November 29, 2012

Movie Review: Intouchables

This is a seriously good movie - Greg and I both couldn't remember the last time we had laughed so hard in a movie theater. And given we were watching the movie in French with Spanish subtitles, that's gotta say a lot!

How we got into a movie in French with Spanish subtitles is another story. We wanted to see the new Bond, but the one in English was all sold out (although the Spanish-dubbed ones weren't sold out *curious*). So we were scrounging around for another movie coming up soon and saw this one. It looked good so we bought our tickets. Just after we sat down in our seats, we started pondering if this French movie would have English or Spanish subtitles. Duh! I don't even know what we were thinking on this one.

But lucky mistake! Now we have a very good reason to see it again... this time in English!

The basic story is about this rich guy who's a quadriplegic and needs a caretaker. A poor French-African guy shows up and ends up getting the job caring for him. The rest is history (actual history since it's based on a true story)... and quite funny. Check out the trailer: 

November 25, 2012

Macro shots of plants at Cotopaxi

You probably are all sick of our macro shots of plants - we just really like getting close and capturing the details. If you're not sick of it yet, check out our other macro picture blog posts: at the Quito Botanical Gardens, in Salinas, and while we were still in Germany

The area around Cotopaxi is really interesting. It's called a paramo or tundra region. Around the waterfall area, the plants were so lush and full. In the plains and valley, it was mostly grassland with a few trees. And this was all within a kilometer of each other.

Lush jungle-like feel
Grass is the first thing to pop up after a wildfire.
Quito and the Andean part of Ecuador had a lot of wildfires in the summer because it was so dry.
Another picture of a plant hit by the wildfires.
It was mostly charred branches with new leaves coming out.
It was a great example of how life rejuvenates itself after a major disaster like a fire.
I really just wanted to have a picture of how HUGE this pinecone was. 
I just liked these orange flowers and their spiky leaves.

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although we are far away this Thanksgiving (and no, this is not a holiday that is celebrated down here), we still feel the love from our family and friends. Thanks for keeping up with our blog over the last 3+ years!

Here's our little list of what we feel thankful for today:
  • Our health and happiness (and that of our family and friends)
  • Our time hanging out with family and friends this summer
  • Our baby niece, Emily Clare, who came into this world on Oct.1
  • Scoots (for being a big source of amusement for us)
  • Our apartment overlooking a volcano and much of Quito
  • Getting to know a new culture
  • Being able to speak Spanish every day
  • Quimbolitos, a delicious Ecuadorian dessert
  • Parque Metropolitano, the huge park we live at the base of
  • Our ability to take daytrips and long weekends away at some pretty awesome places 
We're going to a Thanksgiving potluck tonight with some friends of ours. It'll be interesting to see what everyone makes because you can't always find American goods here. For example, cranberries probably won't make an appearance, but for the meat eaters, there'll definitely be a turkey. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

November 20, 2012

What a cute couple!

I feel like on recent trips we hadn't gotten any cute couple pictures. But that all changed with Cotopaxi - we got quite a few (as well as other great pictures).

Although we basically wore the same clothes all weekend, these photos were taken at different times, I swear! And I managed to shower every day so for those of you thinking that we probably stank to high heavens, I can tell you certifiably that I did not... I can't speak for Greg who counted chilling in the jacuzzi as a shower. The jury's still out on that one.

So for your enjoyment, here are a few photos from the weekend:

Us at the waterfalls
Cotopaxi looks tiny compared to us giants!
I was so tired of trying to get a good picture of us at that point - leaning was the best I could do.
It's hard to not get a good picture with that mountain in the backdrop.

November 15, 2012

Not so wild animals at Cotopaxi

In my previous blog post, I talked about our weekend in Cotopaxi. I've got a few more posts to share with you all about it. But this one is a special one to me because the animals at The Secret Garden hostel were very cool.
llama on the move
We literally had two llamas and a horse feeding outside our cabin door every day. The horse and I had a silent communication one day on my way back from breakfast. I gave him a little pet, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't interested in getting petted. He wanted something to nibble on. 
beautiful horses (their heads are so big)
The llamas were the coolest - they kept an eye on the dogs because the wiener dog, Mash, liked to bite their ankles, and the spotted dog, Milo, liked to run at them at high speeds, barking wildly. 

Greg and the llamas watching the dogs
Greg and Mash, who loved to climb up on our laps
whenever we took a break on our hike.
The hostel grounds themselves were huge and allowed for having lots of dogs and animals running around. The hostel was set about 3 km back from the road without any other buildings nearby so I'm guessing all the land around it is theirs. You can see the "driveway" in the picture below. It made for a bumpy ride driving in, but it was totally worth it.
can you spot the dog?
pun intended (he's a dalmatian)
One day we walked along this road with two of the dogs. Greg and I wouldn't do all the activities the other travelers would do, like horseback riding or climbing up mountains, so we walked around the area a lot and always had furry hiking companions.

The dogs loved to follow us. Greg was scared they'd follow us on to the main road on our first walk around, but really the main road was mostly empty so he stopped worrying about them. We were both surprised how far Mash, the dachshund, could walk. He had so much energy and didn't whine to turn back at all. He also could do some pretty high jumping for a thing his size, which made me feel like I had to keep up with him. :-)
Mash taking a break on my lap before breakfast

November 13, 2012

Cotopaxi: The Sleeping Volcano

At the start of this academic year, Greg and I made a list of places we wanted to travel to in the year we had left in Ecuador. Cotopaxi made the list. It was really spectacular to see a volcano so huge (the second highest summit in Quito), but yet one that people climb all the time. In fact, Greg's cousin Sara climbed it when she was here. And we have a few other friends who've also climbed it.

The nice thing about the area is that it's not just one volcano - there's a whole bunch of them there surrounding the valley we were in. Even when Cotopaxi was covered in clouds, the rest of the scenery was really beautiful to look at. I'll write more about our trip in another couple blog posts.

This is my favorite pic of Cotopaxi.
We had an AMAZING sunset on the last night.

November 8, 2012

My Facebook Page

A few of you may know that I've started posting my crocheted creations and yoga bags (as well as other awesome things) on my Facebook page ( I've decided I'm going to be posting all my designs on to the page rather than the photo album that I've been posting them to before. So everything I make will be posted on this page for people to see.

If you haven't seen my crochet designs or yoga mat bags before, here they are:

So if you want to keep seeing my designs and fun creations, I'd love it if you liked my page (just click the Like button below!):

Right now I'm only selling in Quito because shipping is not a feasible option out of Quito, but in the future, my designs may just get to the US, Europe and beyond! I'll let you all know when that happens.

November 6, 2012

Halloween in Quito

Our Halloween this year was a lot more fun than it's been in the past - we actually had trick or treaters! You may remember our Halloween on the island of Lindau in Germany was also eventful.

This year we went to a Halloween party on the Saturday night before and everyone put a lot of work into their costumes. We didn't bring our camera that night, but you'll have to trust me that there was a half an Ecuadorian Olympic swimming team (complete with Speedos and swim caps); a Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky (who you may remember were intimately involved); a table of spaghetti and meatballs and the chef who made it (these two won the prize of best costume); Tony the Tiger and Chester the Cheetos cheetah (the hosts for the night); a set of troll dolls; an owl; a Black swan and a White swan (from the movie The Black Swan); Zohan (played by an Israeli guy); several made-up superheros; a banjo player; 2 binders full of women (thank you Mittens for that!); and Greg as Arthur Dent from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and myself as a black cat or a panther or a jaguar depending on my mood at the moment. There were more, but these were the ones that really stuck out

Then, on the actual day of Halloween, we had trick or treaters! There were maybe 10 or 12 of them and Greg got a few photos. Our favorites were our friends who dressed their little girl as a zebra, our friend came along as a tiger, and they were the zoo keepers. Very cute!

Frida and a ghost