Monday, August 15, 2011

Bienvenidos a Ecuador!

As you all well know by now I love to travel, but sometimes I look at the schedules I make for myself and think why did I do that? This summer I spent 3 weeks in Rwanda and Uganda, had 3 weeks at home in New York, then had 3 weeks in Ecuador. When I planned it I thought it would be no problem and was excited to be adding so many new places to my life list. However, the night before I left for Ecuador (still recovering from a sinus infection that was causing horrible migraines) I was online looking up stories from the Amazon and thinking oh dear god why am I doing this? I always do that the night before I somewhere new. I read horror stories about kidnapping, hostages, snakes, and spiders and I start to angst. The angst becomes worry and then worry becomes doubt and then I have to keep from having an all out panic attack. It doesn’t matter how many places I’ve been or how many stories I’ve been told I always worry the night before I leave and it never stops me from leaving the next morning. I think fear is a really great emotion for travelers to have. Fear makes us cautious. It makes us smart and it makes us prepared. Fear should never get in your way of going somewhere you dream of going, but it should make you prepare for your journey so you can make smart decisions and take care of yourself. As always, by the time the plane touched the tarmac in Quito my fear had dissipated and was replaced with excitement. Two days later as I laid on my back in the bottom of a canoe in the middle of the Amazon pointing my 500mm lens towards a howler monkey directly above my head I felt right at home photographing in the wild where I belong. (Although that wonderful feeling didn’t stop me from screaming like a baby when a scorpion jumped out at me from behind a light switch in my room a couple days later).

Ecuador was an amazing trip and there was so much to see. I spent 8 days tracking Giant River Otters in the Amazon at Yasuni National Park and then 2 weeks photographing in the Galapagos. I didn’t get to spend any time in the cities of Ecuador except for a morning in Guayaquil (that I was not impressed with) so I can’t speak much about Ecuador other than its natural areas. Ecuador has amazing biodiversity with a large section of the Amazon in its boundaries, a beautiful part of the Andes Mountains and of course the Galapagos are considered one of the most pristine natural places on earth today. However, the Ecuadorian government is extremely corrupt and its natural landscapes are in jeopardy. In the following posts about the Amazon and the Galapagos I will try and touch on some of the key issues threatening the two areas and as always I will give some tips on how to be a responsible tourist when traveling there.

Here’s a little sneak peak of what you’ll be seeing here for the next month so be sure to check back often for lots more photos and stories from Ecuador!



mina said...

These are stunning. I regret that we mostly carried around our point and shoot when we were in the Galapagos/Guayaquil. I'm really looking forward to the rest of your posts.

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