We spent a lot of time on dirt roads this weekend. Started off going to our friends Andrew and Claire's property out near Mindo on Sunday (Saturday being the laze about and do little of anything day). They recently purchased about 25 hectares of land of undeveloped land about an hour and a half ride down a dirt road off the panamericana. They want to leave most of the land untouched and allow the cloud forest to continue to grow, but are planting some little baby cacao and lemon and a variety of other trees in a hectare or so of their land.
A hectare, by the way, is 10,000 meters squared, as I learned this weekend.
We walked around a bit, ate a picnic, and generally hung out in the country.
On Monday, we stopped by another friend of a friend's coffee farm closer to the city, but, again, about an hour drive down a dirt road. Tromped around in various fields of coffee, and sugar cane, and undeveloped land. It was amazing to see the difference in environment between the first place (largely undeveloped, with lots of forest and very, very wet) and the second area (largely developed, few trees, and very, very dry) considering that, despite the travel time between the two "tracts of land", they're really very close to each other. Made me worry about the future of our planet (not sure if it made me worry any more than usual, though). We had a chance to check out a nearby sugar cane mill, too, where they produce a sugar like substance - like a cross between brown sugar and molasses called panela (I think) - from the cane.
All in all, a good weekend. Maybe not the bbq heaven of a traditional labor day, but a good and relaxing time.