Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Thursday, 9 December 2010

{Quito for Christmas}

Yes, indeed, I am headed to the centre of the world to celebrate Christmas!
On 24 October 2010 a smashing little man was introduced into this world in Quito, Ecuador--Juan de Dios Almeida Clark. With a name like that you know he is destined for great things. He is my third nephew, and falls seventh in the long line of my nieces & nephews born to my four sisters. So, not only am I going to visit my sister, her husband, & their daughter, but I am also being introduced to this great little man!
Since my sister is involved with the new airport that is a Canadian-funded project, I will receive special treatment at the airport upon my arrival...and a few days later we will be attending a Christmas party at the ambassador's house. It all sounds very ooh-la-la.
The last time I was in Ecuador, was for her splendid wedding in 2006.
{my photo of my sister, Esther and her husband, Juan on their wedding day, plaza of San Francisco, Quito}
Ecuador is becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination with the Galapagos, and Quito is often a landing point for tourists making their way to the coast. We sailed to the Galapagos when I was 13 aboard Pacific Swift, when my Dad was Captain (if you check out the link to Swift-my Mum, Margaret Clark is the figurehead). But 2006 was the first time I had been to the capital.
Esther and Juan got married in a beautiful Baroque chapel, and their reception was in the adjoining monastery of San Francisco. We drank cocktails and munched on canapes in a frescoed hall, that I would guess, dated to the late Renaissance/Early Baroque period.

{Esther & Juan in the cloister of San Francisco (with my nephew Sabo (Julia's son)}

{the sisters at Esther's wedding}
As you can imagine, I'm eager to explore the country again...and hopefully to take in some great art historical sites and sights. I am looking forward to going to my niece's Christmas recital, singing carols with my sister, decorating the Christmas tree, and visiting Quito and the environs.
My sister is the closest in age to me--she's the fourth and I'm the fifth. As kids we were super close (& we still are).

{Esther always looked out for me. My Mum, me (the baby) and Esther, at my Grandparent's home, Mamre Oaks, in Victoria, BC}

{Me & Est in our backyard with Calliope, the kitten}
We always shared a bunk/cabin together on coastal and offshore voyages aboard Robertson II and Swift, and when on land, we shared a room together, where we had a bunk bed to mimic our sleeping arrangements on the boat.

{Esther, me, & sister Christina on the Robbie (Robertson II)}
We were flatmates when I was in my first year at UBC and she was working in between her BA & MBA. We've shared hotel rooms around the world, from converted caravanserai in the Thar Desert, India, to hotels on the border of Afghanistan in Peshawar, the town my father was born in.

{Esther & me with mendhi in New Delhi in 1995 (just outside my father's old home)}

{Esther & me getting mendhi done in Agra in 2005}

{Esther & me on the Khyber Pass, border of Afghanistan/Pakistan}
 When I was in High School & Est was home for the summer working, we decided on the spur of the moment to take a trip to Mexico. My parents were away on boat donation business, and we called them to see if it would be OK--we used our savings of course. They agreed, so Esther, 18 & I, 14, went on a week trip to Puerto Vallarta together. We had been to PV numerous times, had even sailed there, and felt rather at home on our week away from home. Est always treated me as an equal even though, I'm sure, I was at times an annoying little sister!
{Esther, 18, and me, 14 in PV}
So, you can imagine, we have tons to catch up on, tons to remember, & tons to chat about. I am looking forward to re-visiting some of the great places I went on my last trip to Ecuador. The market at Otavalo and the nearby monastery-converted-to-guesthouse is gorgeous. Est & Juan treated us to lunch at the beautiful Hacienda Cusin that has beautiful grounds to walk, full of flowers and paths down lush little lanes.

{P tries on a hat at the market of Otavalo (P is now a grown up independent 5 year old!)}

{our family at the Cusin  Hacienda/monastery minus the Vazquez family & minus the nieces & nephews that have been born since}

{me & my parents walking in the gardens of the Hacienda Cusin}
 Esther tells me there is also a leather town near Otavalo, which I hope to visit...and we are also hoping to visit some natural hot springs. I'm sure I will have tons to blog about, if not during my time there, I'll be sure to post lots upon my return.
But until then Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & Happy New Year!!


  1. howling at that photo of Sebsy in the beautifully staged wedding portrait of Esther & Juan in the cloisters!

  2. I can't believe how tiny they all are--especially P trying on that hat. howling!