Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?


Photo housecleaning... just got this exclusive picture of me and the Ecuadorian Minister of Tourism (Basically a cabinet member) here in Zaruma during her visit in December. That big map you see behind her is one of the contributions I made to the i-Tur office I work in and the minister herself is holding up some postcards that the municipio produced using photos that I took. It brings me some warm fuzzy feelings to be in there reading about the pillage and exploitation of this continent and yet still see the office staff (my friends and work counterparts) selling those postcards to raise funds for more tourism promotion or using the map I made for them to point out routes and attractions and various features of the Zaruma area.

Yesterday I acted as guide for a group of 9 journalism students and their teacher on a trip to Cerro de Arcos (That magical mystical mountain locale that I can't seem to get enough of, despite the fact that it's a two hour + ride away). They said that they wanted to go to prepare themselves for making a tourism-minded revista (magazine) about the site. I found the professor that accompanied us was really pretty cool. Besides sharing in the passing of trago (sugarcane alcohol moonshine which we bought in Salvias, a parroquia on the way to the Cerro... hey ya gotta support local industry eh? -pictured above-) sitting on the edge of a 70 foot cliff at the Cerro he asked his students a number of poignant questions about the trip we'd made. How much of our money is staying in the surrounding communities? Who benefits from this trip? Why was the road in El Oro province a complete fiasco deathtrap while the road in Loja province is relatively OK? Etc. I hope they show me a copy of the revista when it's done.

Here we are during our BRIEF stay at the middle of the Arcos formations before hoofing it to beat teh rain back to Zaruma. (We did NOT beat the rain. Since I was the best-equipped of the bunch I swapped the seat inside the cab of the pickup truck they'd offered me and rode in the back with three other guys. It rained. It howled. It rained and howled. It was biblical. It was torrential. It was freeeeeeezing cold. They were wearing jeans, and how could they have known better? One of them did bring a poncho, which was good. I offered up my balaclava, fleece hat, and fleece jacket to others but we were all still wet and cold... if we'd had to spend a night up in that hypothermia would have been a huge concern. Ah well, all in the name of conservation I guess. I sure do love a good adventure!


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