The Sani Lodge offices in Quito are located in a quasi-residential neighborhood, in a townhouse type building. The structure is concrete block, reminiscent of a 1970’s garden style apartment complex you might see in Los Angeles. (I’m waiting for Farrah Fawcett to knock on the door.)
Just about every building in this vast, sprawling city was built in the 1970’s when the country had an economic boom, based on the export of oil and bananas. You can imagine the city’s aesthetic – sort of retro-70’s-cool, but a bit forlorn in places. With limited economic resources in some cases, the architecture is difficult to maintain. Concrete block doesn’t age well.
While the outside may be unimpressive, I’ve noticed that many of the interiors of these concrete blocks are renovated, quite modern and lovely. The Sani Isla office falls into that category. Imagine big wood plank floors, modern chairs in bright colors, white walls, and sleek white desks. It’s a modest office, but it is welcoming.
Today, I went on a walking tour of La Floresta, a tree-filled, progressive neighborhood of artists, writers, and conservationists near the lodge office. The streets are filled with neo-classical mansions, cafes, avant-garde art galleries, unique shops, colorful street art, and murals.
I’m glad for the company of the tour group. Our young guide, Emerson has lived in Quito just over two years. As we walk the blocks of the ‘hood,’ he tells us stories about the history of Quito. In the early 1900’s La Floresta prospered and became the home of wealthy landowners, who were attracted to the many wildflowers in the area, and of course to the natural resources of Ecuador. Today, it’s a hip neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife featuring jazz and dance clubs, an independent movie theatre, coffee houses, and brewpubs.
As part of our continuing work with the indigenous Amazonian community of Sani Isla in Ecuador, Deborah Tompkins is sharing a travelogue of her experiences as an American in the Amazon. Deb’s company, Sage Point, works with NGOs in Africa, Asia and now Latin America to develop and execute marketing and communication strategies. She is donating her time and expertise to support RP and the Sani Warmi community. We invite you to join Deb as she introduces you to the people, the community, their Amazon ecolodge, and their forest home.
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