Hey, you made it! Thanks for coming along with me....

    Back in 1994, I was privileged to visit one of the prettiest parts of the planet, the Highlands of Ecuador, and spend a few weeks traveling up and down the Avenue of the Volcanoes, in the company of several other gifted photographers. (I'll link into their sites as soon as I can get them to put sites up!) We weren't there long enough to really get a good feel for the country, just enough to make me want to go back.....

    Ecuador is a book or six waiting to be photographed, and I'm going to be getting back to it as quickly as I can. (This still holds even if I DID get back for 10 days in April 2001... it's as pretty as I remembered, and then some...)

Watch This Space.

   Quito, the capitol, is a wonderful city.  Two cities, really.  One end is brick-and-steel-and-glass modern, with broad avenues and glassed-in shops with lots of windows.  The other is very old, and wears its Spanish Colonial heritage in its architecture -- and its much older heritage in the faces of its people.   Tiny streets, crowded almost beyond belief to a wide-open-spaces Texas boy, walled in by three-story adobes opening onto plazas and little surprises... Well, take a look.

Quito -- Night

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    Ecuador is a feast for the landscape photographer, as well as the climber and the tourist.  In 1802 a German explorer, Alexander von Humboldt, tagged the spine of the Andes "The Avenue of the Volcanoes" and it's not hard to see why.   Within the borders of Ecuador are more than a dozen volcanoes, several of them active.   Down from the Andes flow several rivers tributary to the Amazon; the result is an uncountable number of waterfalls, ranging from two metre rivulets to Manto de Novia, one of the highest single-drop falls on the planet.  Add a camera and a supply of film, and the countryside becomes the stuff of dreams... weather permitting, of course.


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   All the guidebooks I've seen aver that Ecuadorians are the friendliest people in the Western hemisphere.  I can't say if that's strictly true, but if it's not, whoever's in first would do well not to relax too much.   The folks we met were certainly making a serious effort to earn the award.

Children with a puppy...

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   On my last trip, when I got out of Sucre airport, the driver from the hostel who was supposed to meet me was nowhere to be found. After sorting myself out (note to self: Hostel phone number goes in pocket notebook, NOT laptop computer), I managed to get in touch with the hostel and found that due to a small distraction, my imminent arrival had been completely forgotten. (Being fair, the small distraction weighed in at seven pounds something, about 17 inches long, and had very pretty eyes..... my hostess went into labor about the time my plane left Miami.)

   So when I got to the hostel via taxi, things were a bit hectic... and I was in no shape to sleep even if it WAS 1 AM. I spent some time in the hostel's reading room, looking through guides and newspapers and brochures. One of the more visually attractive ones was for the Ballet Folklorico Nacional Jacchigua!, and since I tend to love folk dancing and folklorico, I made it a point to take in a performance before I left.

Horny Guys

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   Says here that the population of Ecuador is 95% Roman Catholic.   Churches and shrines are everywhere, and each has a look and feel all its own.   Large, small, new, old, simple, ornate... each unique... and all fascinating.

Balvanera Chapel

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   In the mountains, farming proceeds much as it has for centuries.   The reasons are both economic and pragmatic: machines and fuel are expensive, and fields tend to be small and more vertical than otherwise.   Ox plows and hand tools are the implements of choice.


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   Market day in the Highlands is a street photographer's dream: no matter which way you go, no matter where you look, you're surrounded by people and scenes crying out to be photographed.... The marketgoers and traders have quite understandably become somewhat tired of rude gringos with cameras, but real courtesy and respect go a long way....

Market, Otavalo

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   Ingapirca, the largest Inca ruin in Ecuador, is a few miles off the Pana, north of Cuenca. It's the best known of the ruin sites, but the people who study such things are still somewhat unsure exactly what function or functions it might have served. It's impressive, nonetheless.

Ingapirca In The Fog

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   Sometimes it seems that the best photographs aren't made AT a point, but on the road between them. There's a train between Guayaquil on the west coast and Alausí in the Highlands that offers tremendous possibilities for photographs. That's not me in the photo, by the way; it's Blair Pittman, a good friend and travelling companion... and a helluva fine photographer himself.

Shooting The Train

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   So that's the nickel tour. There have been several changes since I shot most of these; the economy has tanked, there've been a few landslides and a volcanic eruption or two, and several kinds of civil unrest with several different causes, so it's time to go back and see what's happening....

Ecuador Flag

For now, though, let's go back where we started... Texas.