April 16, 2010 |
I've often fantasized about retracing the steps of such naturalists as Charles Darwin, Alexander von Humboldt and William Bartram, who saw exotic places and recorded, in detail, the plants and animals they described so vividly on their expeditions. But the armchair naturalist in me didn't want to work too hard or subject myself to the tribulations they suffered as they circumnavigated the globe, climbed the South American Andes or slogged through the swamps of the Southeastern United States, all places where one might encounter sharks, bugs, snakes, piranhas, jaguars and crocodiles.
April 12, 2010 |
Ecuador's beauty shines through The beauty and "aliveness" of Mindo, Ecuador, came through clearly in "An Eden in the Clouds" [April 4], by Chris Kraul, who has reported for The Times on damage done in Ecuador by oil drilling. Beauty like Mindo's must be protected. Kraul is more than the armchair naturalist he says he is: He walked, saw, listened. And shared the beauty. -- Damiana Chavez, Los Angeles Coastal trip can be a bargain too I am surprised that in the current economic recession the L.A. Times highlighted a $1,185 overnight stay at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur ["You, Me and Hwy. 1," by Sally Horchow, April 4]
April 4, 2010 |
UZBEKISTAN AND TURKMENISTAN 'Cities of the Silk Road' A key highlight of Wild Frontiers' 16-day "Cities of the Silk Road" itinerary is seeing Darvaza, fondly called Turkmenistan's "Door to Hell," a 280-foot-wide crater that's been ablaze since 1971, when geologists ignited its natural gases. Besides that fiery spectacle, there's plenty else to take in between these two rarely visited Central Asia nations, with their many archaeological sites, culture and history aplenty, the world's largest carpet, the Oxus River, the moonscape of the Karakum Desert and Ashgabat's impressive architecture.
April 4, 2010 |
THE BEST WAY TO MINDO, ECUADOR From LAX, connecting service (change of planes) is available to Quito, Ecuador, on Continental, American, Copa, Delta, LAN and Avianca. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $368. Regular bus service from Quito to Mindo is available hourly and costs $4 each way. Taxis charge about $50. Or visitors can arrange transportation from Quito as part of a package tour (see below). TELEPHONES To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code)
February 21, 2010 |
Ecuador is trying to salvage its campaign to enlist international sponsors to protect a pristine nature reserve in the Amazon, after an initial drive ended in disarray and doubts about whether President Rafael Correa would leave the park's oil riches untouched. Correa recently appointed former Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa to head a new panel to seek donations from Arab and Asian countries for the 2.4-million-acre Yasuni National Park, one of the world's most biodiverse nature reserves.
February 12, 2010 |
For Mari, a 30-year-old Colombian mother of two small children, the choice was life or death: either flee to neighboring Ecuador or be killed by paramilitaries who were trying to extort $3,000 from her and her husband. So in October, she and her family fled their small farm in southern Colombia and became part of a rising tide of refugees streaming into Ecuador. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said last month that the number of Colombian refugees tripled in the last six months of 2009, compared with the same period the previous year.
February 3, 2010 |
The beat cop quickly discovered why the three men at the entrance to the storage yard had bolted as he pulled up in his patrol car. Inside the walled enclosure he saw 3 tons of cocaine and a large-scale processing lab, evidence of Ecuador's growing importance as a trafficking hub for illegal drugs. The mid-December raid in this port city's Bastion Popular industrial zone capped a record year for Ecuador's counter-narcotics police. They seized 63 tons of cocaine, twice as much as in 2008, and destroyed seven drug-processing laboratories, up from two. Guayaquil's sprawling port and maze of estuaries and waterways have become a favored staging area for drug shipments to the U.S. and Europe.
December 14, 2009 |
The Times' Dec. 3 editorial, "Trading with Ecuador," ignores evidence of Ecuador's hostility to the United States and misleadingly asserted that Chevron is calling for an end to beneficiary status for Ecuador under the Andean Trade Preferences Act. While more than one organization has called for "halting the trade agreement" with Ecuador, Chevron is not. Chevron is arguing that countries should not be unconditionally rewarded with unilateral trade...