una vaina loca


Ecuador 9/2/2013

Quito, looking north.

Quito, looking north.

Quito, the Andean jewel of a city, perched high in the sierra. It’s magical, it’s slightly polluted, it’s ancient, it’s delicious, and it’s home. The first thing any traveler will notice (at least I did) is how freaking close you are to the clouds. All the time. This photo is a perfect example of just that. Condensation.

Since leaving my host family’s farm, the organization has put me up in a lovely hostel, owned by an even lovelier family (photos to come). The organization has a great working relationship with the hostel, so they put all their volunteers and some employees (me) there when in Quito. Word.

If you have never gone backpacking, or stayed in a hostel for that matter, you should. It’s an experience, to say the least. The pool of people you come into contact with are always fascinating, and sometimes annoying. I proceeded to befriend an Aussie guy the first day, and we went on a self guided tour of the meticulously preserved colonial part of Quito. Which happens to be a UNESCO world heritage sight, and the largest in Latin America. This is due in part to the extremely dry climate up here. Here are a few examples of the kick-ass colonial style that dominate the old part of town. No power tools.

Today is Monday, and I finally get to meet the group of volunteers that I will be leading around the country. They fly in tonight to the new airport, most of them from the UK, so I can imagine they will be utterly exhausted. Have no fear, they’ll be greeted by a Fenner, all jacked up on exquisite South American coffee. IMG_20130828_103552_736


I am excited and still slightly unsure about what the future holds, but hey that’s all part of the adventure. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more.


Ecuador 8/30/2013

I have arrived.

Well, my body has at least. My mind still can’t seem to wrap it’s hands around the fact that my home for the foreseeable future is Ecuador. This tiny country, about the size of Colorado, hosts the most diversity of any other country I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Lying on the equator (who would have guessed), it is divided into three major regions: The flat coastal plains to the west (la costa), the highlands of the Andean mountain range (la sierra), and of course the dense, humid, and mysterious jungle (el oriente) to the east. Lucky for me, after touching down at the new Quito airport, my old host family was there to scoop me up and take me to their farm/estate nearby so I could sleep off the 15+ hours of transit I had just endured. Cheap flight.


Last photo of me in the US.

My old host family's farm.

My old host family’s farm.


Don Efrain (host dad) getting a little wild on the tractor.

The following morning, I was to report to the offices of The Yanapuma Foundation (my current employer), to begin a very lengthy and detail laden discussion of my duties for the next 10 weeks. As the day progressed, my bosses (I have several) could tell right away that this was going to be a walk in the park for myself. Great news.

Did I mention that Quito is at like 10,000 feet about sea level? I fancy myself in decent shape, but DAMN. Even a short flight of stairs is leaving me panting for air. The tiny elderly woman walking up the hill beside me yesterday was straight up putting me to shame. I love this country none the less. It’s chaotic streets, the clash of the modern world and ancient culture, the looming snow-capped volcanoes visible in ever direction, and yes, oh yes, the food. Heavy on the starches, and always accompanied with some form of grilled or fried meat. Not a vegetarians paradise (shout out to Julie). The Ecuadorians need these carbs, however, because they generally lead very strenuous lives. Props.

Taquitos famous quesadilla. Only a select few of you will understand the awesomeness that is this photo.

Taquitos. Only a select few of you will understand the awesomeness that is this photo.

The group of volunteers that I will be leading around the country arrives Monday, I am a mixed bowl of emotion, but most of all confident and excited. More news to come.

Thanks for reading!


No more citations for curbside veggies in Los Angeles

Watch the video. Get with the movement.

TED Blog

Planting a vegetable garden beside a road is no longer a fineable action in Los Angeles.

In a major victory for TED speaker Ron Finley, otherwise known as the renegade gardener of South Central, the Los Angeles City Council voted 15-0 on Tuesday to allow the planting of vegetable gardens in unused strips of city land by roads. The council is opting to waive the enforcement of a city law that requires sidewalks and curbs to be “free of obstruction” in the case of vegetable gardens designed for community use. The city will stop enforcing this law immediately.

[ted_talkteaser id=1685]On the TED2013 stage, Finley described getting a citation for planting a vegetable garden on his curb.

“I live in a food desert, South Central Los Angeles, home of the drive-thru and the drive-by,” he said. “So what I did, I planted a food forest in front of my house…

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This Week’s Jam: Klingande


This week’s jam is a DJ duo from France under the moniker Klingande. They blend some pretty interesting tunes together to create something that I personally haven’t heard much of. Ever. The saxophone is way too groovy to resist dancing, or at least tapping your foot to. Check them out