Thursday, May 31, 2007

Non-Monkey Rodent

The delay in D.C. caused us to cut out our trip with Happy Cricket to the beach. After delays in Miami, several aborted landing runs over Quito and an unexpected night in Guayaquil, we abandoned our plan of visiting Isla de la Plata and seeing the boobies because we just weren't up for a 12 hour bus trip after the airports and airplanes. So we arrived in Quito and headed almost immediately to Mindo (immediately the next day after visiting some churches, an art museum, the botanic gardens, an internet cafe, two bars . . .).

The small town of Mindo sits in the cloud forest

but that didn't stop the children marching down the main road for well over an hour from looking parched and about to pass out. We did not discover the reason for the festivities, but we did pick out a school for Ewaldina (our fictitious future child) if we should live on the Western Andean slopes near the equator.

Our second day in Mindo we went bird watching. It was a fabulous excursion, filled with tanagers, wrens, a helpful tucanette and eleven species of hummingbirds.

While watching the hummingbirds, I became excited by a loud rustling in the trees: a monkey! Or at least my first wild rodent in South America.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Best Laid Schemes . . .

The Mister and I had modest plans for our recent trip to Ecuador. When my dear friend Janet (aka Happy Cricket), a Peace Corp volunteer in Ecuador asked us what we wanted to do while there, our list was fairly straight-forward:
  1. see boobies-- both red and blue footed

  2. spend time by the ocean

  3. admire volcanoes

  4. take a crazy train ride through the Andes

  5. hang out with Janet in the cloud forest
We successfully completed #3.

I'll be posting about our adventures as the photos and thoughts become organized, but I'll start with the extra fun prairie dog had in Washington D.C.
Prairie Dog spent a few days in the George Washington University Hospital re-assuring Janet that her surgery would be fine. Janet, you see, broke her leg badly just before we were set to arrive in Ecuador. She was medically evacuated from Quito to D.C. late Sunday night. We were set to fly early Monday morning from D.C. to Quito. Miraculously, we had e-mailed her the phone number of Bee Sorter, who we were spending Sunday night with, we managed to change our tickets without penalty, we had good friends to spend time with in D.C., and the constantly changing plans were communicated even though nobody actually spoke with another person until late on Monday.

In the end, we were able to hang out with Janet in D.C. as they put her ankle back together and Janet's and my beach-ready toes were for naught (Follow the "Happy Cricket" link to see photos of Janet's post-surgery green toes and new ankle hardware).

The best laid schemes o' mice an men gang aft agley.
Robert Burns "To a Mouse"

I think I'll avoid both Burns and Steinbeck this year, but there are some nice mouse references currently unexplored.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Food for the Rodents

In an attempt to make better habitat to attract the local marmot to our yard, in the last week the mister and I have planted 4 vegetable beds, 1 butterfly garden, a small herb garden and a new flower border.
We are now off to sample the rodents in the southern hemisphere.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


To celebrate completing the end of classes, the Mister and I drank a bottle of Vivre California Sparkling wine last Friday. It was nice. The kind of pale, fine, sparkling wine to add ameretto to to make sparkling almond. The wine was nice. It was even nicer to be done with classes.