Sunday, November 29, 2009


The Mariott's "public" playground lobby

Trashing the Marriot

Hmmmm what mischief can I get into now?
CBuilder "Bob" and his carboard play house at home. And learning to share it with Carla.
Ramon was a wee bit scared of this tall dude.

We should have brought our swim suits....nobody would have bothered us.

My cousin Dario.

Went up to Quito on Saturday...watched a parade and then went for lunch at the Marriot. Awesome buffet! Kids chucked food all over, while dad tucked into 6 pcs of pumpkin pie and about as many pcs of apple pie. Ramon loved the fist sized prawns. A trail of "destruction" followed as we toured the hotel....petals pulled from roses, crapping on the carpet, kids crawling on glass tables and toilet paper placed in the wash cloth baskets. Well here you put your TP in the basket beside the toilet, so you don't plug up the fragile plumbing...but at the Marriot...the baskets were for dirty hand/face clothes. Didn't want Ramon to start putting the TP in the toilet and confuse the poor kid, and risk plugging up our home plumbing in the process! And a kid size urinal....we just had too much fun :)
Besides, the place was so empty...I'd like to think that by not cleaning up after ourselves that we keep people employed. I mean why take your tray to the garbage bin in fast food places? Amazing how they've trained the public to do that!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quito half marathon and other bits

Mom just keeps on running....not bad considering she didn't train much, due to kids being sick recently.

These peaches keep growing, as the tree seems to flower continuously. Strange how they grow so close together.
Peach tree monkey.

Parts of the roof in this mall retract.

Nene Mon's little Christmas house...."But it's not cold" he says!

Carla reading upside down...talented kid!
Michelle making an Egyptian mummy in class.

Great run today....2:23 for the 3 of us. 400m DH drop sure helped, b/c I sure suffered on the hills! Carla slept from 3-10km, while Ramon "read" a book. No crying till 19.5km...nothing a strawberry couldn't cure! Mom ran 1:29ish and came in 2nd in her age group...not sure of her overall placing yet. However it was Carla, not mom, who ended up recieving the medal on the podium!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Volcan Pasochoa 4200m

The objective is the peak on the RHS of the photo.

Iliniza sur, norte an Corazon from L to R
The crux...lots of knobby holds

Sinead heading back down.

Antisana to the East...the other side is the Amazon.

Views back down the ridge to the north
Cotopaxi to the left and the objective on the right
Weather moving up and in from the coast (west)
Cotopaxi and Ruminhui clouding in

Pasochoa is only a 45 minute drive from excellent rim walk along the edge of a half blown out crater. Started in a Bamboo forest at 2800m; ended up in the Paramo at 4200m 6 hours later. Fellow collegues Roy, Ewan and Sinead decided they had had enough when we reached the steep bit about 300m below the summit. Sinead gave it a go and then downclimbed it after realizing the summit was still about 45 minutes away. So I hooked up with 3 people from the Catholic University hiking club and ended up doing a traverse of the crater rim with them. The summit turned out to be a false one; the true one being another 30mins away. Awesome views of all the peaks...El nino has made for very dry and clear conditions...very rare to have so much blue sky! However, things do change rapidly in the Andes and only a half hour down from the summit we had light hail which changed to rain and haild further down. One tractor, one pickup and 3 buses later and I was home by 7pm. Great acclimatization peak for Cotopaxi Dec 5-6.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bits and bobs and bonfire night

Last Wednesday, Maria said to me, “I just remembered that it was our anniversary yesterday.” least we BOTH forgot, so one can’t blame the other. I guess that’s to be expected, 13 years and 2 kids later!

Lately we’ve really felt that we are living out in the country, as we had no power or water on Friday morning. Due to El Nino, the main hydroelectric reservoir is too low to produce the required electric power to meet the country’s needs. Therefore, without any warning, the gov’t decided to implement rotating blackouts....4 hours per day, with varying hours.

Dollarization: Feels very strange to be spending USD everywhere....this is a soveriegn nation afterall! The pres just kicked the yanks out of the airbase they had on the coast, stating that he would be happy to renew the lease, if Ecuador could open a military base in the states. Sounds logical to why keep the USD?

Celebrated bonfire night at the school yesterday evening. Kinda like a halloween that the pres has banned in this country. Kids had some great costumes. I used the same outfit...neo-punk/vegas poolside look....I wore for Gord's new years eve run in 1996. I won the prize for best costume then and won again last night! Dinner for two at the JW Marriot up in Quito. That should help to make up for the missed anniversary!!