A Colorado Wedding and a Ecuador & Galapagos Honeymoon

Link to photos

The Wedding Day and day before

Things went great!  All the planning paid off!

The rehearsal went well in the afternoon.  I am glad that we had one.  There was some mix ups with the reverend for the rehearsal time and the ceremony time, but it was all worked out.

The rehearsal dinner was great at Bácaro's. Our families and the wedding party had fun meeting each other, and it was a wonderful prelude to the next day.

The night before we kept with tradition and stayed separate.  I stayed with one of my friends, Lee Hart and Debbie stayed at home.  We both got ready separately in the morning.  We had decided on taking the formal pictures before the wedding where we had gotten engaged.  So we saw each other (Debbie in her beautiful wedding gown and Brian in tuxedo) for the first time on the wedding day at the bridge where we gotten engaged.  10:30 am.  This place (for those of you that know Boulder) is the east footbridge across Boulder Creek near the Boulder Library.  It was a beautiful moment.

Pictures ran a bit longer than expected, so we rushed up for the ceremony.  The ceremony was wonderful.  It was situated at the Flagstaff Amphitheater in Boulder.  This spot overlooks all of Boulder from atop a mountain next to town.  We had a flute and harp playing music.  The flowers were sunflowers and calla lilies.  We heard there were butterflies and hawks flying around the amphitheater.  All this as we were taking our vows.  Many tears and joyful crying was heard.

Then on to the reception.  12:30 pm.  We were chauffeured by a friend, Alek, in his 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88 4-door Convertible.  There was a minor hiccup; the car would not start.  This was solved by a quick jump start, and we were off.  Our chauffeur wanted to go all around downtown Boulder honking his horn.  There was much cheering and honking by the other people on Broadway at every light.  We did this for a bit and then headed to the Red Lion Inn.

The Red Lion Inn is situated five miles up Boulder Canyon in a beautifully green spot next to the Boulder Creek.  The music great, the food was great, the toasts were fun (a fun unexpected one by Dan Murray), the cake good, plenty to drink, and lots of dancing.  We are eagerly awaiting pictures from our photographer.  One fun moment was when the wedding party was dancing in a circle with Brian's niece, Jessica.  Balloons were all around the circle thanks to Jessica, and the photographer (Jeremey Baer-Simon) was having fun taking creative pictures from the center of the circle from laying on his back.  Slowly, the party winded down.  Although we ended up staying until 7:30 pm enjoying a few drinks with a good friend (Charlie) who could not make it until late.

Home quickly, and then on to our Bed and Breakfast, The Earl House.  Oops, dinner.  Hmmm.  How about “Noodles”?  So we ate a quick meal there and headed on.  The B 'n' B had Champagne, strawberries and rose pedals waiting.  Lots of candles, and more that I cannot go into detail about.

Next day, a rush to get home and then to the airport.  Of course, we get there and they tell us our flight is early.  So we run to the gate and barely make it.  Yeah! We made it to the honeymoon.

The Honeymoon

Getting to Ecuador
Yeah, we are on the plane!  Change of planes in Houston.  Uh oh!  We did not write anything down for the dog or cat care.  Panic, call Leslie.  A little more relaxed.  Now on to Guyaquil, since the airport in Quito is closed.  At the airport, the confusion begins, how do we get the hotel voucher and plane ticket to Latacunga.  Brian's Spanish begins to be tested.  It was before customs, oh no!  They tell us to go back through.  We get the voucher.  Now back through baggage check and customs.  Problem, we already gave them or baggage claim ticket and they want it again.  Lots of confusion with police in fatigues and military rifles.  But it all works out.

Finally we are at the hotel.  Midnight and the plane in the morning leaves at 7:00.   A later one at 9:00, but we cannot guarantee a seat on that plane.  Finally we get some sleep.  Although a misplaced wake up call at 3:30 am, did not help.  We both sleep through our alarms, and I notice it is getting light.  Oh no!  It is 6:30.  We rush to get there, and luckily we find that our clocks were an hour off.  We received some good help from a friendly woman in charge of a tour.  We make it to the airport at 6:30 real time and make it on the plane.  We were now on Tame airlines, the ecuadorian airline.  Things were definately done a little differently on an ecuadorian air line, but ok.

Finally we are in Latacunga, getting off the plane.  Oh no! our bags are on their way to Quito, but we are staying in Latacunga.  We need to tell somebody.  Finally we get this across and walk past the fatigued, rifle holding police and through the chain linked gate to a street. Luckily finding a taxi was easy and we were off to Hostería La Cienaga.

In Latacunga, Ecuador

The colors everywhere are wonderful.  Very green and houses are an array of third word type colors.  The taxi drive is quite friendly and seems to understand a good bit of my Spanish.  Finally we turn into the gate of La Cienaga….. Wow!!  A beautiful entryway lined with huge perfectly arranged trees.  Our jaws drop.  At the end is a beautiful 400 year old hacienda.  Mission style look with 3 foot thick walls.  Beautiful gardens in front.  Once again people are nice.

Our Quito travel agent, Brigitte from Transcorde, was there to greet us.  We settle out the Galapagos details and other suggestions. She was very nice.

Then we are showed up to our room.  We knew it was going to be a good room, but we did not realize it was The Best Room.  Our jaws drop again.  Huge sitting room maybe 18’x18’ and the bedroom is 18’x18’.  The bathroom was maybe 12’x15’.  That is 830 square feet.  We also had THE big balcony above the entryway.  Beautiful.  In the bedroom, there was also a huge vase with 2 dozen roses.  All for $36.  Now we can finally relax.

We had built in a day to do nothing.  We ended up sleeping a lot and just enjoying the beautiful hacienda.  Checking out the nice Chapel.  Debbie bought her first present, a nice knitted jacket.  It was cold, 60 degrees and cloudy.  When the sun came out, it quickly felt 80.  Supposedly we were right at the foot of Cotopaxi (19,000+ foot volcano), but we never saw it due to clouds (mucho nublado).

The food here was great and inexpensive.  A filet mignon is about $5.  We tried a number of ecuadorian dishes: ceviche (cold soup with shrimp, lemon, onions, and coriander) with popcorn, llapingachos (potato patties served with eggs), locro (potato soup with avocado) and aji picante salza (made from tree tomato).  The waiters and bar tender did not speak much English, but Brian's Spanish seemed to do ok.  We met a nice couple from Holland who told us over their experience the week before at Galapagos.  We could not wait.  We then heard only cash works for Galapagos park fees, so we spent two days scrounging for dollars in exchange for traveler's checks.

Getting to Galapagos

Now on our way to Galapagos.  We get a taxi to take us into town and drop some post cards off first.  He was nice and we communicated ok.  I ran into the post office and took my dictionaries with me.  The post office went ok, but Debbie was frustrated that she did not know what to say to the taxi driver (I had the dictionaries).  The Tame airline was a little interesting again.  There is no assigned seating, first come first serve.  The next interesting part is after getting onto the plane, our passes were not stamped.  They should have been stamped when they checked our bags, but they forgot.  Luckily no problem.  Onwards…  We had to deplane in Guyaquil and watch Wimbleton for a bit before the final leg.


Arriving in Galapagos.  A decent sized air strip and one building.  Next, time for another immigration and paying park fees.  For some strange reason, not only is cash important for park fees, but perfect bills.  I had two bills with 1/8 of an inch tears.  No good, I had to find another bill.  Luckily, I had enough good bills that I made it through.  Short bus ride to a bay, and we are on our boat, the Samba.

The Samba was incredible.  Very clean, spotless decks.  We had to take our shoes off while on board.   The cabins were small but cute.  We had fantastic food (fresh seafood, vegetables, juices, ecuadorian dishes, and other meals).  We also had our touches of sea sickness in the beginning.  The boat traveled both during the day and at night while we slept.  There were 12 passengers only, and all 12 of us got along great.  6 couples from England, Denmark, Florida, New Jersey, Germany and us.

Weather was 75-85 during the day depending on clouds and around 65 at night.  Cool and you needed a jacket. Kind of strange for the equator, but it has to do with 3 different ocean and wind currents coming together.  A main reason for all the wildlife.

The islands were very dry.  Most had bushes they were up to 10 feet tall along with cactuses.  Some islands however had lava flows less than 100 years old; these had only a few species of plants surviving in the black lava flow rock.

The main thing of course was animal watching.  Our guide, Tanya, was from England and had been guiding in the Galapagos for 5 years.  Incredible amount of knowledge about the islands.  And with only 12 of us passengers, we could and did ask many questions.  We did usually a hike in the morning, snorkel in the middle of the day, and then a hike in the afternoon.  Hikes were short (maybe ½ to 1 mile) but we took a couple of hours to do them so we had plenty of time to enjoy the wildlife.

Snorkeling was great!  Water was a little cold like a cold swimming pool. Brian could stand it for 45 minutes, some places more.  We were swimming a bit and the water life was exciting so that kept us warm.  The florida couple could not stand 30 minutes once even with wet suits.

Here is a list of the main animals:
Blue Footed Boobies: saw them on many islands fishing, courting, mating, with eggs, and with chicks.  Fishing was amazing.  They would circle at 50-100 feet above the water, and then dive bomb straight down.  A second or two later they would pop out of the water.  Supposedly they go up to 25 feet under the water.
Masked Boobies: saw on one island.  Similar to Blue Footed Boobies.
Lava Herons: saw them looking for food and one of them catching and eating a crab in one gulp.
Flamingos: saw on two islands.
Galapagos Hawk: saw on two islands.  Sometimes soaring, sometimes in a tree.
American Oyster catcher:
Swallow Tailed Gull
Frigate Birds: pretty with the courting ritual.
Flightless Cormorants: saw them at sea and on land with chicks.
Brown Pelicans: saw them frequently on land and sea fishing.
Red Billed Tropic bird
Waved Albatross: Saw the amazing courting ritual, ones with eggs, and ones with chicks.  The courtship involved an amazing 5 minute choreographed (sp?) drumming of the two birds long beaks and displays with their wings.
Different Mockingbirds
Different Finches
Yellow Warblers
Penguins: saw on land and water including while snorkeling.
2 types of Land Iguanas: Pretty big ones on a couple of islands.  5 feet including the tail.
Giant Tortoises: saw at Darwin Station and one in the wild.  BIG!
Marine Iguanas: saw them swimming and on land piled up on top of each other for warmth.
Lava Lizards: saw frequently on many islands.
Pacific Green turtle: saw mating and in the water including while snorkeling.
Crabs: everywhere on the rocks.  Very colorful red.
Marine Mammals...
Sea Lions: common on many islands.  Saw with pups.  Saw fights among males.
Fur Seals: common on one island.  Cute.
Pilot Whales: Saw a group of six between islands and ended up snorkeling with them.
Minke Whales: Also saw between islands.  Were with us during snorkeling, but did not know it.
Dolphins: they swam at the front of our boat a number of times.
Fish etc...
3 types of Urchins: one type was amazingly prevalent.
White Tipped Shark: saw 2 while snorkeling: one sleeping and one swimming below us.
Moray eel: from a tidal pool and while snorkeling.
Octopus: from a tidal pool and while snorkeling.
Many big tropical fish
Others that I am sure I am forgetting….

We did not want to leave.

In Quito, Ecuador (the capital)

Then back to Ecuador….
We found our way to the hotel Café Cultura.  It is actually a very cute hotel with mural painting on the walls and ceilings.  It was a bit concerning seeing all the security in front of hotels.  But we became more comfortable with it over time.  We managed safely with taxis and also carefully around close streets.  First night with 2 twin beds, bummer.  In the morning we had another Ecuadorian dish, humitas (Sweet corn tamales with eggs).

The next day we went on a tour of Quito and the Equator.  Out of maybe 10 people we were the only americans; however everybody spoke English or knew it well enough.  We saw the congress building in new town and then on to Old Town.  A number of beautiful Churches and official buildings and 2 town squares.  We saw the statue of Mary from Old Town, but did not go up to it.  The equator was kind of neat.  There was a museum there about all of the diversity of people in Ecuador.  Our guide gave us a nice description of everything.  He did tell us about a ghost a La Cienaga too.  Interesting.  Our guide was eager to help us with any questions and give advice for the rest of our stay.  I even have his E-mail which I will have to try.  The guided bus trip we set up through Metropolitan Touring.

We then ate a Ecuadorian restaurant: La Choza, for lunch.  Very good.  And that night at Villa Goya in Guápulo.  What a fun an interesting ride down steep windy mountain roads very close to downtown Quito.  It was right near a beautiful church that we did not have a chance to go check out.  This restaurant rivaled restaurants in Boulder with that would charge $20 for an entrée.  We had to pay $6 for an entree.  The were playing some favorite songs of Debbie's too.  What a wonderful time.

This night we had the Honeymoon Suite at Cafe Cultura.  Very nice.

To Otavalo, Ecuador (a market town)

Next on to Otavalo (a 2-3 hour bus ride).  The bus ride was interesting.  We were told to go to Flota Imbabura.  We told the taxi driver this and he took us to a terminal.  But after talking with the ticket counter and trying to communicate in Spanish, we finally figure out that this terminal did not go to Otavalo.  So we go to Terminal Terreste, the main bus terminal.  When we get there, people are asking if we are going to Otavalo.  We say yes, and they are quickly taking our enormous $1.50 per person and rushing us to the bus.  All the way in Quito, the drivers helper is checking outside if anybody needs to go to Otavalo.  We started with an almost empty bus, but ended up being almost full.  We were heading to Hostería Pinsaquí which was past Otavalo.  So we go past the main stop and I try to tell the driver's helper we want to stop at Pinsaquí.  After a couple of times of trying to tell him to stop there and not getting much response, I think he understands (he is just busy).  Finally we stop and he points to the side and says Pinsaquí.  There is no sign.....  We get out and walk down the driveway.  It was the right place.

In Otavalo, Ecuador (a market town)

Hostería Pinsaquí was nice, with a huge suite (include Jacuzzi that we were not sure about).  But we still liked La Cienaga best.  It was the cheapest too.  They did have hammocks though.  A guide for another group told us a story about La Cienaga having a ghost and his personal experience with it.  The curtains wrapped around him when he was near the window.  It sounded pretty mild, but he was unnerved by it.

Then we arranged for a taxi driver to take us around and wait whenever we wanted.  It sounded a little expensive $6 an hour, but it worked really well in the end.  The driver was very nice and we communicated pretty well.  He ended up having a nice restaurant, La Jampa,  in Otavalo that we ate at (it was quite good for a quaint downtown place; he supposedly had music in the evenings also).  We saw briefly the animal market, then the main market which we did 1.5 hours of buying.  Brian did the bargaining.  Then on to Laguna de Cotacahi, a nice lake where once was the crater of  a volcano, high up on a mountain.  Then to Cotacachi, the leather town, where we did some more power buying.  Lunch at La Jampa and then a couple more quick purchases... and then to the bus back to Quito.  The bus was much easier to deal with on the way back.

Back to Quito to go home

In Quito this time we stayed at the Oro Verde (now Swissehotel).  A very nice 5 star hotel.  Nicest hotel I have ever been in.  We landed a cheap $69 special for a $150+ room.  We decided to go simple for dinner and get something that sounded really good at this point: Pizza.  It was pretty tasty.  I went to recheck our flights, and  guess what; they are supposed to leave even earlier.... Ugh!  It is supposed to leave at 6:30am, and they want ust to be there 2 hours early.  Time to go to bed at 8:00pm.

3:45 am.  My alarm goes off.  4:00am wake up call.  We get up check out and make it to the airport by 4:40.  We find a place for breakfast, use up our Sucres (ecuador money) on some T-shirst and start to wait.

Uh oh!  Fog.  No planes leave.  Also, they tell us that our crew has not had its minimum sleep.  We ended up being 1 hour late for taking off.  Of course when I checked in, the changed our tickets so our connecting flight went from 1.5 layover to 30 minutes.  That is not too good for 1 hour late.  They insist that they will make up the time.

We did at least see Cotopaxi (a 19,000+ foot volcano) for the first time while taxiing; it had been cloudy the entire time on mainland.  Next we end up flying into Panama City, Panama for a stop over.  They make us get off the plane.  They told us we would go through immigration there, but we did not end up doing that.  On to Houston.

We get to Houston finally, running with our heads cut off asking about our connecting flight.  They put us back to the original one which was now 40 minutes from leaving.  We still had to go through immigration, get our bags, customs, recheck our bags, and get to the other terminal of the airport.  We panicked, but made it.  Yeah, we were virtually home.  Slight panic that I put my keys in checked baggage that might not make it, but it worked out.  We also gave a nice woman from the plane a ride to Boulder and finally made it home....

Finally at home

To a house full of presents.  Thanks everybody!  We could help ourselves but open them all.... until 11 pm.  So finally we ended up going to bed at 11pm.  Starting the day at 3 am (colorado time) and ending at 11 pm.... a long day.

We were very glad to have a day to rest... however Debbie is now starting to get sick.  At least it did not happen on the honeymoon.

The End

End of the long winded story. Did you actually read it all?  I mostly did this to get down all the memories quick before I forget something.  People have asked about how it went, so I put it on the web site.

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