Time to say goodbye…for now.

I’m sad to say that I’m writing from the Quito airport lounge. My trip to Ecuador was short but sweet. I accomplished just about everything I had set out to do. I have made new friends, stood at the middle of the earth and climbed mountains. I have given gifts to an orphanage and helped a homeless man find hope. I leave with a sense of accomplishment, but at the same time I feel a sense of sadness. I feel for the nuns and their struggle against the local government. I feel for the homeless and their struggle to stay alive. I feel for the children who live everyday wondering what might have been different in their lives if they had parents.

I vow to return to Ecuador in the future. I want to help more. I want to see more. It is a beautiful place filled with beautiful food, culture and people. I have more to discover.

On my last morning in Quito, I took the TeleferiQo, a multimillion dollar gondola system up the slopes of Rucu Pinchincha volcano. The weather was less than ideal, but it still offered a unique experience. The clouds raced over the grass covered slopes and gave the sensation of being on another planet. Visibility at times was reduced to less than 20 feet or so, and had I continued to walk at those moments I would surely have gotten lost. For lunch, I met up with my new and dear friend Lenin, who brought with him two of his coworkers, Elena and Marie Antoinette (yes, that’s her name!) A tour of the National Museum filled my afternoon and my evening closed with local cuisine (including a couple of Ecuador’s finest cerveza) and a chance encounter with a local dance performance with dancers in beautiful costumes. It was a nice surprise.

    

    

Into the abyss. Hiking the side of a volcano at 13,186 feet. A church in the beautiful valley of Cruz Loma.

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