Our first stop on the trip was to this place called Quito which is the capital of the city, which is the highest capital in the world, and pretty large. It was truly a city with buildings everywhere, houses going up all the mountains, buildings on top of each other, it was a beautiful city. The American Pan Highway goes threw Quito. Each embassy in Quito is allowed to have its own little park where they can put sculptures or people important to their country and then maintain it. We saw Egypts, Americas, and a couple others. In this city, Effi, our tour guide, said that Mormon was becoming more popular in the city of Quito but they welcome all religions. These people sounded really friendly and have been thus far.
Ecuador is the middle of the world and Quito is in the center of it, qui = center in Spanish. There are 4 regions with 14 different languages and 50% of the country is jungle. Pretty crazy, I can definitely get a jungle feel here because everything is so lush and green with moss growing on everything. So as we were driving around Effi told us that if we saw corn in the backyards it means that they are indigenous people and we have seen a lot of corn.
We had some fun things planned for this city. My group and I were able to help out a school of some homeless, some not children. We taught some English to some 3rd graders which was really fun and interesting but hard too since my Spanish is not that great. But the little kids loved us, they would hug us and try to talk to us even though we would say “no hablo espanol” ha. Then we painted the outside of their school AND gave their playground a face lift with some paint. My favorite part was decorating the tires for them. Of course I loved it, I am an artist!!! 🙂
We were in this city for three days so we could help out the kids school and such. The one afternoon we toured all of Quito seeing the town square, the presidents house, special churches everywhere and took a tour. The one thing that was interesting is that there was graffiti everywhere — some just writing some beautiful art pieces. Effi told us that graffiti is actually allowed in Ecuador and is not seen as bad because there are no gangs or anything. People are just signing their name and showing their art around the city. I love it.
Another thing we did in this city is have lunch at a locals house and it was SO delicious — honestly, everything I have eaten has been fresh, delicious and always a 4 course meal!!! Anyway, this house was a sanctuary — it was beautiful and had a beautiful view with cactus and beautiful flowers everywhere. The son of the house, Thomas, gave us a tour of their garden and animals that they had. I later found out that this place was used for weddings which I could totally see.
On Thursday, after helping the kids in the morning, we then took adventures in the afternoon. My group and I went to the equator museum where we took an hour tour to learn about the indigenous and do some fun equator science games!! We watch how the water would spin from clockwise in the northern hemisphere side & then how it went counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere BUT the craziest part was then the water was right on the equator — it did not even spin, it was just went straight down. WILD. We also had to try to balance an egg on a nail at the direct equator line. Everyone gave it a try and about 6 of us got it – I WAS ONE OF THEM 😛 Then we did more fun games like trying to walk on the equator line with our arms out. You could totally the gravitational pull on your arms. I was not good at this at all. I pretty much fell right away!
This night before we left, we all decided to have our first experience at the bars in Ecuador. It was SO fun!!! The boys had a cover of $10 but then they got two free drinks. We went to a place called Bungalow 6. It was a club and bar, DJ, music, dancing, it was great. The best part was it had four stories, a balcony, dance floors on each level, and these different rooms everywhere that you could just chill in. There was 10/17 that went out so we found a big room and bought a bottom of tequila. We also ran into our friend Thomas from lunch the day before!! It was so great to see him again and here more low down on Ecuador and his life. We all are now Facebook friends & invited him back to Colorado anytime.
On our way out of the city, we made another stop at an equator line where we learned a different way to view the world. The tour guide, not Effi, told us that north means left and our earth does not spin how we learn the counties with north on top. He was demonstrating how we should be teaching the new generations the correct way. Since our world spins on the equator, then north should be on the left and south on the right. Seeing the may this way was very interesting & it was crazy how different the countries all looked. We then had lunch at the best place to have milk — fresh avocados everywhere and every meal, just about, gave you soup before your meal. Here we had a cheese potato soup with avocado in it. IT WAS AMAZING.
We arrived at our next destination that afternoon called Otavolo.
Highlights from this city / these three days:
- Walking everywhere — the street we were on was called Gringo Land, which was a great name for it cause they were everywhere
- Seeing art everywhere — which I forgot to mention, all the hotels we have been staying out and even the restaurants are all real art, no prints or art you’d see at a Pier 1, I love it!
- Eating great food with multiple courses
- Helping the kids out & making a different in Ecuador— they were so precious
- Seeing the equator & doing fun science things
- Meeting a local that may be a forever friend
- Having the best group ever — I haven’t mentioned this yet but everyone in this group is so caring, helpful, genuine, fun, awesome, enthusiast, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be spending another 10 days with them.
- Love our tour guide & driver for the trip!
- The altitude — it definitely took me about 3-4 days until I felt normal
- Someone from our group got really sick 😦 BUT she is pushing threw and WILL get better after a lot of throwing up, two shots in the butt, 2 doctors and four ivies. CHESSA YOU ARE A CHAMP!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤
- Should of packed more wellness things for me — like more emergencies, allergy medicine, or any real medicine. I have never traveled for two weeks before so I just didn’t bring enough
- Not sleeping a lot — but only cause I want to see everything and do everything — I can sleep when I get back!!
Also just wanted to shout out to my two group leaders, Tonya & Natalie for being awesome guides with supporting us, letting us have some freedom & making up this awesome course for us to go on!! It has only been three days and I am already blown away by what we have seen and it is just the beginning.