I landed in Quito, Ecuador late Tuesday night. I had no plans at all until Friday morning when I'd fly out to Sani Lodge in the Amazon (pictured to the left), and I really needed to catch up with work before going offline for nearly four days. Four days is the longest I've gone without Internet (and a cell signal) in years! I'm looking forward to it and also a little bit anxious about it, but I also know that it's a much needed break from work and an addiction to staring at a screen all the time.
But back to the point. That left me spending Thanksgiving working most of the day and pretty much stuck at my hotel as it's located near the airport and not close to much of anything else at all. While traveling is obviously one of my most favorite things to do, and I'm very grateful that I get to do it so often, it was just a little depressing knowing my family and friends were enjoying a big feast and time together while I was alone.
Still, I made the most of it, and, thankfully, the restaurant here at the San Jose de Puembo hotel is fantastic. It's so much fun to try new foods, and my Thanksgiving dinner definitely didn't disappoint. Yes, I missed my favorite dessert, pumpkin pie, but I had one of the most delicious meals. Ecuadorian food is diverse and highly underrated.
I started out with a homemade chicken soup - it was the best I've ever had, with lots of fresh veggies and huge chunks of chicken breast. My main dish was prawns with rice covered in a coconut sauce and fried plantains. If you never had plantains, they look like bananas, but they aren't sweet. I love them! The other day, I had ceviche and they brought out a little bowl with fried plantains, popcorn and Andean corn nuts - I wish I could bring a bunch of that back home!
Now, it's nearly time for me to leave once again, heading back to Quito Airport and into the Amazon where the real adventure awaits...parrots, monkeys, sloths...
No Internet until Monday afternoon., so I will see you all on the other side!
I'm overdue for a post. It's been nearly three weeks, but I've been busy catching up from my last trip, and getting ready for my next one: Ecuador. Why Ecuador you ask? Well, my first thought was to visit the Galapagos, a place that's been on my travel bucket list for awhile, and probably many others. But after doing some research, I decided that I needed to visit the Amazon first.
Ecuador's Yasuní National Park is considered one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, it’s home to more than 600 bird species, jaguars, pumas, monkeys, caimans and sloths, one of the most adorable creatures on Earth. The chance to see a sloth is what really got me.
Unfortunately this incredible region of the world is seriously threatened due to deforestation, climate change and a number of other factors, which is why it's so important to see it now before it's too late, and do it in a more eco-friendly way.
Many of the jungle lodges are a community initiative or operated with a view to helping the local indigenous communities, like Sani Lodge, which is where I'll be staying. It's run by the local Sani community deep within the Ecuadoran Amazon between the Cuyabeno Reserve and Yasuni National Park. Profits stays within the community which helps improve healthcare, education, and sustainable projects. The eco-lodge also uses pure solar energy, which not only helps limit the impact on the region, but tends to draw a greater abundance of wildlife due to the lack of noise.
Accommodation include meals as well as both day and night hikes, canoe excursions and more. While there is some limited Internet, I likely won't be able to do much more than check emails, so this will be an opportunity to truly relax and get back to nature, for 4 days and 3 nights, a longer period than I've had in years. But when I return to the capital city, Quito, the Monday after Thanksgiving, you can expect an update, and lots of pictures too.