Quito is my base. I have been into town, and on a two day trip to Papallacta, a hot spring area, a couple hours from the city. The three of us stopped along the way at the country home Ana Maria sold only recently, a pleasant small home set amongst an avocado grove. We visited neighbors, and headed to the next town , Puembo, for lunch. But before we had a chance to get to the restaurant (a hacienda\inn\restaurant complex) Ted spotted hats bobbing behind a wall. He expected it to be school kids practicing dancing.
Well, it was dance practicing, but it was an event through the local senior citizen organization. The women were practicing for an upcoming exibition in another town. I was welcomed in to photograph and soon the young director of the community center asked me if I would do a group photo of all the women in the pretty town square. After two of the instructors changed from casual clothes into their dance dresses, off we all went.
I have made copies of some of the photos, and enough copies of the group photo, for each of the women. AnaMaria and Ted are delivering the photos to the town. There was one enlargment for them to display at the center.
We followed the photo session with a super lunch and then headed to the hot spring resort. The scenery was spectacular and we crossed a pass at about 12,000 feet in elevation. I took some photos but Ecuadorian roads don't have pullouts nor wide shoulders. We did find a pull out at a shrine at the top and Volcan Antisana was partially visible through the clouds. The next day it was clear and bright which Ana Maria tells me is a rare event. I feel most fortunate.
We soaked in the clear hot waters of Papallacta hot springs. There are similiarities to El Dorado Hot Springs in Arizona where I worked a couple of winters. The hot water is pumped up from a subterrainian source into pools. Like the hot waters in Arizona these are not sulferous, but do contain small amounts of lithium, silica, magnesium, and calcium. The waters are super clear, smooth and pleasant. I am not sure what the temperature is when it first comes out of the ground but one pool had reached 115 degrees F. and they were in the process of adding cold water.
We soaked. We wandered through the facilities, we soaked some more, ate dinner, rested and then Ted and I had a night soak. In the morning we soaked again before breakfast.
Ecuador has one of the largest numbers of hummingbird species in the world. I saw my first Giant Hummingbird. The body is about the size of a karge sparrow, definintely larger than any hummningbird I have ever seen.
We will spend a few days in Quito, attend a family birthday party for Ted and one of Ana Maria's sisters and then we head to Mindo and the Cloud Forest, an area of superb birdwatching. But more on that after that adventure.
Below is a view of Antisana, part of the volcanic chain through the Ecudorian Andes. This photo was taken on our return trip, the day the clouds parted enough to see all of the mountain's top.