If you go to Otavalo market on a weekday it is impressive.åÊ You think about the fact that you have been told it is the largest arts and crafts market in South America and you come away satisfied. Then you go on a Saturday.åÊ The noise, the colour, the crush, the sheer overwhelming abundance of life is senses shattering.åÊ I would guess that it is eight or ten times the size of its weekday self.åÊ I have changed the schedules of all our trips: Otavalo on a Saturday, put it in your list of things to do before you die.   The Amazon basin is vast, truly eye bogglingly vast.åÊ There is a pull-in on the road from Papallacta down into the ‰ÛÏOriente‰Û, as it is called in Ecuador, from which you can look out east across miles upon miles of green.åÊ It is the sort of view in which you have to think in terms of the curve of the earth rather than simply the horizon.åÊ It inspires you to think about the few ‰ÛÏlost tribes‰Û who get on with their lives out there without broadband, Coca-Cola and, for the most part, metal and the wheel.åÊ Globally significant and hard to take in.   There are quite a few live volcanoes in Ecuador: Tungurahua erupted in 2010.åÊ These mountains form, in most cases, perfect cones, like children‰Ûªs drawings of mountains.åÊ Many are snow capped.åÊ Tungurahua still smokes occasionally.åÊ You can climb Cotapaxi, but when you are on it you may want to remember that this mountain, in 1877 ‰ÛÒ about 3 seconds ago in geological time ‰ÛÒ managed to spew lahars (mudflows) during one of its eruptions as far as the Pacific coast, which is about 100kms away.åÊ åÊåÊIn Ecuador the ground itself is animate. Machalilla National Park on the Ecuador coast, and site of Camp Ecuador‰Ûªs Costa Camp, has been described as the love shack of the humpback whale.åÊ No one knows for certain why they breach – åÊshow of strength, mating ritual, extreme breathing technique, getting rid of parasites are all considered possible ‰ÛÒ but when they do you can see the splash from many miles away.åÊ And, particularly in June/July/August, you are likely to be much, much closer than that: it is hard to avoid the clichÌ©s of ‰Û÷majestic‰Ûª , ‰Û÷powerful‰ÛªåÊ (‰Û÷awesome‰Ûª if you are an American) except to say it is sort of dribblingly staggering and life affirming   One for the boys:åÊ Dolores, who cleans our house, calls me ‰ÛÏDon Damian‰Û.åÊ Come on now, admit it, ‰ÛÏDon‰Û: you understand. Damian Scott-Mason Director Camp Ecuador