Beyond the Toquilla

May 11th, 2011

Weather: Cooling quickly.

Coffee: One cup after a great Italian dinner at Gaspare’s.

This is a long over due post from my (Paul 4) trip to Ecuador.

I started in Quito, the Capital of Ecuador.

San Francisco de Quito

I left the first week in April with no expectations.  I had a long over due vacation.  Not working for three weeks was out of the question.  Destination: Quito, Ecuador.  I know people there.

This is our host.  So, I know this man as a fool,  a Faithful Fool. Between his family and his wife’s’ family, they received me and my traveling companion and quickly became part of their family.  For real!

Mi papa de Ecuador; Fernando

View of Quito from Tumbaco

Quito is a lovely place.  Check it!  The full name is San Francisco de Quito.  This is why i knew i had to visit.   A city set IN the mountains on the east side of an active volcano, Pichincha.  It had recently erupted and sent ashes in to the air.  There were many active volcano in Ecuador.  Most people we talked to  had no fear.

Another view of the plaza with little Dana to the left.

Cobble stone streets ran down the center of each block like one of the many rivers through this country.  The rivers were very full and fast this time of year, there is much rain fall.

Plaza de San Francisco with Tamia, a beautiful ballerina


(click on the link below, then read on)

A 10 hour bus from Quito to Manta.  The coast was hot, windy and thunderous at times.

This is where I took time to sit, swim and nap.

Manta is a fishing town.  There used to be a US navy base located in the center.  There are many signs that this was the place for sailors.  I walked…a lot.  This was our first journey in Ecuador.  I was getting used to being a gringa.  Although this was a bit of a tourist town,  not in April.  I swam in the ocean, drank an enormous beer and was so thankful for this life. This Spectacular Life.

"Jesus was a sailor when he walked across the water" in Manta. A mural on a concrete tower.

It wasn’t all glamorous living though.

Not so happy after trucking it through some not so friendly parts of Manta only to get to a deserted area where i did not want to stay and knew we'd have to truck it back from where we came and then some. After this photo, we got a taxi.


Sneak peek.  Come in to the shop and ask me about this part of the journey.


Funny story:

I get into Tena(a town in the Amazon) not knowing why i am here.  The roads are bumpy and everything seems to be moving fast.  My traveling buddy and I decide we want to take a walk through the RainForest so we set out to find someone to guide us through.  Talking to a few people they direct us to someone that can take us but driving to this person  is not working out.  I want to get out of the car at this point.  So i see a sign for a Tortuga Cafe and immediately want to stop there.  We park, and as soon as we get out of the car, this gringa walks by and says ¨hey, where are you from?¨

I tell her about my interest in hats and my shop in San Francisco and she says oh i was getting ready to buy some hats to bring to Canada in the end of may.  Turns out, she has bought property on the Amazon river.  It is a Cacao farm.  She asked us to come visit.  We did. So beautiful. You have to take about a 5min canoe ride to get to here place.  She is an ambitious lady with an insane vision for the future of her property.  Sound Familiar?


This is getting long, so I am going to skip ahead. And leave some out.

I visited the factory where weavers from the countryside bring there hats to sell.

I tried a few on.

There were many to choose from.

Final Final

This was a trip about creating community and the beginning of something beautiful!