  It looked like he had rigged up some raw bamboo and fishing line for his rod.  He would simply toss his fly up river, watch it float down until it took all his line and then do it over.  We watched for about 5 minutes but he didn't catch anything.  
And the series continues.........One Jackass looking at another!

Dec 5, 2008

Alive and Kickin'

Well, almost.  1 week of home rest and no walking.  The surgery went well, mainly because they chose the correct leg and I was able to watch the entire surgery on the moniter while it took place.  There was certainly some Ecua experiences to keep things exciting.  I'd say the biggest one came when the nurse tried to remove the IV needle while it was still taped to my wrist.  It turned into a bloody mess and a bent needle!  D tried helping ease my nerves when we first got there by saying after hearing the printer go off, "Do you think they are printing the instructions?"  It was possible.  As for now, all is well, so thank you all for your prayers and well wishes.  With me at home loosing my mind, be looking for a flurry of posts over the next few day's.

Dec 1, 2008

Down and Out

Well, a little bad news.  A couple months ago I tore my meniscus in my left knee and now need arthroscopic surgery.  Surgery in Ecuador?........Yeah, we share the same concern!  I will be going in for surgery this Thursday and if all goes well, I'll still have 2 legs.  I should be able to put weight on my left leg within a few days, walking normaly within 2 weeks and playing futbol again after 6 weeks.  The Dr. has promised me a DVD of my surgery so more adventure photos to come.

Nov 17, 2008

Ecuador Food Market

Sunday we ventured downtown and went to the big open air food market to check out where many of the locals grocery shop.  I'll be honest, I certainly wasn't planning on buying anything because I usually find the words "open air" and "food " to be a bad combination in downtown Guayaquil.  I was pleaseantly surprised to find hundreds of venders selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and other various supplies in an organized, clean environment.  Check it out:  

Chickens anyone?  In Ecuador, EVERYTHING on the chicken is eaten.  My buddy Mark can tell you how chicken feet soup tasted......and the problems it caused during digestion.  Check out the utility bike ready to haul home some food for the whole family.
Fresh fish of all different, unidentifiable kinds.

Yes, that's D up ahead with a bag full of veggies, fruit and pasta.  We couldn't resist since everything looked so good and it was so cheap.  A bag full of fruit or veggies was never more than a $1.  Eating good has never been so affordable!  In a country where there is so much poverty, Ecuadorians are very fortunate to live in a climate where such healthy fruits and vegitables are grown and sold at a minumal price. 
Here is a family of 3 leaving the market with live "crabs on a rope".  Doesn't get much fresher than that.  Looks like Jr. is scouting for the quickest way home.  Click on the image for a closer look.
All this and 2 large bags to carry it for $9.  We be eatin good this week!

Nov 9, 2008

Spy Cam is Back

It's been a long time since the Spy Cam was out capturing some Guayaquil action, but today D and I ventured out by bus to see what was going on.  Check it out:
I'm not sure if these T's are for sale or some Sunday laundry hanging out to dry
Today is game day with one of the local futbol teams.  This guy pulled up a chair in the middle of the sidewalk to watch a TV through a store front window.  No cable needed when you have a portable chair.
A slow day for this guy selling belts and neck ties.......
......and these guys selling shoes.  It's starting to resemble U.S. retail sales.  Anyone up for another economic stimulas package?
A nice little family lunch outdoors
"Give me 2 ice cream cones and a lolly pop!"
Our final destination was of course the DVD store.  Not exactly legal by American standards but certainly legal by Ecuadorian.  70 cent DVD's and TV series stacked floor to ceiling.  For the record, we would never think of buying such pirated material.  That said, I can confirm that the quality of these pirated works are very impressive.  I hear that they even have the Special Features available.

Only 2 more months until the rainy season hits and washes out our favorite trail.

Nov 3, 2008

October Adventures

This last weekend we went to Salinas for the 3 day weekend and some Marlin fishing.  We rented a house on a private beach and had a great time celebrating with friends.  As for the fishing, well, we had a great boat ride.  After 9 hours of fishing, our only excitement came when a Marlin lunged at the bait with such force it snaped the 50 weight fishing line.  "The one that got away" was the key to having a successful trip.  Had the line not snapped, I would have a much bigger fish tale for you.  Now, the Marlin is the one with the great story about how he got his sweet nose ring.        
Do you think this boat had anything to do with us not catching anything?
Fortunately this was the 1st boat on the way to the 2nd boat......the Mac Arther.
This was our only fish we had on board......the bait fish!
Maybe one of us would have made better bait.
Last Thursday we went to a professional baseball game.  Yes, I'm as surprised as you to hear there is baseball in Ecuador.  There are a total of 3 teams who play a full season against each other before the 2 best teams play a championship game.  There are more players on the field then fans in the seats.  Hot dogs and bevy's sell for a $1 each and if you catch a foul ball, throw it back.  It's the only game ball.  Amazingly, in their baseball history, they have had 1 player who went on to play in the Major Leauges for the Seattle Mariners.

Oct 19, 2008

Biking Cotopaxi, Chimborazo

2 Days.  2 National Parks.  2 of Ecuadors highest volcanos.  2 Mountain Bikers.  Check it out:


Another incredable Ecuador adventure!