Otavalo

One of the MANY hat stalls at the famous Otavalo market. January 27, 2013.

One of the MANY hat stalls at the famous Otavalo market. January 27, 2013.

You can imagine that the small city of Ibarra doesn’t have an abundance of tourist friendly souvenir shopping. But a 20 cent bus ride can get you to the city of Otavalo which is ┬áhome to an enormous market that is open all week. A great place to learn how to bargain and get some tasty local food if you’re brave enough, just keep an eye on your bags.

Advertisements

Vamos Chicas

It's kind of difficult to call this "work". January 25, 2013.

It’s kind of difficult to call this “work”. January 25, 2013.

Woke up super early and took a bus from Quito to Ibarra where we would be doing our volunteering at Guayabillas animal rescue and rehabilitation centre. We were living with Oscar and Anita, who collaboratively run the centre, and their two children Santiago and Daniellita. As soon as we got off the bus it was straight to work. We met another volunteer who showed us around and then we started cleaning the cages. At first we were a little nervous about getting in the cage with the monkeys but we had to get over that pretty quick.

Equator… Ecuador!

El Mitad del Mundo, the equator and the museum around it. January 22, 2013

El Mitad del Mundo, the equator and the museum around it. January 22, 2013

After a rough night we all woke up bright and early to visit El Mitad del Mundo. There are all kinds of tests to do on the equator line like pouring water down the drain and it goes straight (no swirl), balancing an egg, and trying to walk straight down the middle. We also learned about shrunken heads which is well worth researching.

Ecuadorian Arrival

First glance of South America. January 21, 2013.

First glance of South America. January 21, 2013.

After about 14 hours of planes, layovers and a tremendous lack of sleep I arrived in Quito, Ecuador. Thankfully my luggage made it as well. The first thing I saw outside the airport was a little store called “Le petit Cafe”, gotta love globalization. A lovely man named Ivan picked me up from the airport and drove me to my homestay. I’m pretty certain no one in this country knows how to drive. I met Maria, the lady who runs the homestay and Tina, the fantastic girl I was going to be volunteering with for the next two weeks. We ate dinner (rice, chick peas, and fresh fruits and vegetables. YUM) and then we met Glenn, another traveler and volunteer who was staying with Maria.

Mrs. Tyrannosaurus

Drumheller located in the badlands of Alberta, has the worlds' largest dinosaur replica. March 28, 2011.

Drumheller located in the badlands of Alberta, has the worlds’ largest dinosaur replica. March 28, 2011.

Visiters gather and spend their hard-earned money to climb the giant lady t-rex (anatomically speaking) and admire the Badlands frominside her gaping jaws. On the way up you’ll see mural paintings, fossil displays, and a view into the badlands. The dinosaur is actually four times the size of a real t-rex at 86 feet tall and weighs a whopping 145,000 pounds.

Prairie Light

Tinsie town of Donalda is home to the world's largest oil lamp. March 28, 2011.

Tinsie town of Donalda is home to the world’s largest oil lamp. March 28, 2011.

The town of Donalda was founded in 1911 and takes its name after Donald A. Mann, a Canadian national railway official. Th oil lamp is 12.8 metres high and lights up at night.

Pysanka

The world's largest pysanka egg of Vegreville, Alberta. March 28, 2011.

The world’s largest pysanka egg of Vegreville, Alberta. March 28, 2011.

Thousands of tourists from around the world annually visit Vegreville and marvel at the Pysanka. 25.7 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 31 feet high it is one of the premier tourist attractions on the Trans Canada Yellowhead highway.Pretty terrifying to stand under as it rotates in the wind and it pretty precarious looking.

Stawnichy’s Sausage

Mundare, Alberta is home to the world's largest kielbasa as a centennial project. March 28, 2011.

Mundare, Alberta is home to the world’s largest kielbasa as a centennial project. March 28, 2011.

A 42 inch sausage replica located in the rest area at the North end of main street in the Mundare stands tall over the proud town. Edward Stawnichy made a name for Mundare in the meat smoking industry and in 1992 his grocery store was named one of the top three businesses in Alberta. The meat tastes pretty good too.

Mallards and Monuments

Andrew, Alberta is home to the former Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, as well as the world's largest mallard duck. March 28, 2011.

Andrew, Alberta is home to the former Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, as well as the world’s largest mallard duck. March 28, 2011.

The duck was built in 1992 to commemorate the wetland areas in the district. This area is a popular breeding ground for mallards. We couldn’t get close enough to the duck to see how big it really was cause of the thick wet snow surrounding but nonetheless it was impressive.

U.F.O Landing Pad

French speaking town of St. Paul, Alberta is the renowned home of the world's first alien landing pad. March 28, 2011.

French speaking town of St. Paul, Alberta is the renowned home of the world’s first alien landing pad. March 28, 2011.

The famous alien landing pad was made as a centennial project in 1967, with a time capsule built into the back to be opened in 2067. In 1996, an addition was built on to the existing tourist information centre to house a UFO interpretive display to educate people and see real photos of UFOs crop circles and cattle mutilations.