Last month we finally made our way down to the hamlet of Mindo. Mindo is known for being a quaint little get-away, close to Quito, with the above said birdwatching galore. To here birdwatchers tell it, I couldn't wait to find ostriches wandering the streets, parrots streaking though restaurants, and hummingbirds sipping at my white russians. However, though the birds would be a nice icing on the cake, Erin and I were primarily drawn to Mindo for a wedding celebration of two fellow teachers, Daniel and Tanya. We had a a day off on Friday, and so we made a two night stay of it.
A teacher at school and his wife own the newest hostel in town, The Hummingbird; but the wedding celebration brought quite the crew of teachers out to his hostel so we found ourselves at the equally nice Caskaffesu.
Arriving on Friday, we found, of course, rain. That's been the soup du jour lately, but it feels kind of appropriate in a cloud/rain forest. After the rain passed, Erin and I decided to venture out and find the birds. Strangely, there were none at the hostel...even though it was named The Hummingbird. We found a nice trail behind the hostel, and we walked it's length, taking in flowers, dogs, a river, kids playing, but no birds. Damn, you must need to get up earlier for those things...that's what the pros say, anyway. We made plans for a 5Am wake up the following morning. Hey, if that's what you have to do to see flocks of Eagles and Macaws, so be it.
The next morning came plenty early, but to see the sky blackened by the wings of 1000's of colored birds was going to be worth it. We walked through the sleeping village, and towards some waterfalls that would supplement the experience of a parrot landing on my shoulder. We walked. And walked. We passed two professional birders, noting their binoculars. We walked. We stopped and ate our breakfast. We walked. We looked at trees through squinted eyes. We walked. We found a dog who followed us up the road and named him Pancho. We asked him where the birds were. He had no answer. We listened, we looked, we walked. Finally, we arrived at the entrance to the waterfalls...and their they were, soaring across the jungle, six parrots. They were...oh, how can you put it into words, well, they were six green birds flying in the air.
But hey, we saw them, and that was good enough.
I'm pretty sure there are some amazing birds in this photo, really spectacular.
Yes, that thing has a gear shifter, gas pedal, clutch, brake; and yes, I mentioned to him that Toyota was a better motor. He agreed as I nervously boarded the car. Anyway, Erin and I had a calming ride across (the car goes surprisingly fast, he definitely shifted into another gear when we were in the middle of the ravine), and we had a good time wandering around looking at the waterfalls and playing Tarzan in, not of, the jungle.
Having had all the bird watching, vine swinging, and waterfall excitement one can handle in a day, we hitched a ride back to Mindo in time for the wedding celebration. Of course, it rained, but Todd and his wife have a beautiful hostel, the white russians were flowing, we found gnnochi for lunch, and a raucous game of frisbee was being introduced to the town kids, who truly do play in the street. Tanya and Daniel treated us all to a great dinner, and we partied into the evening, somehow waking up at 6:30 for the bus ride home.