Monday, November 8, 2010

There Was Wine, There Was Wonderful Food and There Were Songs

The afternoon after the wedding we stood in the hotel parking lot and said goodbye.  Abby & Jorge were driving Leslie & Ryan to Guayaquil so they could fly home Monday morning and we were leaving for our adventure in the Amazon. There were some tears and some sobs. Actually, there were so many tears and so much sobbing that Dean felt the need to whisper to Leslie, before you moved back to Wyoming, Mom cried every time after you and Ryan and the kids left too.”  I suppose Leslie may have been feeling bad that I only gave her a quick hug goodbye while I made an idiot of myself over saying goodbye to her sister, but I'll bet she wasn't sad when she realized she would not be the one sitting in a truck for a three-hour drive covered in mother snot. After the goodbyes were said, as is required in Chapter 15 of the Encyclopedia of Mothering, I stood alone by the front door of the hotel, waving that final wave, as the four of them drove off.

A bit later, once I'd wiped the snot off my own face, the “Amazon Tour Group” headed to the Manta airport and we all flew to Quito.

Since our tour to the Amazon didn’t begin until Tuesday, we had Sunday evening and all day Monday to explore Quito.  As is our custom, there was a lot of this ...  

and this.

But we also did a fair amount of walking because as everybody knows, if you walk, even just a little, when you increase your daily calorie intake by a factor of ten you will feel much less guilt. We decided to walk to La Basílica del Voto Nacional. On our way to the basilica we stumbled upon a local indigenous festival.

 We had to make a decision. We could listen to live music ...

buy handcrafted items ...

watch dancing ...

and eat food ...

... or we could continue walking to go see an old building.  It was a slam/dunk for some of us.  We stayed. But about half the group continued walking.  Pretty soon the walkers returned looking a bit bedraggled.  Quito is 9,000 feet high and once they left the festival the walk to the basilica was all uphill. So as it turned out, nobody saw it.  Of course, now that I’ve actually gone on the web and looked at photos of the basilica I should probably describe it a bit more respectfully than just an old building. It is definitely a magnificent and grand old building.

The food at the festival looked amazing and I really, really wanted to try some. I was so, so tempted. I’d walk by a booth, sniff, drool, and mentally weigh the odds of that food playing havoc with my sensitive American intestinal system. The only thing that kept me from eating it was the fear that my seat on the plane the next day might be the seat in the bathroom. And airplane bathroom etiquette states in no uncertain terms that you should not be a bathroom hog.

We stayed at the festival until late in the afternoon, listening to the music, watching the dancers, and spending money at the booths. Then we walked back, ate more, and of course,

drank more.

And then,

we happily stumbled to bed, slightly pickled, in excited anticipation of our trip to the Amazon the next day.

While you wait for me to write about our trip to the Amazon, pour yourself a glass of wine ... or two ... nibble on some plantain chips and play some music as you look at more photos of the festival by clicking here.  And if that's not enough for you, you can watch one of the festival dances hereYou'll almost think you're there ... I wish I still was.


Deb said...

Looks like all had fun and fun was had by all. Why is this picture not even remotely surprising to me. Yeah - I remember. Just glad that you had an awesome and amazing time. Now I can't WAIT to read the next blog. BTW - Deb Pralle is married to David Schramm. TTYL

Abby said...

Well, at least you sucked it up the next weekend and didn't shed a tear when we said the real good-bye...I traveled home snot-free.

Art Elser said...

"Mother snot ... " Now there's a descriptive term.

Sounds like a fun trip up to this point. I look forward to future installments.

Looking at all the food and drink, though, I wonder if the canoes or dugouts were deep into the water on the river?