A visitor

Casa Kadam

Hammock on the porch of Casa del Mundo






Papo & Sana's Story
Landing in Quito, Caressing the Heavens,
Thursday, 31 May 2012 06:35

 

There was some hitch with the connector flight out of Panama and we were put up in a luxury hotel in Panama City for the night. There we basked in the sun and drank in the luxury food & services, like a young prince and princess. An unexpected treat following weeks of hard work at the Park Hotel in Puerto Limon, living on a shoe string.

In the duty free airport we purchased a large bottle of Courvoisier cognac to bring as a gift to Sarah & Fausto who had absolutely no idea of our imminent arrival.

Landing in Quito was dreamlike. It felt as though we could touch the heavens.

In 1980, decades before cell phones hit the scene in Latin America, communication between travelers in South America was minimal. We had somehow gotten word that Sarah, Fausto and their 3 year old, Fidel, were living in a remote Andean village called La Esperanza.

We made our way there, in awe of the strong and melodious Quichuan accent of the Spanish spoken in Ecuador. When we arrived in the tiny village valley cradled by breathtaking mountains all around, at 11,000 feet we chanced upon some indians with delicious foods spread out for sale on their grass mats, including yoghurt and various potatoe & corn dishes. After satisfying our hunger with strange and delightful new tastes we were pointed in the direction of the dirt road leading to the cottage where Sarah (now pregnant with her 2nd child), Fausto and Fidelito resided.

When the dream of our meeting again, this time instead of the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, the high high Andean mountains of Ecuador, slowly unfolded as reality, we opened the bottle of cognac to celebrate.

On into the night with story and song we communed in the extraordinary high of our joy & youth.

 
Near Death on the day of John Lennon's Death
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 06:54

Following the long night of celebration, awakening in the dream-like high Andes, although breathtaking, was not without its pay back. Besides the predictable acute head aches and nausea that inevitably follow such a night of indulgence, it became increasingly evident that Papo was ill with something serious. His body starting going into convulsions. He was experiencing extreme bodily cold, then breaking out in profuse sweats. Papo's hysterical bursts of laughter followed by sobs and cries were disturbing to say the least.

There we were, in that isolated Andean valley with no vehicle or contact with anyone other than a few local, distrustful-of-those-not-a-part-of-their-tribe indigenous peoples whose language was not Spanish.

But Fausto, in his masterful way to make connections with people, to make strangers instantly feel at ease with him, was able to locate someone with a vehicle and get us transported to a Catholic hospital in the town of Ibarra.

There in a lovely, tranquil environment, the soft-spoken nuns, in their white habits, rustling here & there through the courtyard planted with flowers, saved Papo's life, and saved our lives from tragedy.

 

 
Crystal Journey from Guayaquil to Otavalo
Monday, 11 June 2012 05:43

When Papo was fully recovered it was time to come up with a plan to earn money.

Read more...
 
From Guayaquil to Esmeraldas
Sunday, 05 January 2014 05:13

 

From Guayaquil, Sarah (now with child), Fausto, 2 year old Fidel, Papo & I began our trek north.

Because of the many turquoise sea memories of the Caribbean, my mind always envisions alluring beaches when the thought of any ocean comes to mind.

When we made it to the shore, a dark, turbulent, ocean appeared before us.  forboding and massive waves filled with debris crashed along the rocky shores. A contrast to the gentle, romantic Caribbean beaches of our past.

The darkness & turbulence of that Ecuadorian Pacific ocean would set the tone for that unforgettable coastal journey.

Besides occasional old buses, the main source of transport were old pick-up trucks.  We would be crowded into the bed of the truck with families & chickens, all faces covered tightly with handkerchiefs in an attempt to protect the eyes & nose from the incessant dust.  Not simply dust, this fine dirt also carries parasites that enter the body through the respiratory system.

It was like some journey through the wild wild west.  The year, 1980. Poverty struck coastal towns with minimal drinking water.  We were the first white faces ever be seen in many of those towns.  People would stare at us with blank expressions. Malnutrition was apparent. Mangy, starving dogs and cats would roam the dusty mule trails.

At times, the only way to travel from town to town along the coast was at low tide, when the pick-up trucks could scoot along the rocky sands and make it to the next village before high tide.

The discomfort we experienced now was minimal compared to the trauma of Fideltio’s accident marking the next phase of this trek.

 

 
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