My sister adores classic Disney even more than I do, which propelled the Tokyo theme parks to the top of our sightseeing wishlist. Expecting massive crowds for the national holidays later in the week, we arranged tickets for Monday and Tuesday — including a stay at the exquisite, art nouveau style Disneyland Hotel.
As I enthused extensively about DisneySea last year, I’ll recap only briefly before focusing on our maiden voyage to DisneyLand: a vintage park celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The first morning of our adventure, we rose early to savor a surprisingly gourmet buffet — never before has a breakfast menu offered me sashimi! We splurged on a taxi to the park, where the staff conducted us through the well-oiled machinery of depositing luggage and purchasing passes.
Emerging at last into the Renaissance harbor that so beguiled me, my sister and I plunged into the park’s kaleidoscope of imagined worlds.
We broke our fast with a bountiful buffet at our elegant hotel. The view from our window lured us into an exquisitely arranged garden, a tiny oasis separating the guests from a divided highway just beyond. The subtle infinity loop design deceived the eye; we wandered it happily, retracing our steps without feeling enclosed.
What happens when you have long hair, and you sleep in a dorm full of girls? You braid it, of course! — or, rather, the girls do. Then your friend opens her treasure trove of hair ribbons, and she gives the girls a gift they will wear every day for the rest of week, whether it matches their outfits or not. In fact, some of the girls only bring one set of clothes. You notice that, and wonder why.
At least, that’s what Rachel and I did at Camp UNPES. During the first and only meeting between staff and volunteers, the head man, Roberto, encouraged us to love the children without restraint. “This isn’t America — you can hug them and pick them up!” He could have warned us how much love we would receive in return. Read the rest of this entry →
Note: Rachel and I have just returned to Archidona (where there is internet) from a church camp in Latas (where there was not). I originally planned this post for Sunday night; my apologies for the delay.
I had almost persuaded myself to name this post, “Bed and Breakfast.” That phrase sums up the post’s contents accurately, but I couldn’t deny that the term also implies a type of business that has yet to entertain us here in Ecuador. So I abandoned that idea in favor of identifying some thread that linked every highlight of our first full day overseas. Read the rest of this entry →