Thursday, January 21, 2010

First trips

Primeramente my camera is broken - and not because I dropped it for once! Someone else did. Hah. But my darling mother is sending me her old one so hopefully it will make it here within a few years and I can start actually taking pictures of my trip.

It is amazing how I went from feeling like I have all the time in the world here to feeling like I'm running out of time already to do everything I want to! This is such an incredible country and I'm starting to think that two months from now I'm going to feel like I've barely scratched the surface.

I've logged so many hours on buses over the last week but its been so worth it. Last friday afternoon we had a tour of colonial Quito and learned how to ride the buses, just in time for our trip to Baños! We only had a two day weekend but a group of 10 of us decided to go for it so we hopped on a bus after our tour. We arrived in Baños pretty late and suddenly realized that it was a little naive to expect to find a hostel with 10 beds open, but luckily we ran into this great (and also extremely pregnant) lady named Carla whose hostel was full but she set us up in her friend's for the night. It was not in the best condition but we were tired and grateful for a place to sleep. The conditions of the room ended up making the night completely hilarious. We managed to break a chair, and the ceilings were so low that there was also a small incident with one of the guys colliding with one of the lightbulbs resulting in an explosion of glass all over the bathroom and the rest of us collapsed laughing on top of each other on one of the lumpy beds. Always an adventure. We also realized at about 4 in the morning that we were right next to a compound of several roosters, which made for a lovely wake up call...

The next day definitely made up for it though. Dear little Carla came and got us in the morning and took us to her hostel which was beautiful and had the most incredible breakfast ever. After fresh pineapple and strawberry juice, eggs, pancakes, papaya and pineapple and fresh bread from the top floor of the hostel complete with views of the jungle and waterfalls, she set us up with guides for canyoning. Our guides were hilarious, and after a crazy ride in a rickety van up into the jungle we got dropped off at this little hut where we changed into wetsuits and harnesses. We then hiked up a little further until we got to the top of the Rio Blanco and from there rappelled down four waterfalls and then got to slide down a short one and the bottom. SO FUN.

After we went back into the town and had Fondue for dinner which was amazing and only $10! But even that felt like a huge splurge considering how much we usually spend on meals here. After dinner we changed back into our bathing suits and relaxed in the local hot springs (naturally heated by the nearby volcano which was apparently erupting at the time but we didn't know). We went back to the hotel to change to go out,and then accidentally ran into our guides outside a bar and they bought us a round of fire shots! The bar was really fun so we just decided to stay there for the rest of the night. The DJ started mixing in american music for us, and it was really fun dancing and hanging out with the locals for the rest of the night. Such a great first trip :)

We had our first CIMAS field trips this week too! But more about those later because I'm exhausted and need to get to bed becuase we're getting up early to go and visit a local Cancer center tomorrow - should be really interesting I can't wait!

Buenas noches x

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