Donkey Crossing

Welcome to Donkey Crossing! Donkey Crossing is an on-line account of one Limey and one Yank living one Dream. From September 2006 until the end of 2007, we plan to visit friends and family on five continents and immerse ourselves into various cultures, natural phenomena and ways of life. We hope you enjoy our tales and visit often! Cheers, Jason and Rachel Napoli

Monday, November 06, 2006

Adios Ecuador!
Feelings were mixed as our Avianca flight prepared for departure from Quito airport. We were looking forward to a reunion with our friend Dom (last seen in 1999, now living in Bogota) and excited that the next leg of our journey would be Colombia - an unfamiliar and allegedly "loco" country. But our enthusiasm was punctuated by melancholy thoughts of the goodbyes we said to friends in Ecuador and the realization that our six week long return to the country where Jason and I first met was already over.
Sitting on the tarmac, I reflected on some of the highlights of our visit. Ecuador´s natural beauty made a particularly powerful impression. We never seemed far from dramatic landscapes and astounding views. Even in Quito, volcano Pichincha was a majestic presence, watching over us day and night. From the hammocks at La Luna we spent hours mountain-gazing at Cotacachi to the left, Imbabura to the right and soaking in the lush valley ahead of us, leading to Otavalo. Of Ecuador´s "Big Ten" snowcapped peaks, we were fortunate to catch cloud-free views of Antisana, Cayambe, Cotopaxi and the Illinizas. Whilst the views from the two peaks we summitted, Fuya Fuya and Imbabura, were not quite as crisp and clear, both climbs were unforgettably special.
We marveled at the deep, potion-green water of Laguna Quilotoa and were mesmerized by peaceful Laguna Cuicocha with its two protruding islands, pictured to the left. We explored vegetation from high paramo to cloud forest on foot, on horseback and even tubing down a river. We watched the land change from thirsty yellow to healthy, happy green as the wet season began, and we enjoyed the company of hummingbirds and condors who seemed to follow us on our travels.

Ecuador´s natural beauty is equaled in splendor by its culture. It was a pleasure to be around Otavaleños with their Andean music and gorgeous, proud style of dress. Without exception, we found Ecuadorians to be peaceful, easygoing friendly people, even in the capital city. Ecuador will elect a new President this month. Hopefully their new leader will honor and serve Ecuador in a way that befits the nation´s wonderful, strong culture and people.
The list of fantastic experiences we packed in to our time in Ecuador is a long one, ranging from the simple to the exquisite: Andean mud wraps, fast and reckless bus rides, natural thermal springs, tasty $1.50 lunches and mountain climbs, not to mention dancing in salsa clubs with friends, then in a Quilotoa village with costume-clad children.
And last, but not least there are the friends. We met some great people from all over the world - Ecuadorian, Dutch, Canadian and even one from Dewsbury! Spending time with our old friends Kevin, Tamara, Sandra, Gill, Clare, Jeff, Marta and Marcella was perhaps the biggest highlight of all. In six weeks, we made up for seven years of being apart, and we are extremely grateful for the hospitality offered to us by these special people.

From left to right: Kevin, Tamara, Rach, Chris Briggs of Dewsbury (bizarre but true), and Jase.

So, the donkey has officially crossed the magical land of Ecuador, and is now working it´s way through Colombia. Located in the middle of the earth, Ecuador has a permanent place at the center of our hearts. We did not say "adios" to Ecuador forever. We´ll be back one day, and will bring the donkey with us....

Rachel

Stay tuned for donkey crossing tales from Colombia.

4 Comments:

Blogger maardee said...

U 2,

Is the Donkey excited about
crossing to Bonita Springs?

No snowcapped mountains but
a lot of sand and sun,

CIAO,
maardee and teena

10:16 AM  
Blogger Donkey Crossing said...

VERY excited about crossing to Bonita Springs. In fact, we´re getting acclimatised with a few days on the Colombian coast. Looking forward to some Florida sand and sun!
Love Rach

4:26 PM  
Blogger MidWestCowboy said...

donkey happy and sad at same time...missing you guys

2:48 PM  
Blogger OAK said...

Looks like you guys are having a blast! Be Careful and the Bears are kicking butt since you guys have been gone....hopefuly you bring the Cubs some luck too from all over the world.

Love,
The Katsoulis Family

p.s. oscar has a blog too...
http://oscarkat.blogspot.com

10:22 PM  

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