Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mindo Memories

We headed out yesterday to revisit one of our most favorite Ecuadoran areas down toward the coast to Mindo.  We discovered Mindo our first year here in 1992 (when Walt was assigned here at the Embassy as the Defense Attache) long before it was "discovered" by even the Embassy communities.  It is now discovered by the "world" and has changed dramatically since then.  As you can see from the following photos, the change in altitude is dramatic and beautiful.  One literally drops off the side of the mountain(Andes).

 Land is a precious commodity, so even the steepest hillsides are farmed.  It is not at all uncommon to drive above the cloud layer.
 Of course, everything is lush and green from the tremendous amounts of rain.  Thus, the rainforest, or cloud forest. 
 As one drops in elevation, the vegetation changes and becomes much more dense and varied.  The sign below says:  "Reduce your speed !NOW!"  This is a common sign on the winding road that drops down the mountain.
 Since we were going to Mindo on a Saturday, about half of Quito was headed down toward the coast with us.  Fortunately, not too many of them stopped at Mindo.  Most of them will be headed back up the mountain on Sunday evening, making for a very long, slow climb.
 This guy is cutting sugar cane with his machete.  They love to sell short chunks of sugar cane for the people to suck on while riding down the mountain.  Very frequently one sees the leftover pulp lying alongside or in the road where it has been tossed from the many buses.
 This flower is actually a banana plant getting ready to produce a new bunch of small, sweet bananas.
 This is the entrance to one of our favorite places in Mindo:  Mindo Gardens.  Notice the variety and density of the vegetation.
 The main lodge at Mindo Gardens.  Reading room upstairs, and restaurant and reception on the main floor.  One has to remove shoes before entering (they do have an outdoor dining area if you don't want to take your shoes off.)
 One of the cabins at Mindo Gardens.  Each cabin has three rooms, one upstairs and two down.  This one sits right on the side of the Mindo River.
 Walt enjoying a cup of coffee in the main dining room.
 Just outside the cabin at the Mindo River.
 Linda enjoying a brief respite from the mist in the air.
 On the way back into Quito, one must pass the monument to the equator, commemorating the location where the French exploration team decided was the exact spot between the northern and southern hemispheres:  0.00 degrees latitude.  This is about 15 kilometers north of Quito proper.

1 comment:

Kelle said...

Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this part of the world with us :o) Enjoy your time with Uncle Walt and hope to maybe see you sometime this summer. I know you have a busy schedule, just know there is always a standing invite.

Blessings,
Kelle