27 Jun


Biking in Mindo

So this past weekend, we went to Mindo, a small town in the middle of a “cloud forest.” It was only two hours from Quito. We went to celebrate our anniversary; it was also pretty much our last chance to travel, though we may have been convinced to do the very touristy “flying dutchman” bike ride down Cotopaxi next weekend. We ran into some other WorldTeach vols from Ambato, Erica and Liz. They came with a friend of theirs, Jackie, who also teaches English in Ambato. So on Saturday, we spent most of the day with them. We walked out of town to the butterfly museum and then we took a little hike through the forest.

It was very nice. The weather is a little warmer than Quito and it’s more humid. It made us aware of the fact that we kinda miss humidity. Not 80 and humid. More like 70 and kind of humid. I don’t know. It’s a fine line.

Anyway. We were originally thinking we’d get up early on Sunday and take a long guided hike through the forest to see a whole bunch of different birds, including parrots and toucans. But Eileen’s knees were shot after Saturday’s quantity of walking, so instead, we slept in and took a nice, leisurely bike ride on a rustic dirt road. It was more enjoyable than we anticipated. We really miss biking.

At one point on the ride, Eileen, enchanted by the perfect weather, the rolling hills, the green countryside, and the fresh air, looked up and said, whimsically, “a moo-cow.” There indeed was a holstein up ahead in the road. I said, “so what do you do if it starts charging at you?” Eileen said, “cows don’t charge, do they?” But as we approached, we realized it was a bull.

It had horns.

And testicles.

We rolled by slowly and cautiously. The bull stared us down, but didn’t move. Phew!

After the ride, we went to the orchid farm and we spent a lot of time hanging out on the back deck of El Descanso, a really cool hostal run by a really nice guy named Rodney, where we didn’t stay. We wanted to stay there — it came highly recommended by several friends — but there were no rooms. They went out of their way, however, to find us a room at a hostal down the street and then proceeded to tell us we could come hang out there anytime. You seldom find service like that in Ecuador.

The back deck of El Descanso looks out over a beautiful garden built to attract birds. There are tons of hummingbirds. I talked with Rodney for a while on Sunday, as we were killing time before our bus ride home, and he said he was looking for an English teacher to spend 4-6 months in Mindo and teach him, and about 4 others. He’d provide accomodations and food in his beautiful hostal. If I wasn’t married. . .

Anyhow, it would be a pretty cool experience. You could join a local soccer team, pick up bird-watching, go mountain biking, and just generally enjoy paradise.

Pictures in coppermine.