Jan 22, 2009

Riding Buddy

Well, it's "Mini Iggy" season here in Guayaquil and we have hundred's of little Iguana's running all over.  This little guy and I had the same idea on how to spend our Saturday morning.  Check it out:

Hmmm, what's Aunt Jamima cooking up here?  Does she have two different pancake recipes?  One doesn't meet U.S. standards but exceeds Ecuador's?  Not that this would be the first consumed item that didn't meet U.S. standards.  If I go down, somebody check the hot cake mix.

Jan 11, 2009

Safety First

Now, I'm sure we can all recall times when, as children, our parents didn't put us in a proper child's seat with what seems like today's standard of 10 seat belts holding the child in.  I can remember my brother and I riding in what could be considered the trunk of our yellow, 2 seat'er Corvette, or standing in the middle of the front seat in Grandpa's "big yellow boat."  Being in a 3rd world country, we see many various forms of child transport, but this one was a first.  This photo is of a truck taxi in Banos where we watched a mother place her youngest daughter, the one in the stroller, into the back of the truck.  Basically, a car seat with wheels to help propel the child up and over any accident that might occur.  Genius!  No, seriously, don't worry, that obviously wouldn't happen in this case.  You can tell by the great hold Mom and Sister have on the stroller.  Check it out:

Jan 4, 2009

Bogota, Colombia

I've got lots of photos for you so lets keep this short.  Bogota is a beautiful city, by far the most advanced we've been to so far.  Everywhere we turned, the city was decorated with Christmas lights, Juan Valdez was tempting us with aroma's of premium Colombian coffee, narrow cobble stone streets with Colonial buildings splashed with various bright colors were drawing us in for, "just one more stroll", the people were so friendly they would often respond to a, "Thank you" with, "With great pleasure", and the one thing that had us both continualy saying, "We could live here", bike lanes on nearly every major road.  Colombia has a great saying in their tourism advertising; "Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay".  We'll be back.  Check it out:       
Catedral Primada in Plaza de Bolivar was built in the 1500's.
Plaza de Boliver burning brightly for the Holiday's.

Parque 93 was extravagently decorated and was showing off both, during the day and at night.
Don't mess with Colombia and oh, yeah, "Merry Christmas!"
Here is the view from the balcony of our hotel.

The Presidential Palace.  When asked if we could take a tour, the guard said, "Well, that's complicated".  Enough said.    
Here I am making some new friends.
The Gold Musuem in Bogota is often refered to as the best in the world.  It was certainly very impressive and a memorable part of the trip.   

We were able to take a funicular train to Cerro de Monserrate on one of the mountain peaks that looks over the city.  It is also hikeable but how often do you get to say, "I rode a funicular train today"?  Funicular, just the word alone is awesome.

Here we have the oldest restuarant in Colombia.  It has been serving bread, cheese and hot chocolate since 1816.  Belive it or not, the bread was not stale.
Just outside of Bogota is the worlds largest underground salt mine.  A salt cathedral has been carved out and is open for tours and weddings.  The tunnels are endless and the neon colors against the white salt walls are fascinating.  
A floating angel in the salt mine.
No, this in not our, "scared to be in Colombia" expression, it's our, "Colombia is so exciting" expression.  Though, we certainly missed friends and family, Colombia made for a very special Christmas.  We hope you all had a wonderfull Holiday's and wish for you, great adventures in 2009.

Jan 1, 2009

Ecuador: Feliz Ano Nuevo!

What's better than watching a great fire work show?  Answer: About a hundred guy's all holding lighters and blowing stuff up.  Nothing brings in the New Year like a highly unorganized, bring your own explosives event that includes paper mache characters stuffed with fireworks, a champagne bottle for all (teens included) and, just when you thought you've got enough explosives, bring another bag.  Don't get me wrong, we still had the same great fireworks you would see on TV from all over the world, they were just set off by guys holding a bottle of bubbly and giving out high fives like they had just won the Super Bowl.  Check it out:

All day on New Year's Eve, we saw cars like this with different cartoon and real life characters on their way to the midnight funeral.  The tradition is to make a paper mache character of someone you would like to leave in the old year, fill it with fireworks and light it on fire at midnight.  

This was certainly one of the best New Year celebrations we've had together and the experience was incredible.  Happy New Year's!