They Call Me Magma

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The Valley of the Volcanoes, Ecuador

Our adventures have begun! Well, perhaps we should say that our adventures have advanced! We have been living and exploring in Ecuador for over a year now. The year has been so grand that we decided it was time to step it up a notch. We have become comfortable with trotting around a third world country, our children have blossomed into little adventurers and our mutts have proven to be steadfast companions. But, our feet can only carry us so far in lands vast and diverse.

The time has come to add one more addition to this clan. Not of the human or dog variety, but of the super petrol chugging kind. It took some careful thought and consideration, a little more effort than driving a sparkling new truck off the lot. We needed something with the potential to live in, sleep in, and travel long distances in. Something big and heavy duty. Something old and reliable. Red wasn’t a requirement but red was what we got. Our new-to-us live aboard, haul aboard caravan is a 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60.  We have named her Magma, in honor of our first adventures with her on guard to the Valley of the Volcanoes right here in Ecuador.

She earned her badges on this beautiful trip and we have some big stories to tell of our  adventures exploring some of Ecuador’s most famous Volcanoes. While we are busy compiling the fascinating tales and unforgettable photos, this is a sneak peak of what is to come:

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Hanging around the campsite under Cotopaxi!
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Peaceful, remote roads through the valleys.
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Laundry under one of the Illiniza Volcanoes
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Did you ever imagine that the wildlife and landscapes on a volcano could look like this?!
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Our mutt, Joey..hanging out with an alpaca.
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Beautiful sights all around…
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Time for hot dogs!
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The “fire pit” on our Cotopaxi camp site, and Dad starting a fire!
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Lots of 4X4 for a National Park!
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Fascinating plants, flowers, and grasses.
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Quilotoa Crater Lake!
Camping in Cotopaxi, Ecuador with Kids
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We Don’t Need Rockets to Visit Volcanoes

The house is buzzing with preparations. Half hazard organization in carefully laid piles amidst the chaos that is typical of a house run by toddlers. Rainbows colored puddle jumpers, freshly folded jeans, and fuzzy alpaca sweaters that smell like an old closet. Four carefully planned backpacks, a gifted picnic basket, and small bag of dog chow. Glitter spilled in a cup of soup, milk on the floor, and a freshly cleaned beach towel soaking in the dog bowl!

It is as ridiculous as it sounds, preparing for our first legitimate camping trip. With two kids under 5. And two large mutts along for the ride. We don’t have a tent, or sleeping bags. Not even a cooking pan! If this sounds like a do-or-die adventure, it probably is. We are completely ready to go exploring, in mind, body, and spirit. We have absolutely no clue what on earth we are doing. We are leaving in three days, or maybe four. Or, maybe tomorrow.

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We have been expat to Ecuador for over a year now.

If we weren’t the completely spontaneous, take-a-leap- of-faith type of people…we wouldn’t have abruptly picked up and moved to Ecuador just over a year ago. We’ve been itching for awhile to get moving and exploring. We are over the initial humps of being first-time expats. We are settled I suppose, comfortable with adventuring about. Not nervous or afraid or over-whelmed anymore. We want to see more of Ecuador. And we know that there is so, so much more.

A few months ago we candidly asked our kids, just 2 and 4, where they would go if they could choose any destination. They chose a trip to outer space, a visit to the lost city of Atlantis, or an exploration of an active Volcano. This is quite the ambitious crew we are dealing with!! Of course it took a long and drawn out conversation to rule out the first two options. Although our kids do travel to outer space almost daily…from the rocket ship we painted in our only closet. They have become quite familiar with the moon, the sun, planet Earth, Saturn, Mercury, and Venus. We haven’t quite figured it out yet, how to visit Atlantis.

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The closet Rocket Ship!

As for the Volcano? “Piece of cake,” my husband said. Our 2 year old was quick to agree, “We can take our rocket to see a Volcano!”

Luckily, we won’t need rocket fuel for this excursion. We LIVE in Ecuador. Did you know that the tiny of country of Ecuador is similar in size to the American State of Nevada…and is home to approximately 50 volcanoes? Approximately. Because you know, there just might be one that hasn’t been discovered yet.  But, we aren’t looking for just any volcano; we need an active one. As in currently spewing, spitting, or fuming. Something along those lines to ease our curious little minds. As of today, at least 4 of the volcanoes in Ecuador are considered active.

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Just being a kid…in Ecuador 🙂

For this trip, we have chosen Cotopaxi. This is one of the more famous volcanoes in the country, and has been very active in recent years. It is known to sporadically grace it’s viewers with fumes or ash. It is not covered in hardened lava, like you might imagine. This is not a tropical volcano similar to something in Hawaii. It is relatively cold and there is snow at the top! Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano, located in the Andes Mountains chain. The summit is just over 19,000 feet. It is also one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world. It is a pretty special place indeed, a volcano, a mountain, and a glacier all in one…and it just happens to be resting on the equator.

But, it wouldn’t be us to show up and stay at a sparkling hotel with an impeccable view of the majestic site. We need a little more than the typical tourist. So, we have decided to pack up and stay in the area for a week or more. We are looking forward to strolling through the tiny, indigenous villages that speckle the base of the volcano. We are hoping to stumble upon a local festival, indulge in a few moments near a bull ring, and to immerse ourselves in any blissful occurrences that simply can’t be planned.

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Hanging out in the Pichincha Volcanoes Region in Quito.

We are antsy, anticipating this grand new adventure for our family. We struggle to stay focused, on planning and packing. Our minds are already out the door and our feet are dancing in the threshold. We are walking around dreaming of dramatic freckled skies and crackling amber fires. Sleeping faces caked in melted marshmallows and placid puppies curled up in the cool grass.

But for now…there are dishes in the sink, spilled sunscreen on the counter, toothbrushes and toiletries to pack. Tiny socks to double count, frayed mittens to stuff into pockets, batteries to charge. And most importantly, a husband patiently waiting for me to decide my day is done.

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Living the good life in Ecuador!

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Inspire Spontaneity. Invite Mystery. Indulge Adventure.

“Click. Click. Jangle. Jangle,” whisper the keys as they tango in his fingertips. The ignition tilts into place and our new cat purrs into submission. I glance through the corner of my big, square frames as a smile sneaks across my face. My husband catches my eye and offers a little wink, as we pull onto the water-stained cobble streets of San Clemente, Ecuador.

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Our kids playing on the stone streets of San Clemente, Manabi, Ecuador.

The kids sit behind us; thighs already sticking to the seats, squealing delight with each gentle bounce, bounce of the over-drive rhythm. I reach out to pull down my visor, to peak at their happy, red cheeked faces. But, there is no mirror there and I must wrangle around to spy in on their fun. I see two pairs of tiny feet. Their toes dusted with filth no matter how many times we tell them to leave their shoes on. They dangle over the edge of the seat, blissfully kicking and twitching; still years before they will rest on rubber mats below.

Behind them: the other two. Heads pushing through the air, fighting the seat backs for the space closest to the open windows. The mutts of course: lips and tongues flapping like sheets in the wind; splattering the seat backs and the tops of toddler heads. The kids are young enough to be amused, giggle over the mess, even reach back and ruffle the fur of their longest friends.

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Our daughter turned 4 in Ecuador!
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Our son will turn 3 soon!

Satisfied, I turn back. I roll down my window the rest of the way and reach my fingers out to feel the hot, shiny surface of the side view mirror. I lean back against the seat and close my eyes, cataloguing each tiny detail of this massive milestone. In the wafts pressing against my face, I can pick out the scents of mid-summer. The ripe, flourishing smell of trees in full foliage. The sticky smell of soil tampered by rain and farming. A tinge of petrol striping its course through the heavy, salty air. But, it is not summer here. It is early March in Ecuador. Fully fledged in the midst of the rainy season.

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But, time, date, and season are of no relevance. There isn’t much difference here. The sun sets and rises at the same time every single day, all year round. It’s raining. Or it isn’t. The bugs are out. Or they aren’t. There is ocean breeze or no relief. Those are the differentiating factors of the seasons in Coastal Ecuador. Therefore, this new adventure didn’t have to wait for summer. It only had to wait for the perfect candidate. The ideal capsule to house rowdy children, smelly dogs, and a couple of crazy folks like ourselves. The ability to carry us to mountains and rivers, rain forests and volcanoes.

This car spells opportunity. Potential. Possibility. Infinity. From here on, everything changes. From this moment we will become adventurers, explorers, investigators. Hikers, trekkers, rock climbers. Mountaineers, fishermen, kayakers. Campers. Campers!!! Maybe all of them. Maybe none of them, except for the last. We don’t know what we will become. What we do know, is that we will do it together. Husband and Wife, Parent and Child, Man and Man’s Best Friend. No one left behind.

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Joey: this old dog loves Ecuador!

We are off to educate and assimilate. To give and to gain. To live and give meaning to life. We have made it this far together, and beyond we will stay. Where no dog goes, we don’t roam. Where no kids trod, we won’t trek. In this. Together. 100%.

We have a bit of practice to do. We are not experienced in this sort of thing. So, off we go for day trips and weekenders and longer excursions when they fit. We don’t know how to camp or to trek, or any of that. All we really know is how to be together. And from that, we will build our foundation of how to go, where to go, and when.

As for our host, we are not ready yet, for the big reveal. But, I can promise you this: it is not what you are expecting. Not the typical Jeep or shiny RV. Not a camper or a husky Dodge Ram. Something a little more unique. A little more rugged. A little more reliable. Something special, especially for us.

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All of us, captured by a photographer in our village.
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The Rustic Lighthouse of San Jacinto

sanjacintolighthousefamilyWe love to visit this small light beacon that rests on a rocky shore in another fishing village just south of where we live. The best part of it, in my opinion, is that is appears to be a bit neglected in appearance. This could be totally false, as I now understand how destructive the misty salt air can be..for all I know, it was just painted last month and is simply subjected to the elements of daily life at the seaside.

Whatever the truth is, there is something charming about it’s lack of perfection. The worn paint, foggy glass, and the faded Virgin Mary who resides inside are symbolic of the typical life and tradition in an Ecuadorian fishing village. It is a place where tradition and folklore trump modern and new in each passing moment. sanjacintolighthouse
It is not actually attached to a “house”, but we are led to believe that it’s purpose must be to veer boats away from the rocky shores. The same shores that threaten the fishermen are those that protect these coastal villages from the angry, high tides of the ocean.
We have yet to see it lit up at night, and are not entirely sure if it is even functional at all. But, it’s our list of things-to-do, to sneak up on the structure at nightfall to find out if it’s casting a beam for the fishers out at sea.

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123 Species of Hummingbirds in Ecuador

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It’s no big surprise that we see tributes to the hummingbird everywhere we go in Ecuador, especially so in the capital city of Quito.
The very diverse, artistic culture in the country loves to give extra focus on arguably the most beautiful bird in the world. The image of the hummingbird has been used for centuries as a cultural symbol of the country. Ecuador is particularly known for the vibrant colored variations of the bird.

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Although it is not the official bird of the country, Ecuador is home to 123 species of hummingbirds, living in every single climate region from the coast to the glacier peaks. We tried to lure them in to our garden with homemade feeders, but to no avail. We have been told that they may not come near because we have dogs. I have seen just one hummingbird in Ecuador, during our stay at El Quinto Ranch in the Andes at nearly 12,000 feet (when our dogs were not present). It had a stunning cobalt blue head with a black and white penguin colored body. I believe it was the Ecuadorian Hillstar. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo.
These painted sculptures were displayed at the park where we stood on the Equator. Our four-year old daughter was especially crazy for them, as they combined her two true passions: Birds and Art. It was hard to choose a favorite, among 50 or more displays, but these are her top 5 picks. #1 being the rainbow hummingbird,because just like her mother, she finds it impossible to choose a favorite color. Only through the eyes of an artist, can all colors be appreciated in equal wonder!

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Standing on the Equator Means Being in Two Places at Once

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Standing on  0’0’0″ on the Equator.

Have you ever missed somebody so much, that you wished you could just reach across the distance to grab them by the hand?

Or have you ever wished that you could be in two places at once?

When you’re standing on the Equator, anything is possible! Just outside of Quito, you can stand on the dividing line between the north and south hemispheres. Therefore, enabling you to have one foot on each side of the globe. Or, as you can see with our kids, it is possible to hold hands with someone on the other side of the planet!
The opportunity to stand at 0’0’0″ latitude, it a unique one for sure! When a time like this arrives, there is nothing else to do but seize the moment!

It cost us each 7 or 8 dollars, and the kids were free, to stroll around the gardens encompassing the momument to the Equator. The park was full of sculptures, indigenous tourist shops, restaurants, museums, and exbits. For an additional fee you can buy the pass that allows full access to all of the museums, and planetarium, as well as a tour of the interior of the monument that takes you to a sky deck. It seems that a half or even full day could easily be spent on the grounds, although we opted to take a leisurely stroll through the premises only spending about an hour there.

Whichever your preference, it is great icon of Ecuador full of incredible memorable photo ops. The kids even enjoyed playing on a playground and viewing the llamas that live here. Plus, it was a great way to talk about maps, locations, geography, and the flags of other countries.

039-2Ciudad Mitad del Mundo , the Monument on the Equator

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Me and the kids sitting on the Equatorial Line in Ecuador!
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My husband Carlos and the kids haning out in the park that surrounds the Monument to the Equator.
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Our kids holding hands from different sides of  the planet, the north an south hemispheres.
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The monument that marks the equator surrounded by flags.

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The Ecuadorian Chagras

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An Ecuadorian Chagra, the Cowboy of The Andes. Near Pintag, Ecuador.

As we passed through the charming countryside beyond the Pintag village, we were fortunate enough to come across this Chagra. The Chagras are the typical cowboys of the Andes. For the most part they are cattlemen, but they also pride themselves on the showmanship of their stunning horses.

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The landscape that is home to this Chagra: scenic rural mountains, a countryside chapel, and cobblestone streets.

In the high altitude of the Andes, the weather changes quickly, and in the thin air, the mountains under cloud cover can quickly dip into the 30’s even after reaching the upper 60’s in the midday sun.
The Chagras almost always wear a hat to protect them from the rays, as this is the closest point to the sun, on the entire planet. At times they display several layers of brightly colored wool ponchos and scarves,but rarely are they seen in fluffy winter coats.
On some occasions, they sport the heavy chaps seen here, made from the wool of the native Alpaca.
Always friendly and sometimes drunk, they are always an entertaining sight to see.

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A close up of the Alpaca Wool Chaps worn by the Cowboys of the Andes  Mountains in Ecuador.
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A small group of curious Alpacas stared us down as we passed through their mountainside.

On Top of Quito

031.jpgWhile visiting grandma in Quito, we took a trip up the Teleferico.
This is a glass cable car ride that takes one from 9,415 feet to 13,450 feet in approximately 10 minutes. The aerial lift ride offers exquisite views of the “City of the Heavens” aka Quito,as well as the surrounding farmlands, the Pichincha Volcanoes, and of the 2nd highest active volcano in the world; Cotopaxi. Reports say that the Spectacled Bear of the Andes still live in the volcano lands and can sometimes be seen from the teleferico.
At the top, there is an extensive hiking trail that takes you up to the peaks of the volcanoes, the signs say that the trail is difficult and takes approximately 5 hours. That certainly wasn’t an option for us with the high altitude and our very young kids, but I’m sure it would be quite the adventure for the hiking and trekking crowds.

On a clear day, or even in a clear moment, you have the opportunity to View the Ruca de Pichincha and Cotopaxi Volcanoes.

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3,000 feet about Quito, the city is silent and the mountainside is serene.
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Looking out the windows of the glass cable car in Quito’s teleferico.
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A short path at the top of the Volcanoes is bathed in colorful bricks.
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The views from the city from up in the Teleferico.
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The Ruca de Pichincha can be tough to catch without cloud cover!
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Literally moments later, full cloud cover enveloped the Volcano Point.
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Cotopaxi is notoriously difficult to photograph due the the unstable weather condition surrounding it.

The kids really enjoyed playing the cool and breezy highlands, they had little interest in the city below and only wanted to investigate nature!

The Softer Side of Bullfighting

After six months of traipsing through the crushed shell beaches of Manabi, we decided it was high time to a catch a glimpse of life above sea level. We packed up the bikinis and board shorts to trade them in for dusty, creased jeans and our favorite leather boots.  We tossed our kids, and our bags into the back of a Jeep and said goodbye to the sun kissed streets of San Clemente. It was quite a journey up the mountains, to get from the rolling sea to 12,000 feet; high above the colonial city of Quito. We lazily climbed through the quiet villages and snaking roads, peering out the windows in awe of waterfalls and landslides that dot the jungled mountainside.

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Our daughter loving her warm outerlayers of fuzzy  Alpaca wool gear.

We stopped at the indigenous artisanal market in the capitol city, to gear up for life in the Antisana volcanic region. Our final destination would be at home on the range, in the El Quinto ranchlands. Up there the air is clear and the atmosphere serene, but the UV rays and wind are unforgiving, in this country close to the sun. Surprisingly, it doesn’t snow, but the fickle weather means preparing for three seasons in a moment’s notice. As is true of anywhere in Ecuador, the only way to survive is to dress in layers. And so we did, dress ourselves with the Chagras in mind. The Chagras are the cattlemen of the Andes, and the Antisanas, too. The high altitude cowboys have learned to live and love the elements after centuries in the thin air countryside. There was nothing else to do but to take our ques from the experienced roamers, and to load up on many layers of alpaca wool clothing made by the indigenous.

It was a strange thing to us, to buy heavy socks and scarves, and stocking hats too, but to completely dismiss the need for a heavy winter coat. With raised eyebrows in doubt, we exited the marketplace with our cold weather accessories and thick, hooded sweaters for our trip to the heights.  Just a few moments beyond the outskirts of the city of two and half a million people, civilization quickly gave way to rolling landscapes and cobblestone streets.

Quiet came over us as we were engulfed by a new kind of beauty, a different angle on the splendor of Ecuador. The pollution of lights and sound drifted behind us and we were instantly transported to life in a different place and time. The highlands were draped in a quilt of farmlands and lovely dirt roads, speckled with livestock; divine running, horses and broad, Brahma bulls.

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The tail end of a genuine bull run!

Just before we tumbled up to the gates of the ranch, our guide pulled his truck to the side of the narrow, bumpy lane, and dared us to peer over the barbed wire fence. The doors of our 4X4 creaked open and we peered down from the sky, over mountains and valleys of lava rock; strange alien-like deposits from the Antisana some thousand years ago. As we pondered a time when the angry innards of the earth exploded over the lands, we bumped along the rural acres home to the grasslands that house the herds we came to see. The hundred heads that live here are shrouded in history and culture, and most recently in debate and controversy. This ranch is home to the breeders and bloodline of the Spanish fighting bull, a tradition five hundred years deep in Ecuador.

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Views of the El Quinto Ranch. Over 2,000 acres of roaming lands are home to the bulls.

 

We came to see and be seen, by the angry, adrenaline filled, fighting bull. The Roman family breeders have been in business for 40 years, with three living generations still practicing the art of capote and muleta passing. But, here, heritage is not required, and anyone can learn the honor of bullfighting, as taught by the ranch’s team of toreros, otherwise known as bullfighters.

My husband for one; took up on the adventure, in a quest to understand and immerse in the culture of bullfighting. Carlos was invited to participate in the training of the bullfighters and the bravery testing of a bull. In this practice, the bulls are not injured or killed, but rather they were enticed to show the signs of nobility, valor, and might, requirements for breeding the fighting bulls. The bulls that show the right stuff are further prepared for passing on their bloodline, but those that lack in the desired attributes are returned to a life of grazing and lazing in the Andes sun.

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Practice makes perfect, before taming the bull!

Early in the afternoon, the trainers and participants gathered in the wide circle of the bull ring to practice the graceful sweeps of their capes. The kids and I tucked ourselves into the sun drenched strands of knee high hay, growing between the faded red slats of the wooden corral. We basked in the scent of evergreens and eucalyptus as we savored the hugs of our fuzzy, wool sweaters. It was a little piece of heaven, to peek at our father and husband through the blades of the countryside as he danced with his borrowed moleta. Without the presence of the not-yet-summoned bull, we were free to imagine the animal’s place in the ring, and to gaze at the empty stands above our heads.

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The kids waiting in the bleachers, to see their first Bull Fight.

Not too long later, we left our huddle to find a place in the bleachers, where the midday rays blasted us with their presence. We couldn’t get rid of our jackets and mittens fast enough, tossing them in the dust beneath our boots as the show began. Our four year old daughter crouched beneath the front barrier, peering between the cracks in the boards. She was desperate to watch, but overcome by trepidation as the wild bull frantically rooting around in the field below. Our younger son fell silent as he peaked from behind my shoulders.

The small crowd of onlookers bustled around to get the best view and out of the sudden heat. A few poured some liquor, as the celebratory event commenced, and others passed around bags of candy as if celebrating at a holiday party.

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My husband (in the middle) and two other bullfighters, safe from the bull from behind the burladero.

With our eyes to the participants, we watched as the bullfighters glided into the ring, one by one. Most took their places behind the burladero, a guarding wall at the edges of the ring that offers protection from the bull. And finally the first one was chosen to begin the taunting of the bull. He took his turn, showed his tricks, and flapped the cape from to the side, above the bull’s head, and then behind his hips again.

And then one after the other, the trainees took their turns, stepping in and out as instructed, some succeeding and some struggling to present their old or newfound expertise.  I have no place to critique, as a first time viewer, safe in my seat; but I’m sure of one thing, it took a certain dose of bravery for any of them to put themselves in front of a bull.

Though there were a few close calls, most of the interactions were little more than near encounters between man and monster. But, near the middle of the show, there was an occurrence when the bull mastered the taunting man; sending him clear to the ground. The seconds felt like hours as the bullfighters emerged from every corner of the ring, flapping their capotes to distract the angered animal from the downed participant.

I snapped out of my stupor, to grab my camera, preparing to shoot my first tragedy.  Just as I focused my lens, I caught sight of my husband… racing front and center, his first time in front of the bull. I bit my lip as I waited, hoping the worst wouldn’t happen. I envisioned scenes not from the present, but of men getting gored from movies on TV. Luckily nothing like that happened, and the bull trotted off in the opposite direction, leaving my husband and the others the chance to escape to the other end.

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One man down, but rescued by the antics of the others. My Husband (in the white shirt) puts himself right in the sights of the bull!!

But, it wasn’t over yet. The bull snorted and kicked and tried to get at them from behind their safety net. He ran a couple of laps before simmering down, and then the games resumed. Apparently he was deemed mad enough, as the cowboys removed him from the ring, excusing him for the remainder of the fights.

A second bull came in, and much of the same repeated, each of the men taking turns testing the temperament of the fresh, horned animal.  I saw from the sidelines, my husband removing his leather Andes hat and laying it to the side. I knew it was his time, as he slid from behind the burladero, creeping gracefully into the sights of the bull. He whipped his muleta around, flashing the blood red color, while enticing the animal to come a little closer. I was startled by its reaction, barreling through the cape, and getting a little too close for comfort. I cringed as I eyed the horns, watching them narrowly pass by the jeaned thighs of my husband.

But, Carlos was quick on his feet, and the kids cheered Daddy on, as he escaped danger time and time again. Then, just as quick as it began, it was over, and my hubby exited the performance, unscathed by the experience. Head held high, he looked up at me and nodded with his best Marlboro man wink as he stepped out of view.

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I couldn’t resist getting this shot of my Marbloro Man.

The sun shrugged off its warmth shortly after, but long before darkness fell over the ranch. We pulled the wool back up over our ears, as we trudged up the hill and past the pastures. In the evening hours, we sat around the wood burning fireplace in cow hide chairs, tossing around stories about the excitement of the day. We sipped coffee and cocoa as we admired the posters on the walls, those that told the tales of bullfighters and matadors from the decades before. The kids laughed and squealed with echoes through the old, brick walls.

Just as all cowboys must do, we finally retreated for the night, to a corner room far from the heat. We giggled as we breathed the cool, mountain air from the nostrils of our sun burnt noses.

The kids scurried across the cold, tiled floor and into a bed, fitted with nearly ten piled blankets. We doubled our socks and pulled our sweaters over our jammies, before digging our toes under the heavy, wool layers.

As the softness of the night came over the room, I listened to the calm, shallow breathing of slumbering children. I heard a couple of thuds from the outer walls of our room, and peered into the dark trying to make sense of it. From the un-curtained panes, I saw the moon glowing across the mane of the mare that sleeps behind the house.  She pushed her nose against the glass and left steam on the window, before turning in dismissal with a clop clop on the dirt.

I couldn’t help but wonder if her rider normally slept there, but was absent that night. I asked my husband if he agreed, but the only response was silence, as all of my cowboys had fallen asleep. I imagined living there, and leaving a bale of hale at the foot of the bed, of opening the window to let the horse stick her snout in.

Eventually I drifted off too, reminiscing on day one of the best vacation that had ever been.

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A stunning mare taking in the views from the mountainside.

 

 

 

 

Entranced by the Rio Muchacho

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The kids running barefoot just like the other ranch kids.

Our Visit to a Sustainable Organic Ranch on Ecuador’s Central Coast.

When our family looks for day trips and travel excursions, we do so with two young children in mind. Our children are small, just 2 and 4 years old.  Family-friendly activities are important for the pleasure of each of us, yet we strive to find unique and adventurous attractions. Life in Ecuador is a bit different in terms of tourism resources. Unless you want to hit the big tourist traps, there are not a lot of resources for off the beaten path type destinations. The locations are certainly here, but it takes a lot of digging and prodding, and reliance on locals to find out about lesser-known locales.

**The rest of this post has not been moved to our new blog site, please continue reading it there. So sorry for this minor inconvenience as we move blog locations to better support our growth. Thank you for being one of loyal readers!

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