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Fw: Winter Travels

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  • Brenda Wright
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3 8:37 AM
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      --- On Fri, 4/3/09, Brenda Wright <coenbrenda@...> wrote:

      > From: Brenda Wright <coenbrenda@...>
      > Subject: Winter Travels
      > To: coenbrenda@...
      > Date: Friday, April 3, 2009, 9:24 AM
      > We are back from our winter migration. We enjoyed our trip
      > to Panama and Ecuador traveling in a variety of ways. The
      > first part of the trip(Panama) we rented cars and took one
      > short flight. Once in Ecuador we went without a car and
      > arranged for transportation to various lodges. For eight
      > days we hired a local bird guide from Quito. The last part
      > of the trip we were on a birding tour to see the special
      > birds of Southern Ecuador. Both countries use the US dollar
      > and both can be traveled on your own using rental cars.
      > There are pros and cons to being on your own and going with
      > guides or tours. We really like being on our own schedule
      > and having the freedom to go where we want when we want. The
      > stress comes in when trying to find the best places to go
      > and navigating through big cities with one way streets and
      > unsigned roads. All of Ecuador's major highways are
      > currently being improved, there are many one lane areas and
      > lots of construction delays. Ecuador in the last 3 years has
      > had wetter then usual conditions. While we were there two
      > huge mudslides closed to major highways out of Quito. The
      > last lodge we stayed at near Quito had us dropped at one
      > side of a mudslide and picked up on the other side. To avoid
      > a 3 hour drive around another way we carried our stuff
      > across through the mud. We are glad we didn't have the
      > headaches of driving in Ecuador this trip. When traveling
      > with a local guide you are taken to the very best spots for
      > birds and get extra tidbits about the
      > country. Being with a local person gives you a better idea
      > of the country and culture.
      > While in both countries we stayed in small comfortable
      > lodges. Many were in remote locations(that's where the
      > birds are). Very few had computers or internet access. Only
      > one was without electricity. All were clean and simple. Most
      > had excellent staff and prepared wonderful meals even though
      > many times we were the only guests. We are already missing
      > the fresh tropical fruit juices and especially the white
      > pineapple!
      > The last 19 days of our trip we visited southern Ecuador
      > beginning and ending in Guayaquil. We chose to go with a
      > birding company because of the the very special birds and
      > habitats we could see. This part of the trip was in many
      > ways the most difficult and most rewarding. Breakfast was
      > 4:30a.m. most mornings and we experienced temperatures and
      > humidity in the extremes.
      > Next we will introduce you to some of the specialties that
      > we encountered!!
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