Our flight from
When we got close to
Finally we saw it right before we landed on it.
Mr. Butterfly and I grabbed our carryon bags and waited for what seemed like forever to get off the huge plane and made our way through the airport to baggage claim. We waited for our bags and snagged them off the carousel and made our way to customs and immigration. Once clearing that, we made our way to ground transportation to meet José.
Fortunately, he was holding a sign with our names on it, so we located him easily. He was young, cute and cheerful. José was going to be our translator, guide, technician, mountain climber, security guard and porter on this trip. We had to assemble a team of people who could assume multiple responsibilities to cover our needs. José could speak the language and knew his way around the country, so we sent him for training in mountain climbing and the technical aspects of botanical collection to fully utilize him on our team. We did the same with other members as well. Mr. Butterfly and I had also gone for some training in mountain climbing at certain points in our field experiences.
“Buenos días Señor y la Señora! I am José. I am pleased to meet you.”
“It is so nice to meet you José! You can call me Sue and this is Mr. Butterfly.” We all shook hands.
“My truck is just outside. Let me grab your bags and take you for a quick tour of
We followed him outside and there was an off-white Toyota Land Cruiser. We stowed our gear in the back, and we all sat up front on the bench seat. Off we went for our tour of
We saw the Plaza Grande,
The Presidential Palace,
La Compania de Jesus which has more than 1 ton of gold in leaf and other decoration used in the interior,
And a typical street scene.
Then we began to drive northeast towards Baeza and our base camp in the Mindo cloud forest. Some of the roads through the
Now that there was no conversation, José began to think of his teenage love, Trella. Her skin was as soft as cream, not like the Señora, the medico
José photo credit: Brawny Stud