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Trip to Ecuador: October 4th to November 15th, 2013

Last October and part of November were very special months spent in my native Ecuador, visiting family and friends, and sharing a legacy left by my father who was a writer, a poet and a historian. I brought with me copies I had made for the family, of two of his books, “Historia de la Aviación Ecuatoriana” (A History of Ecuadorian Aviation), published in 1943, which includes an opening poem titled Celos de cóndor (A Condor’s Jealousy); and the second book, a novel, which he published in 1949 titled “Los delincuentes” (The Crooks). I had a copy with a few handwritten annotations made by my father; unfortunately, he died and his novel was never updated with his notes. So, I decided to re-print the book incorporating his notes and had a few copies made for the family. This was my tribute to the family and the memory of my father, upon my return to Ecuador, after seven years of absence.

During our six-week stay, my wife Clemy and I, as active members and officers of a not-for-profit organization called Ecuadorian Volunteers Association (EVA) of Chicago, came to Ecuador with the mission to deliver much needed funds to the sixteen (16) organizations that we have been supporting for the past twenty years. It was a reassuring experience to see the many things the organizations are doing to protect and serve the most vulnerable segments of the population, with programs related to education, health, social services and even musical instruction for the underprivileged.

The most amazing part of our trip was to rediscover the natural beauty of Ecuador. Its snow caped volcanoes that flank Quito, the capital: Cotopaxi, Cotacachi, Iliniza, Corazón. These are giants that seem to guard the valleys. Wherever we went to Quito, it was impressive to see the houses and condominium buildings inching their way towards the top of the Pichincha volcano, at whose feet, the noble city of Quito dozes off at night, amidst vivid colors of a picturesque sunset..

And, of course, I sang at a dinner where my audience was made up of generals and high ranking officers of the Armed Forces of Ecuador, attending the October 9th parade in Guayaquil, celebrating its Anniversary of Independence. My wife and I were guests of my nephew who himself is the Commanding General of the Ecuadorian Army.

From the touristic perspective, we also had some rather unusual experiences. When my cousins took us to the Cotopaxi volcano, with its now-caped summit and conic shape, as we reached a cold plateau of the first “descanso”, before escalating to the perpetual snows, we found a frozen bull, lying in the lonely and frigid field. Another unusual sight occurred when we went to the “Oriente”, the eastern part of the country, beyond the city of Puyo, we saw a giant Hunting Wasp, as it is called in the area, almost as large as my hand, dragging an immobilized tarantula to its lair.

Ecuador is rich in traditions and customs, and the various regions of the country enjoy a diverse, interesting and tasteful cuisine that deserves to be discovered and enjoyed.

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