Posted by in Misc | June 19, 2012
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Erika working hard!!!

Wedding in Cocotog

Posted by in Events, Typical Ecuador | June 04, 2012
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IMG_0025Creative drivingA Dusty Road in CocotogThe Party TentGreg's first bowl of ChichaA Platter of DeliciousHow PoliteOur HostChicken!Let's DanceSharing
New FriendsVictor and his daughter
Giant BeersExhaustionChichaSecond Course

Wedding in Cocotog, a set on Flickr.

Here is the photo journal of the weekend of festivities in Cocotog, Ecuador. Many thanks to the newlyweds, Jimmy and Lorena for including us in their special weekend and to the community for the warm welcome, great company, good times and amazing food! We hope to see you again soon!

A wedding in Cocotog, Ecuador

Posted by in Events, Typical Ecuador | June 03, 2012
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Within our first week here, Greg and I met up with an old  friend of his, Victor, who G hadn’t seen in 6 years. After about 2 minutes of catching up, Victor extended an invitation to a weekend-long wedding extravaganza in his small community of Cocotog, just north of Quito in the country or “El Campo” as folks around here call the more remote areas. Victor not only invited us into his community but also offered to host us overnight in his home to hang out with his family. Amazing. Of course we accepted and I looked forward to getting out of the city for the first time and meeting a different group of locals.

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Getting There

Posted by in Misc | May 21, 2012
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Our two week journey towards the equator has finally come to an end although our adventures here are just beginning!

We are so grateful for all of the folks that encouraged and supported us along the way. We left Asheville and its delicious beer behind, crammed the Civic full of our supplies for the next few months and headed towards FL. First stop, Will Rd in Monticello. We used our time to unpack, repack, weigh our luggage and pack again…ate fresh veggies from the garden…had giant slices of pizza with most of my family…slept like rocks in a nice, clean, cool house…and soaked up as much time with my family as we could.


Saturday, my sister Jessi drove us down to Gainesville where Greg’s pal Stewart took over. With the weight of our luggage, his car sagged about 6″ but we made it to Sarasota nonetheless. When we arrived, platters of spinach balls, “crab cracker wedgies”, and deviled eggs awaited us! Greg’s folks welcomed us with open arms and we hung around listening to the boys talk politics and ate even more until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. On mother’s day, Gail cooked us up some more amazing meals although she should have been the one being catered to! The rest of our week in Venice Beach was spent gathering sharks teeth on the beach, taking care of last minute chores and catching up on sleep. Gail dedicated an entire day to running errands with me and we found the perfect suitcase, bought a new digital camera and visited the post office to send off our LLC paperwork. We’re soon to be official!

Thursday, May 17, 2012 we hopped in our rental car at 8am and headed towards MIA. We said goodbye to the flatlands of Alligator Alley, guardrails, hearing predominantly English on the radio, and being able to easily change a $20 bill. We made it to MIA with no issues and after dragging our luggage for what seemed like miles, we arrived in the terminal. After dropping 100lbs of crap each, we floated through security and had one last meal before boarding.


I have to say, LAN airlines is incredible! Our seats weren’t only comfortable but we also had a package containing a pillow and soft blanket awaiting us upon arrival. We each had our own TV screen with tons of movies, shows and games to choose from, free headphones and a hot meal…WITH a complimentary glass of wine!  Four short hours later, we started our descent into Quito. After the captain turned off all personal entertainment stations, they played beautiful, soothing music over the speakers and I don’t think any of the passengers said a word as we floated down above a valley full of lights. Quito airport is smack dab in the middle of the city so as we got closer, it looked like we were going to land right on top of the houses below! What a beautiful introduction to this giant city in the Andes!



Once we got off the plane, forget the soothing music and gentle descent! We found ourselves in a chaotic mass of people shoving for their luggage and rushing towards customs. Thank goodness for Greg! He was in charge of snagging our weighty luggage from the belt and all I had to do was guard it (although I don’t think anyone could have quickly absconded with our bags as they weighed almost as much as me!). In customs, we were chosen to have our luggage re-examined (lucky us ;p) but luckily the process didn’t take too long and before we knew it, there was Edu greeting us with a “Mr Markowski” sign and a corn cob wearing the Ecuadorian flag as a shawl. Hilarious. After a bit of shuffling, the boys had the luggage tucked away and off we went to Edu’s! My first impression of the city was that it looked dark, threatening and a bit grimey but G wisely said to hold judgement until I could see it in the daylight (I’m glad I did but more about that later!).

Edu’s aparment is on the 7th floor of an 8-story building and the views are incredible! I could see the city lights climbing the volcano and then pure darkness beyond. Edu fed us, helped us settle in and we all passed out quickly with the sounds of the city droning on below us.

We have arrived!

Shawarama Kalib!!

Posted by in Misc | May 18, 2012
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Today began as a real disappointment. I have been dreaming of cold cooked shrimp soup for months now and instead I had to desayunar on some scrambled up junk and juice that Nicole made. That being no matter we ran around the city searching for places to free our U.S. bought cell phones from their corporate masters. No luck as of yet but I’m sure this catching Quiteño will do the trick, this guy is dying to fix your cell phone for Porta.

We did get a chance to go to the Old Town area and see the rather fetching Matt Mitchell and his baby and bride this afternoon. Although Matt didn’t offer me a beer, he did tip me off to a group of nurses that are to be staying at his place, Hostel Revolution this week. Unfortunately when I apprised her of the situation Nicole gave me this nasty look.

We did end the day with some delicious Shawarma Kalib. mmmmmm Kalib that guy can make some gut wrenching (sp?) fair.

Family Time

Posted by in Uncategorized | May 11, 2012
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photo (2) by AmazonAndesSky
photo (2), a photo by AmazonAndesSky on Flickr.

Last night we hung out at a pizza-place with slices as big as your head and a family whose hearts are even bigger! I don’t know what I’d do without the support, encouragement, words of wisdom and love that this group of folks has given me over the years…especially now! There’s nothing like a room full of family to soothe the pre-travel nerves (and it helps that they liked Greg too!). Thanks to everyone that took time out of their busy schedules to see us off! We hope to see you all down on the Equator soon :) Love you all so much!

Ahhhhh Melinder

Posted by in Uncategorized | May 11, 2012
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Talking about not working yesterday got me thinking about my last day of work one week ago. Anyway, in the spirit of the Tamper (Tampa) accent I enjoyed annoying several of the woman I worked with an appended version of there names, namely Anner and Merlinder. Well ladies and former Cornerstone co-workers in case after a week y’all missed me I have a special treat for you. As promised here is a copy of Melinders specialised greeting, Ahhhhh Melinder. Keep in touch y’all.

Solar Goal Zero Paperwork

Posted by in Uncategorized | May 10, 2012
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I told Todd this morning, “This not working thing is a lot more fun then I remembered it to be.” However, I’m not now finding this to be true. In fact almost immediately after I said that I realised that I had to sift through insurance documents and then legal documents. Actually, this not working is not what I remember it to be at all. I seem to remember a lot more Great Kayak Entries of 2011, and a lot less of this.

Anyway, in order to break up the time between legal junk and insurance junk I went ahead and plugged in my new solar panel toy. Because nothing says out in the woods like a fully charged smart phone. I wanted to test how long it would take to fully charge a droid, in the Florida sun at 12 pm. Answer, 2 hours plus it added some charge to some AA batteries so it may have done the droid even quicker. Anyway, back to paperwork. Ug


Goal Zero by AmazonAndesSky
Goal Zero, a photo by AmazonAndesSky on Flickr.

Morning time

Posted by in Uncategorized | May 10, 2012
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Morning time by AmazonAndesSky
Morning time, a photo by AmazonAndesSky on Flickr.

In a week Nicole and I will be back in Quito. For all the things I love about it, I’m not looking forward to the coffee.

Nicole….working hard

Posted by in Uncategorized | May 09, 2012
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