Saturday, April 3, 2010

Anticipating Ecuador

A new day, a new blog. I'm switching over from livejournal to blogspot, since its ability to post photos directly makes it a better choice for someone like me. So....... 

It's hard to believe our trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is just about here. After years of dreaming, months of planning, and weeks of anticipation, we're now looking at what to take and in which suitcase each item should go.

We're trying to pack as lightly as possible, since we'll be moving around at least three times over the course of the trip. If possible, I'd like to leave the "larger" suitcase at our Quito accommodation and only take the smaller one with us when moving around. We'll see if that's possible, since I'd still like to wear something other than "birding gear" for dinner.

On the mainland, our base of operation will be the San Jorge Ecolodge, about 20 minutes from the Quito Airport on the side of the Pichincha Volcano. Their alternate website can be found here and photos of the lodge, its sister lodges (we'll be visiting Milpe and Tandayapa), and its creatures are here.

We're spending our first day shopping at the Otavalo market. We purposely added a day to the trip for this purpose. At first we thought we were just going to check out what things Ecuador has to offer and buy the requisite gifts. But then we spotted a photo of someone selling Charangos there and are now on a quest to find a beginner's instrument for Avi. He's been fascinated by the Charango since we lived in Guadalajara and heard them being played at the local Pena (a folkloric coffeehouse). Hopefully there's more than just tourist souvenir versions of it.

We've heard rumors that one can see over 300 species of birds in a few days birding around the highlands. We'll see.

Then there's the preparations for the trip to the Galapagos. We've purchased a few dedicated items, including a soft waterproof camera case, so we can take underwater shots during our snorkeling expeditions. Not sure how good it is. But for under $40, if we get some decent shots it was a bargain, since the hard cases cost over $200.

So, stay tuned for trip report journaling. Photos will most likely be archived at our Picasaweb site, short updates on Facebook, and the full journal, including bird lists, here (Though I'm debating starting a blogspot birding page and moving everything there -- we shall see).

Wish us well!

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