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Tales from the Office….

By Desiree D’Sylva, Quito Office

I have been working in the Tropical Birding oce for the past 3 years within operations in the Australasia and Africa sections. If you are looking to book a tour in either of these regions the chances are we will talk at some point! I must say working in this oce is quite unique! It feels like the sta just loves coming here, very rarely have I seen sta members coming late or having wired excuses not come to work. As a matter of fact most arrive earlier than needed.

Some way or another we never forget a person’s birthday, there are always welcome and goodbye parties in the conference room, we celebrate local festivities such as “Fiestas de Quito” having Canelazos, and on 4th of July the entire oce goes to the Beach. I guess we all enjoy each others company and we really work like a team.

Quininde is not normally crowded and is very easy going, but there is 1 day in the year when the town celebrates its Anniversary when it gets crowded with people from small villages all around, and there is a parade so important that it lasts the entire morning! And yes you guessed it, this day happened to be the very same day we chose to stop there en-route to the beach, and stop to watch some footy.

Not only that but we also seemed to inadvertently choose the “it” restau- rant to try and watch the game in. However, just as the soccer game was about to start drums rolled, and a large man announced over a microphone the start of the parade! We persevered though, watched the Argentina being thrashed by Germany (a not so popular victory in this part of Ecuador), ate breakfast, and took in the parade all at the same time!

Once the game was over, with every- one bummed at the embarrassing loss for the Argentina, the team of choice in this particular bar, we then had to attempt to leave Quininde. Cars lined the streets and a substan- tial parade was working its way slowly through the main street, where we and our cars were.

Somehow two of the other oce sta, Pablo and Augusto managed to part the sea of people in the parade and we squeezed our vehicles through like a scene out of a Jackie Chan movie, inching our way acrobatically through the crowed, although in this case it was all the Quito sta of Tropical Birding, acting as a team to get to the beach. In the end we worked our way through, made it to the beach and sunbathed, drunk cocktails and relaxed on our days o with the people we work with. I guess we must all get along!?

This year we all went to the northern beach of Playa Almendro, in the province of Esmeraldas in Ecuador. This is when I realized we are all a real team. We left Quito on a Satur- day morning at around 5h00 am, since this year the world cup had everybody hooked to the games, we calculated to reach the closest town that had a place where we could all watch the game that was scheduled at 11h00.

The town we chose was Quininde; not a big town, but a town in Esmer- aldas where local farmers go to load up with supplies, or sell some of their products like passion fruit, cacao, coee, malanga, etc; so when you get there you will nd a couple of markets, a few dodgy restaurants, and a gas station attended by girls wearing the shortest and tightest hot pants you have ever seen in your life!




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