In our casual conversations, many of you have asked to hear about my pilgrimage to Ecuador. I must admit I have found this line of questioning particularly hard to address. How do you characterize a month-long trip within the confines of a short hallway conversation? Invariably, my answers have been a combination of a pause (drawing a blank for something clever to say) followed by some comment that falls short of doing the trip justice. Given these circumstances, a top-ten list seems like a suitable mechanism to give you a taste (à la David Letterman)...
10. Family. With 31 of my paternal Grandfather's 55 living descendants (not counting their spouses, or my wife's family) residing in my hometown, the list of relatives to visit was extensive to say the least.
9. Friends. Four high-school buddies in particular. You'd think 24 years later they would have matured... not so much.
8. 70º. Getting a good taste of that famous year-round mild weather. Somehow the knowledge Colorado was enjoying a long streak of the nineties made that experience all the more enjoyable
7. Horses. I had the occasion to shoe, groom and ride these admirable animals on my dad's ranch
6. Alcohol. If you Google "highest per-capita alcohol consumption in the world" you find many places claim that dubious distinction. I am, therefore, inclined to dismiss my hometown's claims to this title as aspirational. That said, most social interaction requires the accompanying social drinking. (Refer to #s 10 and 9 to get a feel for the amount of social interaction I engaged in)
5. Elevation Training. Set in a picturesque mountain valley some 8,350 feet above sea level, Cuenca is a good place to build-up your red blood cell count
4. July 27. We invited 80 people which could be categorized using numerals 10 and 9, enjoyed some activities which would fall under numerals 8, 7 and 6 at my dad's ranch (which at 10,350 feet, definitely contributed to #5 above). Enough said.
3. Cemetery and Library. Not your typical tourist attractions. In-fact, neither of these have previously figured on any of my infamous "sabbaticals" --until now, that is. A few months ago I caught the genealogy bug and took advantage of these local resources to conduct some research on dead relatives.
2. Rest and Relaxation. There is something to be said for an extended change in activities. You might even call it Recuperation.
1. Guinea Pig. I did indulge in this traditional delicacy once during the trip (and no, it does not taste like chicken)
For those of you who may be (more than) a little disturbed by this last entry, may I turn your attention to a different kind of food. One we indulge in every Friday and today is no exception. Paul Savill has not let this week's bump-up in the Org Chart detract from his donut execution and delights us today with four dozen assorted donuts -- and the trip to grab one is a short one, so come on down!