Equator Gringos

November 10, 2007

Hummingbird City

Filed under: Ecuador — Tags: , , , , , , — lstollin @ 6:51 pm

resized-bbvisitbbvisitp1000372.jpgMindo, Ecuador has an interesting feel — one part dirt-road frontier outpost, one one part ecotourism Shangri-la, one part uncontrolled boom-town.  It’s a tiny place about two hours from Quito, but lower enough in altitude that it’s warmer.  It’s in what they call a cloud forest that feels more like a rain forest with bromeliads and vines on every tree and scads of different ferns. We visited Mindo with Joy’s Mom Bettye and step-dad Bob while they were here in October. For a town with just one paved street and dirt side streets, it had tons of new lodging under construction, giving it the feel of a tropical gold-rush town struggling to keep up with its manifest destiny.  Then there are the hummingbirds, waterfalls, orchids and butterflies.


resized-bbvisitbbvisitp1000316.jpgWe stayed in a beautiful place, all wood and bamboo, with a banister made of branches stained dark and shiny, artfully assembled to support the handrail. The town, renowned for being tranquilo, revealed another side on this particular weekend when night fell.  A tiny Colombian circus was in town (under the “medium top”), which sounded quaint and curious as heck, with the best seats costing a whopping two dollars.  Bettye and I were going to go, but we all got lazy and tired after a day of traversing a canyon on a cablecar, and hiking down steep trails to see waterfalls. At bedtime our adjacent rooms divulged the disadvantage of the village emphasis on rustic wood and bamboo construction: we carried on normal conversations through the walls as though we were sharing one room.  The only thing that interfered with our evening conversation was the circus, which though on the other side of town, packed quite a wallop through the hotel walls, competing later with some dance music from a local fund-raising event.  Music and announcers “entertained” us until about 4 AM.

Still, like a rain shower on a camping trip, the previous night’s noise faded to nothing more than a humorous anecdote as we reveled for a second day in the marvelous hummingbirds of Mindo, this time at the Orchid Garden.  It was endlessly impressive to watch dozens of hummingbirds visit the feeders.  Still pictures don’t capture it, so below I’ve included the video Bettye took, which feels way too short every time I see it.resized-bbvisitbbvisitp1000415.jpg

To view a slideshow of Bettye and Bob’s trip, including the Equator Monument, Mindo, and Quito’s folkloric ballet, click here. To view all the sets of photos we’ve put on Flickr, mostly without any description or attribution, check that out at Flickr.


1 Comment »

  1. The more I see you two having fun, the more I want to find excuses to come live there.

    …Except for the latest earthquakes down in Chile.

    God, the places are beautiful. Google Earth doesn’t show ANY of the cloud forest. West of Quito, the entire band of country at those altitudes is all under the darned clouds! I guess they never dissipate.

    Special Request: Gonna need your help setting up WordPress on my own site. Let me know what your experience was when you can write.

    Christ’s Peace to you,


    Comment by DJ — November 16, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

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