Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dear Jess,

This email correspondence with my sister is a fascinating bit of history from my trip to South East Asia that begged to see the light of day. A typical family conversation in which we touch on subjects such as hostile Canadian takeover, mass grave excavation and the legalities behind dismembering interns. Enjoy...

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Machalilla Bay, Ecuador

The crescent bay of Los Frailes beach, in the Machalilla National Park of Ecuador, is a beautiful place. Straddled by sunbaked cliffs, lapped by turquoise breakers, dotted with small craggy islands, it contains all the qualities that one would want to exploit with say, a large all-inclusive resort done in tasteless carribean colors, but with the added benefit of being immune to such exploitation as it is on protected land. (read more)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cuenca, Ecuador

Feliz Año Viejo

Or, "Happy Old Year" as you´ll hear in the streets of Cuenca on New Year´s Eve. Here in Ecuador the celebrations of December 31st are not so much about ringing in the new as burning out the old. Thousands of paper mache masks representing everything from hated political figures to cartoon characters are constructed and placed on dummies in front of homes and business only to be ritually torched in the street later in the evening.

Montanita, Ecuador

No Hay

Spanish for "there isn´t any," this is a popular phrase in Montañita, Ecuador around the holidays. Whether it be at a hotel- ¨no hay habitacion¨ (no rooms), at any of the restaurants- ¨no hay comida¨ (no food) or at the money changer- ¨no hay dinero¨ (no money), you begin to repeat the phrase in chorus along with whomever you´ve just asked about anything.

There was simply nothing left in Montañita. The culprit? Thursday. A generally pleasant and much anticipated day of the week, Thursday can take the blame for this one. This year both Christmas and New Year´s Day fell on a Thursday allowing the entire population of Ecuador to take Friday off for the most glorious four day grouping known to man, the long weekend, and descend upon the unexpecting bohemian fishing and surfing town of Monañita.

The result, of course, is that unfortunate travelers like myself end up spending exorbitant amounts of money to stay on a broken bed in somebody´s grandparent´s bedroom. At least they were nice enough to move the grandparents first.