For more great pictures, please go to Chuck and Nancy's site where they captured some great color:
After watching the parade for a couple hours Rachel and I decided to join friends at California Kitchen for a pre-arranged lunch. We unlatched our bikes and walked them through the human gauntlet. After crossing Mariscal Sucre I looked back and Rachel was no where to be seen. She was swallowed in a sea of humanity. How hard could it be to find a gringa with a bright red bicicleta I asked myself? I turned around, Mongo at my side and dove back into the swarming mass, and found the going even more difficult. Still no Rachel. I knew she was ok, but where was she? Pushing around in the crowd was useless so I found the highest spot in Calderon and still no white blouse with a red bike in sight. I had told Rachel that California Kitchen was only a few blocks away on Gaspar Sangurima, so that would seem to be the logical place to find her....eventually. Mongo and I pushed back though one more time and I rode my two wheeled black steed over to Cali Kitchen and waited for a bit. After ten minutes I decided to leave my bike and to retrace steps back to where I had lost my bride. I knew that Rachel really didn't know her cartography here very well, so she could have taken any of about 4 different routes, or perhaps she was simply was 'stuck'. Eventually I found her walking her Scarlet, still beaming her smile, and engaged in conversation with someone who looked like a gringo (but wasn't). She knew that gringos would be the best hope in guidance to a place called California Kitchen! I think there was a little Christmas spirit that guided me to her in that moment because I might still be looking for her without a little 'luck'. Our lunch with friends was grand and their hugs were heartfelt and warm. We got a standing ovation for finding each other but of course I got taken to the woodshed for losing her in the first place. You might ask about why we didn't call each other on our cell phones. That would simply be too easy. Her cell phone was in her purse. Her purse was in my back pack. My backpack was where it was supposed to be.....on my back. I'll never again make light of the Ecuadorian dairymen who milk their cows in the pasture and carry their milk in buckets for miles.