You guys, I grew up in Ecuador. I spent the first 18 years of my life living there. I loved it, and it was a totally idyllic childhood.
Fast forward to today. I’ve been to around 50 countries all over the world, and I still say Ecuador is super charming, beautiful, accessible and EVERYONE SHOULD GO AT LEAST ONCE.
Lucky for me, my sister still lives there, so I have an excuse/reason to go more often than most.
Look: tiny country, 4 distinct geological regions. Amazon jungle, Andes mountains, Pacific coast and Galapagos islands.
Quito is one of the oldest colonial capitals in the New World, and the city has done so much restoration in the past 10 years. Downtown is a treasure trove of architecture and charm. And cobblestones and bare electrical wires strung between buildings.
There is so much to do, see, experience and EAT, especially if you have savvy locals like my sister’s family to scout them out.
We spent 12 days there over Christmas, and we were able to do and see so much in a short time, all with 4 kids 6 years old and under.
Over the next several weeks I promise to INUNDATE you with photos.
And maybe I’ll even stop yelling about it at some point.
But really: PUT ECUADOR ON YOUR BUCKET LIST now.
After breakfast one day, I caught something out of the corner of my eye.
It was the coconut man, headed up the tree with rope and machete in hand.
One by one, he climbed the palms barehanded.
At each tree’s top, he’d tie the rope to the coconut bunch, then skillfully chop and lower the bunch to the ground.
I watched as he climbed tree after tree, harvesting coconuts.
And then he spotted me. And a little showing off was in order.
That coconut man has some serious ab strength.
I had one morning to walk on the beach by myself and shoot. Right away, this sweet young lady approached and asked if she could model for me.
This new theme is making my photos wonky. Please click through to see the proper dimensions as I attempt to fix it.
I had just wanted to shoot the fishermen and the boats on the wide, reflective flats of the low tide, but I couldn’t say no to her offer, especially since she basically planted herself in front of me and started wrapping and unwrapping her blanket.
Her friend got in on some of the action, too.
I was feeling self-conscious out there alone with my big, expensive camera, but if you don’t go out, you don’t get the pictures.
So I shot my friends, and I watched the fisherman wait for low tide.
We visited in the middle of a terrible drought.
Every day we checked the skies for slivers of white cloud, but there was none.
Dusty billows spat from the wheels of our vehicle.
A yellow-brown coating covered the green bush on either side of the roads.
We hoped for rain; they were anxiously desperate for it.
Crops were withering on their stalks; months, years of preparation wasted, and potential starvation facing every family.
The Somali herders walked hundreds of miles with their herds, anxiously searching green bits to feed their charges.
Hope seems far away.
But as they’ve done for centuries, the people survive.
They survive, make do.
A dry and weary land in need of water.