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Adventures in Ecuador: feminists, FLACSO and a trip to the cloud forest

Although I usually schedule my trips to conferences pretty tight with going to panels, meetings, etc, for my trip to Ecuador I wanted to spend time in the city. I was especially motivated to schedule time to explore the area because Margaret joined me! It was our first international trip and although we had to come home to take care of a sick kitty before we could go on our Colombia portion of the trip, we managed to have a fantastic time all the same. 

As far as the July 2018 ISA-FLACSO conference goes, I was a participant on the "Queer International Relations: Cynthia Weber's Work in Global South/Transnational Context” roundtable. I was invited to participate by Amy Lind, and it was a fantastic opportunity to talk about a book that really influenced my understanding of international relations and how it can engage with queer theory. Here I am pictured with the rest of the roundtable participants including (in order to my right) Amy Lind, Maria Amelia Viteri Burbano and Pascha Bueno Hansen.

I had a chance to check out a couple other panels at the conference, including one with Jane Parpart and Laura Sjoberg, "The Gender Factor: analyzing peace, conflict & representaion". It was really wonderful to be able to spend time with so many feminist scholars while traveling in Ecuador! I love how traveling to new places always means meeting up with old friends when you're traveling to academic conferences.

After the day of the conference many of us queer and feminist scholars met for an elaborate meal at the restaurant Quitu. The meal must've been about 15 courses! Margaret, me and Jesse Crane-Seeber hung out at one end of the massive table learning about all sorts of new foods, some of which I posted pictures of on my No Freakin' Whey Tumblr here.

Thanks to a recommendation from Maria we stayed at the Stubel Suites & Cafe with an incredible view that also happened to be incredibly close to a vegan restaurant Tandana. You can see pics of the resturant, the meals we ate and a short video of a hummingbird we saw out the window while dining here. Not bad to be less than a five minute walk from a non-profit activist hub which happens to also make incredible vegan calzones! 

During the rest of the trip Margaret and I went to Mindo, Ecuador to stay at the eco lodge Casa Divina. While in Mindo we enjoyed waking up in the rain forest, went bird watching, and hiked to a water fall. During the morning bird watching outing our guide logged the 55 birds we saw with eBird. I certainly couldn't keep up with all the birds we saw/heard but the Blue necked tanager, Bannaquits, Blue-gray tanagers, hummingbirds and toucan were memorable.  It was truly paradise to go on a hike and see wild so many wild growing orchids along the path to the waterfall where we enjoyed a packed vegan lunch which included fresh passion fruit -  curiously textured fruit if you've never had it before! (I hadn't.)

Other sites we saw in Quito include taking the Teleferico to see incredible views of the mountains. We also went on a day long excusion on the Tren de los Volcanes on the Tren Ecuador to visit some towns outside of Quito, including a stop to visit with Alpacas in Cotopaxi National Park.

It was bittersweet to go home early because of a family emergency before I had a chance to spend time in Colombia where I plan to do research about the inclusion of LGBTQ individuals in peace accords. I look forward to collaborating with other folks who are working with Colombians to reflect on how/if reperations are being made to LGBTQ individuals harmed during the conflict as required by the peace accords. Here's hoping another trip to the country is in the cards soon.


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