The Many Faces of Ecuador


Here are some of the interesting and beautiful sights we have seen in Ecuador. I have learned not to order caffee con leche as it is cup of milk where I then have to spoon in instant coffee. Tea became my breakfast drink, in the I afternoon would hunt for a cafe that showed real beans.


Some of the photos you see are in the city of Quito itself. img_0098.jpg

Very polluted air, people everywhere and there is no time on the trolley when it is empty. But it only cost 25 cents to use so we put up with the close body contact. Seems my skin colour makes everyone believe I am a native I have had alot of people come up to me and start speaking Spanish, Steve and Judy don’t have that problem they are too pale.

img_0180.jpgimg_0208.jpgThe other photos are from a day trip we took to Mindos to see the water falls in the mountains, we saw 3.

On the way saw a volcanic cater that is now farm landvolcanic-crater.jpg


and a sanctuary filled with many different types of hummingbirds, birds of many colours and beautiful orchids.


And the last picture is of me straddling the equator


The next posting will be about Galapagos, boy do I have some stories to tell.


Published in: on June 28, 2007 at 12:13 am  Comments (3)  

Jet Lag and High Altitude

Well after spending 24hrs travelling from Spain to Quito combined with the high altitude, we are both worn out. Just walking up a slight incline had our hearts start pounding. We also were dealing with headaches on off but for the most part we are doing fine, no altitude sickness thank goodness.

Weather here at the moment is cool and wet quite a change from Sevilla. The low rain clouds are not allowing us to see the mountains that we are surrounded by. Hoping the next few days will sunny and clear, there are some volcanoes we would like to see.

We are seeing alot of police and security guards here in the old town. They are trying to make the area here more secure so that tourists will come.

Many people selling different wares here but they are not pushy about. Things are very very inexpensive, I don´t know how they earn much of a living.

For all concerned Judy arrived (steve´s sister) today and we just came back from a nice evening meal.

There will not be any pictures this time felt too much like a zombie. I am not sure if I will be able to do any pictures as the internet is a hit and miss here. So I may have to do the Ecuador pictures when we get to Berlin.

Time to say good-night

Sweet dreams from Renee

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 1:49 am  Comments (2)  

Last Day In Sevilla


Steve has been occupying the the lap top for various stories he needs to write so I am just now able to send off this entry before leaving tomorrow for Ecuador.

The most interesting part about staying at the Barcelo were the Luncheons and Dinners. They became an International event for me. As we sat with people from Africa, China, France and Australia discussing our concerns over the environment and what hardships globalization has caused in Africa and China. Through all these discussions that went on sometimes into the late hours of the evening (one time kicked out by the staff). I truly believe we need to fight for a global environmental standard and as well a global human standard.  Most importantly as the gentleman from Africa said we stop discussing and start acting.

Steve and I are very fortunate to have an opportunity to meet and talk with these people. We have been enlightened about many things. As well we have been given open invitations to visit Africa and China. I hope one day this will be possible.

Our flight leaves very early tomorrow so we need to get to bed very very early. As we do not know the internet situation in Quito it may be a few days before I am able to do another entry.

Bye from beautiful Sevilla

Published in: on June 20, 2007 at 12:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

If You Build It They Will Leave

img_0003.jpgThe Flameco dance was not the end of our evening out. It was our last night before heading out the next day to Steve’s conference on the other side of the Rio (river) Guadalquivir. So a local Bodega is what we went looking for. It was not long before we found a very lively one, waiters working so fast in a small area that the dishes and glasses often came crashing to the floor. Olives were served by the plate full as a snack much to my pleasure. We ordered 2 different types of Tapas, the one we enjoyed the most was the slice of goat cheese on a toasted baguette with olive oil drizzled over top. Needless to say I was in heaven and I put in another order of the goat cheese. It goes without saying that the beverage for the evening was red wine.

img_0013.jpgOur morning wake up call the next day came too soon for me, as I awoke several times due to the other guest making their early departures from the Hostel. Lots of coffee was required before dragging all our things down the stairs to the corner taxi stand.

Our taxi ride across the river took all of 10 minutes and then we were at the doorstep of the Barcelo Resort.

Robyn and Sonja: it is no where near like the one in Mexico, but that is another story in itself.

The hotel sits on the site of the 1992 World Expo. The area looks so desolate that you sometimes get the feeling you are in a ghost town. If it was not for the Isla Magica (like Canada’s Wonderland) there wouldimg_0019.jpg be no one here. Unlike the 1929 Expo, not many if any of the buildings have been put to use. Instead you have flag poles bearing no flags, dried up canals (made for the Expo), algae filled water fountains which they have running all the time. This is definitely an example of how not to host/build an Expo. The only benefit out all of this that I can see is the walking and bike paths along both sides of the river. But because there is nothing on the Expo side for the people Sevilla little is done to maintain the paths.

Hey David we did see a rowing regatta and managed to catch beginner rower trying out his skills. (not Steve)

img_0039.jpgGraffiti now covers many of the walls along the walk way but not on every building in Sevilla as it does in Berlin. There seems to be a better respect for the graffiti as you don’t see another piece work on top of a previous one.

The last two nights we have been dining out at a Italian restaurant with a variety of pasta and sauces that it would take at least a week or two to eat through the whole list. Their version of pizza is quite different, an extremely thin crust and the toppings laid out in sections. It is like having different types of Tapas on pizza. Bottle of red wine in Euros is 7,50 and by the glass 1,80 it just wants to make you cry. For all you beer drinkers the most Steve has had to pay for a Cerveza is 1,50.

Mama/Papa we had a Tiramisu to die for. Steve apologizes mama but he says this one beats yours.

As today (June 18) is the first day of hot weather I will leave you with thoughts of me lounging around the pool. But don’t get to jealous there will be no sipping from a tall glass filled with Sangria (no drinks allowed). As for Steve he is suffering through long sessions that leaving him freezing thanks to the air conditioning.

Buenas tardes and Adios

Published in: on June 20, 2007 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parks, Flamenco and Vino Tinto

As you can can see by title I have no problem ordering red wine in Spanish.

Friday was our last day and night in the heart of Sevilla. After Steve spent some time in the Internet cafe sorting through the hundreds of e-mails we headed out for some lunch. Found a nice restaurant not too far from the bullring, needless to say we read the menu carefully as they do serve meat a la Toro (yikes).

After much gesturing and word searching trying to explain to one waitress that were being looked by another waiter we were able to order a very nice meal. It consisted of Iberian pork, the meat comes from pigs that have only been fed acorns (a speciality of Spain). With our bellies full off we went to the world Expo of 1929 where many buildings are being used as offices.

The Guatemala Pavilion is being used as university residence (may want to check that out Katrina). On our way to the Spanish Pavilion we walked through a park named after Maria Luisa, a famous actress from mid 1920 to 1945. The is fairly big filled with many types of trees (palms of course) but very few flower gardens. Did manage to take pics of flowers, the white flower grows on a tree, the itself grows quite massive in size. What did strike us that unlike Australia there are very few exotic or colourful birds here.img_0008.jpg

The pictures of the Pavilion really do not show how large or grande it is. Unfortunately the pigeons are taking over in the inner corridors and staircases of the building. The people working in the offices below must have great time avoiding all that poop! As our feet were getting weary from all the walking we did the past few days we headed back to Casa y Luna to get ready for our entertainment.


Yup you guessed it Flamenco.img_0023.jpg

The people who run Casa y Luna made reservations ensuring that we see the traditional Flamenco dance. Finding the locale involved winding our way through the small streets of Sevilla. We were ushered into a very small court yard where stood 3 chairs, a wooden platform (low to the ground) in front lay a large bowl of water filled with flowers surrounded by four large lanterns. Behind all that was a tall wall covered in Ivy with small sparrows flying in out it at the very top.

img_0028.jpgFirst to perform was the guitarist and the soloist who sang a song of lament which at times reminded me of the Muslim priests who cry out to God. After that performance came the dance of passion, with the guitarist and singer providing the music and rhythm and a Senora clapping her hands in rhythm. The dancer worked with speed, heart and such artistry at times he seemed to be doing the dance of the Matador (I wonder what came first). The stamina of this dancer was unbelievable there were no breaks in his 20 minute dance, just pauses to catch his breath.img_0027.jpg

After the guitarist played another piece the lady and man came out to dance together. Their dance told the whole story of love and hurt. I really believe that lovers, husband and wives used the Flamingo dance to sort through all their emotions instead of have a big fight. After dancing the way they did you have no energy to do anything except to fall into each others arms.


Published in: on June 17, 2007 at 1:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Tapas, Beer and Wine

famosa-matador.jpgcatedral.jpgEnjoying the outdoor bar/bodega scene here where folks eat and drink into the wee hours. TV is definitely not part of life here. Went to a bull ring but no bull fight thank goodness. Lots of walking and checking out the zillion little mom and pop shops. tonight we dance…. well watch flamenca at some special show maybe they’ll ask for audience participation! Our last nite in casa sol y luna and then on to conference hotel on isla magica.

Pixs from yesterday







Published in: on June 15, 2007 at 12:02 pm  Comments (1)  


Click to see bigger images — casino — white building, cathedral of sevilla ,alley way and me in a park.

sevilla casino


Published in: on June 14, 2007 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  


So we started off with a bang at the airport. Forgot about the 100ml rule and there went our shampoo,soap and toothpaste. Once in the Barcelona airport we napped for a couple of hours we had almost 5 hours to kill. We almost flew to Madrid as Steve had it in his mind that is where we were going.

Arrived at the hostel without much trouble around 8:00 pm, our taxi driver knew exactly which of the small winding roads to take. We are a five minute walk from the cathedral. On our first night out we had Tapas (appetizer), which was made up of a variety of seafood, no red wine for me that night. Across from where we were eating the people spilled out onto the street eating and drinking. The evening was cool but could not enjoy our surroundings to long for sleep was calling

Next day woke up at 11:00 am!! With breakfast on our mind we went on the hunt, found a nice little coffee shop with great coffee and croissants in Santa Cruz. Spent the rest of the day walking and taking in the local sights. They have some wonderful gardens. Did a small break for snack where we order bread and cheese drizzled with olive oil and drank a very very nice Sangria. Seville is a maze of tiny cobblestone alley ways. Where a small car can barely navigate–people have to stand sideways to let then pass. There hundreds of shops,bars and restaurants hidden in every nook and cranny. This atmosphere is nothing like going to a box you can keep Walmart. Piazzas (open areas) are filled with palm trees, eating and drinking areas. Tonight we are going to a Tapas Bar that has existed since 1640, apparently they were the ones to create Tapas.

Adios from Renee

Published in: on June 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm  Comments (1)  

Where’s Renee and Steve

June 11 – Sevilla, Spain (speaking at International Forum on Drought)

June 21 to mid July: Ecuador and Galapagos Islands (covering a conference amongst other things)

Mid July to early August: Berlin, Vienna

August 1st- home so soon

Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 3:01 am  Comments (9)