As you have probably surmised by now, I indeed made it to Quito, and on to the cloud forest town of Mindo. Internet access was difficult from Mindo, and the schedule of conference events was quite full, so I have been unable to do much blogging. It was a great trip, and I’ll fill in the details over the next few posts. I’m writing this one on the plane from Quito to Miami.
Páramo. Note the tussock grasses in the foreground.
On Monday morning, we flew from Guyaquil to Quito. We spent the day in Quito, and did a couple of touristy things. My favorite was a trip by cable car up to high elevation, about 13,000’, where we got to walk in the páramo vegetation. Páramo is a high-elevation grassland dominated by tussock grasses and cushion The weather was mostly overcast. We saw only a few birds and a couple of white butterflies in the páramo.
A cushion plant in the Asteraceae
Another cushion plant
A high-altitude lupine
Returning to Quito, we visited a couple of churches, and were joined at dinner by many of the other conference attendees. The church architecture was marvelous. I especially liked the stained glass, and gargoyles depicting Ecuador’s fauna. Turtles, monkeys, and iguanas were included among the animals depicted. The amazing, vivid picture of the torments of Hell (in a no-photo zone) demonstrated the softer side of organized religion, and reminded me of why I’ll continue to give it a pass.
Monkey and jaguar gargoyles on the Basilica.
Unfortunately, the iguanas did not turn out well. They were cool.
Jesus raises LAzarus from the dead.
Stained glass at the Basilica.
On Tuesday the group continued on to Mindo. The road wound out of Quito, through the mountains, down into increasingly lush cloud forest vegetation, and on to the town of Mindo. We crossed the Equator along the way, and stopped briefly at the museum facility there. The museum was interesting enough, however I must confess that I getting out of Quito and beginning to see the wonders of the Ecuadorian tropics that really had my attention at that point.
Doug has his first bi-hemispheric experience.
On the road to Mindo
The formal meeting part of the trip began after lunch on Tuesday. I’m not going to blog about the formal part of the meeting. I suspect that most of my readers will be more interested in the flora and fauna of Ecuador than about topics like international chrysalis pricing structures or the latest on USDA regulations governing butterfly exhibits. Let’s just say that there’s a lot of diverse and interesting things happening in butterfly exhibitions around the world.
Tropical weevil welcomes you to Mindo. Bienvenidos!
On a bloggy note, two conference participants approached me separately about my blog. They had done Google searches trying to get weather forecasts for Mindo. Apparently, Gossamer Tapestry was one of the things that their searches turned up. Hi Cynthia and Wayne!
Labels: Blog, Ecuador, Travel