Star Date: September 2013
Hello Dear Family & Friends!
"Who you are
speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."
Complex questions often require simple answers, as Einstein remarked. No one
ever said life was easy. There are supposed to be ups and downs.
Look for, find and enjoy the good, the wonder the beauty. Be thankful for
all our blessings and gifts. But wouldn't it be great if when things
weren't going so smooth we had a way to cope better? Whether we admit it
or not with our modern lives
we are thrown into a fast paced frenzy. Never enough time. Always
rushing. Our minds are always thinking, busy, full - monkey mind it is
called. No time to finish what needs doing, let alone time to be truly
mindful, loving, caring for those around us. There is a feeling that "when
I accomplish this or that" things will be better. That day never comes.
Admit it. So we are left with a nagging feeling that there has to be more
to life than this rut in which I'm living.
A couple of pages ago our monthly visitor count topped 150,000. Wondering if our current updates on Fukushima radiation would hurt our popularity we were pleased to see it has only increased our viewers. People are starting to wake up and take appropriate action for themselves and their loved ones. We are only trying to help. May the force be with us all and our fragile environment.
Ecuador is a small country full of surprises. Heading up into the Andes once again, the bus journey had spectacular views at every turn. The drop in temperature was a shock to our systems once again but Quito made up for it and was a pleasure to walk around and explore. The old colonial plazas and squares were rich with architecture, verdant parks, fountains and vendors sporting ethnic clothing.
While in Quito yet another surprise awaited us. From South Kona (Hawaii) to South America. We received an email from our friend Lee in Nicaragua. Would we like mutual friend, Kayanna's, email? Sure. Thinking it was a long shot we fired off a letter and let the Universe take it from there - the modus operandi of our 25 year journey. Heading north to Otavalo the following morning we were excited to have Kay write back that she lived 5 minutes from there. Before we knew it we were hugging at the bus depot and whisked away to their beautiful home in Cotacachi. We didn't even know that they had moved from Hawaii to Ecuador, mainly due to the increasing levels of radiation from Fukushima.
What a treat to be welcomed so warmly into our friend's, Kayanna and Bobbie's home. Thanks guys! We caught up after 10 years, relaxed, cooked together, hiked and visited the surrounding lakes of Cuicocha and Peguche Waterfalls. We made the spectacular but long trip through the Intag to their farm in the mountains 4 hours away. They have created a virtual paradise of organic gardens, small cottages overlooking spectacular views, along a meandering stream. We gathered vegetables and made a delicious soup which we ate by the fire. Nothing to get between you and Nature up here.
Joseph & I met at the funeral of Kayanna's son Micah, killed in a car crash 13 years ago. A heartbreaking event, Kay told us later that us getting together was something good that came from that day. The Phoenix from the ashes. Now here we all were, sitting around a fire in the Andes of South America. Totally by chance - or was it? None of us could have written this script 20 years ago. Trust. Flow with the river of life.
Otavalo has a colorful,
unique, immense Saturday Ethnic Market. Wow! The colors
were dizzying as traditionally dressed Kichwas share their
handicrafts in the beehive of activity.
We took a bus from Kayanna's to Quito and started descending from the Andes down to the jungle floor. Stopping in Tena we enjoyed our time with a completely different group of people, with the tropical fruit and vegetables 'mercado' and the infamous juicy, writhing grubs in the market. Walking along the river looking for a park to hike in we realized the footbridge was out due to construction so we just carried on with our day; now wide open.
A small little shop offered jungle trips so we stopped by. There we met Misael, a local young Kichwa man anxious to share his culture. Wanting to spend the day with him, learning about a completely different indigenous tribe we found ourselves, the following morning at the home of a shaman 'burondero', in a distant village. "We go together whenever we can through the jungle, Chimbo has strong medicine and it's good to protect us from harm or snakes." We hiked for 5 hours up, down, along, and through a river to reach Uchuculin and his home. The jungle was beautiful but noticeably lacking in wildlife. Unfortunately roast monkey is a delicacy here and with increased population, there are only so many to go around. The same picture is being painted worldwide.
Hot and tired we stopped to swim in the river. Afterwards we were taken deeper into the jungle where the shaman chanted and cleansed our bodies with the leaves of the anaconda plant. We felt connected to Mother Earth and wide open to receive her strength.
Climbing up a steep bank we arrived at a small road. Misael's house was just down the way. 'Back to civilization' we met the family, cooked plantain, taro and ancient macaroni (haha) over the fire with Mama Carmela, and ate like we hadn't eaten for days. Ecuador has provided some interesting food options from dried booby poop on the Galapagos, to jungle rat and fat squirmy grubs here in the jungle. Please pass the macaroni instead! Chimbo painted our faces in their traditional manner and showed us a very heavy blowgun used for killing birds to eat. Accurate and deadly, no wonder the jungle fauna is thinning out. Only taking 40 minutes to return to Tena by bus was a lot easier than our day in the jungle. Misael is a kind, genuine, welcoming man and it was a wonderful way to get to know this unique jungle culture. We showered and fell into bed, with visions of boa constrictors and 'chilt' (anacondas) dancing in our heads.
And so it goes.........................................Next traveling through no man's land into Guatemala, where we flew off to our home in Hawaii to visit family and friends. Until then Keep Smiling and remember to take the time to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Doing nothing isn't an option. Be a self appointed steward, walk your talk and help to protect this rare treasure we all share. We are glad you stopped by. Thanks for dropping us a note once in a while! Take care!
Love, Light & Laughter,
1 US Dollar equals one US dollar. US currency is used. A good
place to stock up on US cash if you are heading to Venezuela.
Govindas Restaurant - great Indian food!
Esmeraldas OE3-119 y Venezuela
Near S bus terminal Hotel Gran
Universidad San Francisco de
Very impressive, progressive university in Cubaya - 30 minutes outside of Quito.
This innovative university has 10,000 students and many international programs. They have centers in the Galapagos Islands, the high Andes and Tiputini deep in the Amazon. A bi lingual school they would be worth checking out for a year or a semester to remember!
Akangau Jungle Expeditions, let Misael help lead you and teach you
about his Quichwa tribe. Indigenously owned, he can arrange just about any
experience you want from hikes, to living with families, to Ayahuasca, to learning from the shaman.
He is passionate about conserving the jungle and sharing his
A colorful group of village
women singing and dancing
Every colonial Spanish city centers around a town plaza.
Weekend shopping in Otavalo market.