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Jan '14

2 years on…The 2nd tier series

A few weeks ago, Aaron and I spent some time reminiscing about our 2012 trip. We looked through our photo book and smiled as we remembered so many good times: Volunteering with the kids in Ecuador and Colombia, Climbing two 15,000+ mountains (and Aaron climbing Cotopaxi at over 19,300 feet), Aaron jumping off a bridge and many other priceless memories

Aaron takes the plunge

Aaron takes the plunge

But, as we continued to talk about it, we started remembering so many other stories that never made it into the photo book and that were on the verge of escaping our memory. With such a long trip, it was easy for stories to get lost in the midst of our travels and for us to begin to take extraordinary events for granted just because they became commonplace.

So, I thought that as it has been 2 years today since we started the journey that led to so many memories,  we would share some of these 2nd tier stories:

What’s that on your bag??…oh….uh…ewwww

Enjoying ice cream and leg room

Enjoying ice cream and leg room

On one of our many bus rides, we had finally gotten over our gringo fear of putting our luggage below the bus and were enjoying a comfortable bus ride with plenty of leg room. As we ended our journey, we stood anxiously outside the bus to receive our luggage:  the bottom doors opened, but rather than our luggage staring us in the face, we were greeted by at least 2 dozen chickens, running wild through the storage area. We had seen these chickens placed under the bus at one of the many stops along the way, but at the time, they were all in cages. Somehow, during the rest of the ride, they had found a way out of the cages and were free, pecking for bugs through all of our luggage.

At first, this was just a rather comical image for the two of us, but it quickly turned to something quite different as the smell hit our nostrils. For anyone who has never experienced the scent of fresh chicken poop, count your blessings. As we tried to cover our mouth and nose to grab our luggage, we knew this would be an expensive laundry trip as we would have to wash all our clothes and even then, it took a few days for the smell to leave our luggage.

..but, I guess it could have been worse :)

..but, I guess it could have been worse 🙂

Frog Concert

DonkeyballMy mom is known for her ability to find the most unique events, sites and activities wherever she goes. Just last week, she was reminding my sister about the Donkey basketball game she needed to go to in Minot, ND (seriously, check it out: http://www.dairylanddonkeyball.com/basketball/index.html)

This reminded me of another gem of an adventure that my mom found for us while she was visiting us in Ecuador: The Frog Concert. We were in Mindo at the time, a quaint little town known for its spectacular bird watching—Can you spot the toucan in this tree? …neither could we…

Do you see it?

One night, my mom had heard about this “Frog concert” but as is typical in Ecuador, the details were sketchy. We knew roughly where it was so off we set in search of the frogs.

Waiting for the show to begin

Waiting for the show to begin

A 45 minute walk later, we arrived at the Frog’s home and were greeted with a small communion size glass of wine with which to enjoy the start of the concert. We sat with another couple from our hostel and all were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the frogs. I wondered if they would have suits like the WB frog.

Frog concert

In the pond beneath our platform, we heard the frogs warming up. Or so we thought.

Turns out, after a brief explanation from our tour guide, that the frogs we heard in the pond were actually our concert.

Ok, we walked 45 minutes to listen some frogs croak in a pond?! The creek in our backyard in Lewisville provided this serenade every night (and kept me up many for many of them, I might add).

Just as we were about to be disappointed, the tour guide directed us to the path alongside the pond and for the next 30 minutes, we went on a scavenger hunt for frogs. It was pitch black (except for the guide’s flashlight), muddy and an absolute riot. Trying to keep up with the guide’s fast pace, and pretending to translate the guide’s information to my mom (“I think she said that this frog is able to jump over tall buildings”) led to a few fits of laughter that kept us smiling the entire walk home again. Just another day in Ecuador.


Drive-by’s – Colombia style

A Minca "colectivo"

A Minca “colectivo”

We spent a lot of our time finding and riding in all sorts of different modes of transportation while on our travels. Volunteering in Minca (a very small mountain town on the Colombian coast) led to some of the most comical experiences we had. Most of the colectivos (privately owned taxis) looked as though they were hand-picked from the junk yard and ran about as well. We were consistently amazed every time we made it up or down the mountain without the car breaking down.

So, we were not really surprised when we were travelling with our Minca family one day to be in an old Ford Bronco that had a nasty habit of backfiring loudly every 10-15 seconds. As we were heading down the mountain, it wasn’t really a big deal, but as we got into the big city, the people around us seemed rather concerned about the loud noises emanating from our car. Our driver, noticing this, came up with a rather “creative” solution: He reaches into the console and pulls out a toy hand-gun and hands it to the Dad, Vladimir, sitting in the front seat. Every time the car backfires, Vladi holds the gun out the window and pretends to shoot it in the air. Being the Americans that we are, quite aware of the violence that has plagued Colombia, we wondered to ourselves in the backseat whether pretending to shoot a gun in the air was going to have some negative consequences. But, eventually, the fits of laughter overtook us as well, and with the music cranked up, we backfired our way to our destination safely.

Thanks for joining in our reminiscing—We’re busy making a whole new set of memories here in Colorado and will share an update on all that we’re doing here soon.


4 comments to “2 years on…The 2nd tier series”

  1. Margaret Hair Says:

    I just love reading about your wonderful adventures.

  2. Greg Says:

    Enjoyed your reminiscing Abbey. Keep up the good writing.

  3. Shelley Says:

    I just love to read about your adventures, Abby! I can ‘hear’ you talking and joking as I read.

  4. Elaine & Wayne Says:

    We loved these memories with great pictures. What a wonderful, full life you are leading–continue to have fun! Yours, Elaine and Wayne

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