by Sarah Bourne Rafferty
Ten days…we made it from Quito to Puluahua to Mindo to Bellavista Cloud Forest…over the mountains and through the Ecuadorian countryside, into some cities – some on purpose and others as a result of poor signage (oh, Santo Domingo!) and eventually to the coast and back to Quito!
We met generous, lovely people throughout our travels, witnessed natives farming their land, watched a truck pull a motorcycle (with two people on the back) by a rope along the highway, many, many banana fields, and terrible road conditions that came up so suddenly it was difficult to keep from swearing! We had an entire beach to ourselves one beautifully overcast morning in Los Frailes and a cup of coffee and an egg at a cafe level with the muddy streets of Puerto Lopez. I ate the best ceviche I have ever had the privilege to put in my mouth in a cabana in Puerto Cayo after lounging in a hammock while we waited. Never in my life did I think I would be able to say I ate breakfast while swarms of hummingbirds paraded to and from their feeders. We drove a very small, stick shift, lawnmower-engine-sounding Chevy Spark and got lost and then found, and lost and then found again. Without fail, every turn, intentional or not, presented vibrant colors, beautiful plant life, generous people, smiling children, and a blue sky unlike any I have ever seen.
Ecuador opened my heart and mind to a world beyond the one I know. It is not uncommon for me to travel and have thoughts anew but there was a quality to life in Ecuador that touched my heart deeply. I cannot wait to return.