Yes, I am alive and well for those who have been wondering what I've been up to for the last couple of months. My apologies for not updating this sooner. I'm a slacker, mah bad (my mom just read this, and asked what "mah bad" means. embarrassing. haha) but I have been keeping track of everything in my journal so no worries. Plus, my computer was broken for about a solid 3 months here, and is now finally somewhat fixed and operating.
Let's roll back in time to the end of September.
My whole group from BCA went on a day trip to this cool place called Bomboli ( a private ecological hacienda in the Cloud Forest where a middle aged couple live "off grid"). This family grows a lot of their own vegetables/fruits, and they also sell homemade cheese and chocolate sauce.
The families main goal is to prevent deforestation from occurring. The man who owns the hacienda (Oswaldo) says you only need 3 things in life: "Amor, agua y comida" Translation: Love, water and food. The land around the hacienda was filled with beautiful orchids and medicinal plants. We also witnessed a man do crazy tricks on a pregnant horse. Not something you see everyday haha. After a tour of their property, we were served a delicious lunch. Probably one of the best lunches I've had here so far. Everything was homemade and made with the freshest ingredients. At the end of our day, we were able to buy fresh cheese that we saw them making earlier in the day. I also bought a small cup of their homemade chocolate sauce. Yum
During that week at school, I walked onto campus to find a Volkswagen car show taking place. Strange place to have a car show, but sure why not. The same week I was walking from class and found myself watching a break dance battle and rap performance. Every week at my school, there is always some sort of excitement. I love it, such a difference from studying at a school in the US. Super chevsss
Now for the month of October:
Went to Ecuador vs. Venezuela game with my friends Eric, Clay and Emily. Tickets were $20 for first come first serve seats. This was my second time at a national game, but this game was filled with fans throughout the entire stadium. The fans are nuts here, but it's honestly such an awesome experience to go to these games. Ecuador won 2-0, sick game!
The next night (October 8th) I went with my friend Clay to see David Bisbal perform live in Quito. (He's the guy who performed the song "Waving Flag" with K'naan at the 2010 FIFA World Cup). I only knew a few of his songs, but he was a fantastic singer. The funny thing is, the guy who opened up for David Bisbal, looked exactly like David. Clay and I thought it was legit David Bisbal himself for the the entire 15 minute performance. It wasn't until the crowd went wild when the real David came out, that we realized that was just an opener. Fail. but both were extremely talented and we had a great time!
That same night, I hit up a discoteca called "LIFE" with some of my chicas from BCA. I danced the entire night, and my salsa moves were on fiyaaaaaa. My dance moves always have a Latin flare in them now. It's going to be weird returning to the states when not a lot of people dance salsa or other Latin styles of dance lol.
The next week, I went to a fancy resort on Saturday (Oct. 15th) with Clay, Jordan, Eric, Madde and Emily. There's a website called WooW (http://www.woow.com.ec/terminos-y-condiciones) that is an Ecuadorian version of the US Livingsocial website. On this wbsite, my friend found a sweet deal for this gorgeous Botanical eco-lodge resort called "Arashá" which is about 2 hours from Quito (close to Mindo). The cost per person for one night is usually $60, but we got it for half off. Not too shabby. Our bus ride to Mindo cost us $2.50 a person (close to a 2 hr drive). So cheap, I know! Unfortunately, the bus couldn't bring us directly to the resort so we found a taxi driver who offered to take us in his van. We got the van for $20 total and it was the total gringo mobile. It was a clean, roomy van and the minute we hopped in, the van turned into a club on wheels. Our van had a sweet tv in it, and our driver played popular techno music vids for us, plus some Lady Gaga thrown in too. Already a good start to our stay.
Once we actually arrived to Arashá, we got settled in our rooms and decided what things we wanted to do for the day. We brought all our own food, so we pretty much lived off sanduches for the next day or so. We brought some of our own alcohol too, so we wouldn't have to spend much at the bar that was located right by the pool. We played an intense game of mini-golf, in which I was one of the two people to get a hole in one. wassss good. After, we explored the premises a little bit and saw that they were doing a lot of work to clear areas to build more hut like rooms. This was a bit sad to see because many trees were being cut down. Later on that night, my friend Madde had a serious conversation with our bartender about this. jaja
We swam a whole bunch during the day, and there was a jacuzzi as well. The pool and jacuzzi were only open until 10, but Madde and I befriended some of the staff so we were granted access to go night swimming. Awesomeee. Although the resort was really nice and peaceful, it definitely seemed more so for couples that wanted to get away for a while. We were pretty much the only young people staying at this resort, but we made our own fun. If we had more money to spend on the spa services and the classy food, we probably could have had a more enjoyable experience. Either way, we still had a great time with one another and it was relaxing to get away from Quito for the night.
I've seen a few movies here and they are always in English with Spanish subtitles. Tickets at most can be $4-5 a person, but usually you can get 2 for about $3-4 on certain days. I am not looking forward to returning home and getting my movie ticket for about $8 the cheapest! Everywhere in Ecuador, you can find legal stores that sell copies of all types of movies. Now I know this illegal in the US, but here they cost about $1.50-$2 a movie, and they are the BEST copies ever. Totally worth every penny, I've probably bought at least 8-10 DVDs now. My one friend has a collection of about 32! haha
As for my weekends, I'm done with class before 4pm on Thursdays. I usually go out dancing with friends or hit up a few chill bars for some drinks with a group of people. Every week I tend to meet new people that go to the same school as me. These last few weeks, I've met some really cool people. I love making new friends and just talking about all kinds of things. I think it's important to go out and just enjoy my time here. Before I know it, I'll be heading home on a plane back to the good ol' United States. At this exact moment in time, I only have 32 days remaining here! Just a little over a month, I honestly can not believe it!
That following week (Oct. 21st) I went out with a group of new friends I had met a few nights earlier (all Ecuadorian) to a concert at the Teleferico. Tickets were expensive so we kind of just sat outside and listened to the band perform. It was a popular band from Mexico called "Zoe". They're music was pretty good, but I don't think I heard of them before that night. Although I love hanging out with my American friends, I also enjoy going out with just Ecuadorians every once in awhile. It's great way to practice my Spanish and we always have interesting topics to discuss.
The following Tuesday (Oct. 25th), a new friend of mine invited me to come out to Trivia night at a pub called "Finn McCools" (it's basically all gringas and all the questions are in English hah). My team tied for 2nd place and lost to the first place team by half a point. womp wompp but hey, we won a free pitcher of beer!
This past week of school, my University planned a Harry Potter Themed week. They had a legit train display that was supposed to look like Platform 9 and 3/4. Inside the train, they were selling butter beer and many students/professors were dressed up as wizards. They also had games of quidditch set up on the soccer field which was really neat! I LOVE my school. I'm always excited to attend school each week, and there is always some kind of crazy/cool event taking place each week. I wish all schools in the US were like this!
Here comes my BIG Galapagos update:
So BCA and I left for our 9 day excursion to Los Galapagos! We took a 2 hour plane ride early Saturday morning (Oct.29th) and instantly arrived at the Santa Cruz Airport. I'll split this all up day by day, pretty much how I have it written down in my journal.
We met our tour guides for the entire trip (Juan and Julio). what a pair. jaja Juan was a very professional and knowledgeable tour guide and Julio was new to working with kids around our age. On one of our hikes, I asked Julio what he thought about working with our group. He said he absolutely LOVED working with us and was planning on working with young adults more in the future. Our first stay was on the island Santa Cruz. After our ferry ride to Santa Cruz from the airport, we all packed into a private van. Our first stop was Los Gemelos (The Twins), which are two pit craters. The view was gorgeous and filled with so much plant life. The temperature everyday was much warmer than Quito, so probably about 70ish/80ish *F everyday. At this sight, our tour guides went over the rules of the Galapagos with us (no standing less than 2 meters from the animals, no using flash when taking pictures of animals, etc.)
Once we loaded everyone back on the bus, we made a quick stop at the Escuba Cafe, the family owned hostel where we stayed the night. We had a yummy lunch and tried on some snorkeling gear that we would be using throughout the whole trip. I was miserable with my goggles because they constantly would fill up with water and would eventually get all foggy too. Totally ruined my snorkeling experience in the Galapagos, but whatevs. I got over it.
After changing into our bathing suits, we hit up Las Grietas which translates to "the cracks". We had to hike for about 30 minutes before we arrived at Las Grietas, which is where we went cliff jumping! I've never cliff jumped before, but hey, I'm in Ecuador so I'm down to try anything. I come from a family that has never been into extreme outdoor activities, or even anything as basic as skiing/hiking or going camping. Since I have lacked these high adrenaline rush activities growing up in my family, I take every opportunity now to experience these awesome experiences. The water we jumped in from the cliffs was very calm and deep enough where you didn't have to worry about smashing your legs into the bottom. I was glad to see my director take the first jump from the highest point of the cliff. It all looks really easy when your at the bottom looking up, but the minute you're at the top, your about to piss yourself. haha
So there's 3 different heights to jump from. I decide to at least start from the middle one, about 30 feet or so up. As I was looking down from the cliff, my heart was racing incredibly fast. I told my friends to count me off, which indeed was helpful. The jump lasts for probably no more than 2-3 seconds, but the toughest part is just releasing yourself from the edge. It's the best feeling though the minute you're in the air and about to meet the water. Some of my friends landed on their back side and let me tell you, it LOOKED painful.
After successfully completing my first jump, I decided I wanted to be one of the few people who jumped from the highest cliff (about 45 feet or so). I'm always a bit of a dare devil and love taking risks. Sometimes things don't work out too great, but life is all about taking risks and I'm not about to stop now. Just the hike to this part of the cliff was brutal. I was barefoot and the rocks were sharp and painful to step on. When I reached the top and looked down I could not believe I was about to do this jump. My friends on the middle and first levels looked so far away. My options were to either jump and be done in 5 seconds, or make my struggle back down the painful rocks with thorns all over the floor. I picked the jump obviously.
I had my friends count me down again, and I barely even remember how I got myself to jump away from the ledge of the cliff. Que miedoooo, but totally worth it. I hope I'll get another chance in the future to do more cliff jumping!
After cliff jumping, I returned to the lower part of the rocks and was getting my clothes and sneakers on. I ended up dropping one of my sneakers through a crack and legit thought it was a goner. Now it makes sense to me why this place translates to "the cracks" jaja. Luckily I managed to squeeze between the two rocks, and rescue my shoe. I'm sure my friends enjoyed watching me struggle to get this damn shoe.
That night we had some delishhh ice cream from a restaurant called "El Chocolate". Unfortunately the prices in the Galapagos are at least 20-30% more than in Quito. womp womppp.
We left our hostel and took a bus to the lava tunnels! Lava tunnels are carved by rivers of lava that would flow through because the outside cools and hardens faster than the inside, allowing the lava to continue flowing through. It was super dark and mucky in the tunnels but our guides filled us in on some cool stuff. We learned that various colors on the walls were an indication of different minerals mixed together (iron, sulfur, calcium, etc.). Some parts of the tunnel were very low to the ground, resulting in the group having to army crawl through.
After the lava tunnels, we made our way to Rancho Primacias, a private owned coffee farm that is open to the public because of the huge amount of tortoises that reside there. These tortugas were MASSIVE and it obviously opted for a perfect photo shoot with them. To tell the age of the turtle, you look at how many rings are on their shell. The more rings they have, they younger the turtle is. The less rings on a turtle, the older it is.
At the end of our tour, we were allowed to try on an old turtles humongous shell. It weighed quite a bit and was rather difficult to walk in. I managed to take 75 steps in it, top score for the girls of the group! But damn, it hurt so bad since the inside of the shell had any extremely sharp spinal cord like structure.
After chillin with the tortugas, we had lunch at the Escuba Cafe and were in route to the island of Isabella. We took a 2.5 hour boat ride in very rough water. One of the Japanese students from Soka University got terrible sea sickness. He ended up passing out on the floor of the boat and remained there until our arrival on Isabella. hah
So the minute we arrive to Isabella, we're greeted by our Chiva driver blasting the best song I've heard in Ecuador thus far. The driver was ready to go, and instantly got us all excited for our 4 day stay on this island. He was standing on top of the open doored wooden van, grabbing our bags to the beat of the song that was blasting. After hearing the song play multiple times every time we drove in the Chiva, I looked the lyrics up on youtube and sure enough, found the exact version. Here it is for your pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdRr9g49-aQ. We even had some sweet choreographed moves to this song.
Isabella was a very relaxing and laid back kind of island. Definitely less populated than Santa Cruz and not as commercialized. Our bus pulled onto a sandy road and we arrived to our beach front hotel. The beach on Isabella was gorgeous, especially when the sun set at night. Although all the hostels we have stayed in the past were perfectly fine, this hotel was a bit more on the luxurious side. It was semi-new looking and was very clean. And did I mention, we were no more than 20 feet from the beach? Can't ask for anything better than that.
That evening we ate dinner at a restaurant that served us 3 meals a day for our entire stay. The food was delicious and each meal was very fulfilling. That night we met some locals that were about our age. We all just chilled on the sand outside our hotel and had great conversation the whole night (another great way to practice our Spanish!).
So the next day, we woke up for breakfast at 7:30 and were all packed for our first snorkeling adventure. We needed to take a boat ride for about an hour and half in choppy water once again! Tad bit scary but I was on a boat with Alma, Madde, Emily, Masako and Junko. The best part is, we had the nicest boat, equipped with a bathroom! hahaha. While on the boat we saw thousands of iguanas just climbing cliffs, sea lions (lobos) chilling on rocks, some cool birds and 2 huge manta rays!So sickkk.
Our original plans were to head to "Los Tuneles" but the current was too strong for the boat to get in. Instead, our guides took us to El Difunto (the Dead) which was a spot that BCA has never gone to before. The entire land was composed of volcanic rock, and awesome tunnels that were formed as well. When the tide is high, it's impossible to walk around this area because the small pools fill up with water from the ocean. In the small pools of water, we saw two sharks (tiburones) and an array of vibrant colored crabs! The type of sharks we saw are called "white tipped reef sharks" and the crabs are known as "sally light foot crabs". They were the most beautiful crabs I've ever seen. Towards the end of the tour, I was walking around with my director Daniel, and a few other friends. We witnessed a huge sea lion making an escape from sharks that had spotted the sea lion from far away. Luckily, the sea lion escaped, but the two sharks began to fight with one another. We're not sure what caused them to act aggressively, but it was really cool to watch!
After exploring the volcanic island for an hour and a half, we enjoyed our boxed lunches that the restaurant prepared for us. They really hooked us up with the best meals. Sitting on the rocks, I got to enjoy both my lunch and the beautiful view of the ocean. The water was crystal clear and looked like something straight out of the Bahamas. After lunch, we got our snorkel gear and hopped right in the water at the same location we explored earlier. Although my goggles failed miserably, I still saw some of the coolest species while snorkeling. We snorkeled with SHARKS, sea turtles and lots of fish. I saw a huge starfish and multiple kinds of sea urchins. It was a bit scary to think how close the sharks were to us, but in reality they are more scared of us than we are of them. When I was little, sharks of all kinds were my favorite type of animal. Not sure why, but it was still awesome to be able to swim with them since they were something I always I had an interest in as a child.
After snorkeling, we returned home, showered and had another fantastic dinner. Later at night we hit up a local bar called "Iguana" and I actually saw a few people from USFQ that I knew which was pretty cool. My friends and I had a great time dancing with the locals but made sure not to go to bed too late since we needed to rise early again the following day!
This day, we set out for our 6 hour hike on Volcan Sierra Negra which is an 18km wide crater! The beginning part of the hike was very foggy and the air was filled with mist. We encountered a look out point of the crater and it was just massive. The bottom was filled with dark hardened lava. Even though there wasn't much plant life at the bottom of the crater, it still was a beautiful site. The last time this volcano erupted was on October 26th, 2005. Luckily, nothing happened while we were hiking our way through!
It was neat as we continued to hike, because the terrain would change instantly. One minute you would see green plants and dark soil, but within a couple of steps you felt like you were in the desert. Cacti everywhere and hard lava rocks all over the place. I was in the front of the pack so we reached the top of the crater before the others caught up. It was a breathtaking view and was well worth the hike through volcanic matter. We had another great boxed lunch while overlooking the view of the ocean and volcanic plant life. We had about another 3 hrs left to hike back, and by the time we finished the hike we were all filthy and burnt to a crisp. The whole right side of my face and neck were severely sunburned. I pretty much got a 2nd degree burn on my ear because it began pussing the next day. Kind of gross but my friends got a good joke out of my peeling/pussing ear. hahhaha
This day we took another boat ride to a small islet which was called Isla Tintoreras (white-tipped reef shark). This island was very similar to some of the others we have visited but it's made up of “aa” volcanic rock. It's called “aa” because when you walk on it, you say Ah ah due to the sharpness of the rocks. Marine Iguanas were EVERYWHERE on this island. Even though they're really ugly, it's fun to watch them because they literally hangout out on top of each other. They don't even care if another iguana is taking a free ride on their back. so funnyyy. On this islet, we spotted a penguin swimming in the ocean! The only one I saw the entire trip in the Galapagos.
After walking around a bit, we got in the water again to snorkel. This time I saw 8 HUGE tortugas beneath me in the water. I wish I had a waterproof camera to have taken pictures to prove it! Several times, the turtles would swim up for air. They were close enough to touch! but obviously we weren't allowed to do that. But it honestly was such a cool experience, that I can't even put it nto words.
After snorkeling in this area, we took boats back to Isabella and went to another secluded islet that was close to the docks. Here we swam and played games with a sea lion! It was so playful and loved having us chase after him in the water. Everyone was splashing like crazy after the sea lion, so I stayed back a little and sure enough the sea lion would fly past me in multiple directions. The sea lion would swim directly at you, but right before he was a foot from you, he'd do a flip and swim away. So cute! and so fun! Not everyone gets the chance to say they snorkeled with all these types of animals!
Later that day we checked out a turtle breeding station. Here we saw tons of baby turtles and even at 8 years, they are still quite tiny! We took our bus to an area where a flock of flamingos were stationed. Their feathers were so pink and by the way their legs moved in the water, it seemed like they were dancing. Super chevere.
After checkin' out the flamingss, we visited "el muro de las lágrimas" (wall of tears). During WWII, the Galapagos was used as a US Military Base. In order to keep the prisoners busy, US soldiers forced prisoners to build a wall made out of volcanic rock. We hiked up the steps to the top of the wall, and got a view of how high up the wall went. After our tour of the wall of tears, we headed back to the hotel for dinner. On the ride home, I saw a gathering for el dia de los difuntos (all souls day, but it's similar to "day of the dead"). There were alters set up along with a collection of items that had meaning to the person being celebrated. It was pretty cool to see first handed.
For our last supper on Isabella, the restaurant owners went all out on an extravagent meal. We had huge barbequed lobster tails. They didn't serve the lobster tails with melted butter, but the seasoning on them was all they needed. They were superb!
We woke up at 5am to take a boat back to Santa Cruz. A few people from BCA returned to Quito, but a total of 15 of us remained in the Galapagos on our own for the next 3 days. Some stayed in Santa Cruz, but I ventured out to another island with Clay, Eric, Madde, Alma and Emily. We had to pay $25 for a boat ride to to the island of San Cristobal but it was well worth the price. San Cristobal is known for the massive amount of lobos (sea lions) every where. We also have two friends who attend USFQ's San Cristobal campus, so it was nice to see familiar faces!
After the 2 hour boat ride, we were in search of a cheap hostel. We found one for 10 bucks a person per night. It was clean and had hot water. It looked very new from the outside, but perhaps they ran out of money to invest in updating the inside of the rooms. Although we found small red spots on the tile floor, which indeed did look like splatters of blood, everything else was fine so we just made sure to never walk barefoot. hahaha
After taking a hot shower, we all went out for a nice dinner. We found a cute little place known for its ceviche and seafood dishes. I got a yummy plate of rice and camarones (shrimp). It was good, but hugeee so it made a nice lunch for the next day. After traveling all day, we were exhausted and went to bed early around 11ish.
Clay and Emily have their scuba diving certification so they went out on an 8 hr scuba dive excursion. The rest of us explored the town a little bit and rented some snorkel equipment for only $5 a person. Because of the severe sun burn I received the day we hiked on the volcano, my face began to peel only on the right side. It looked horrible and was a bit painful since the skin underneath was slightly raw. ouchhh. After walking around a bit, we found a cool rocky area that let out into the water. Here we swam with sea lions again, but this time they weren't as playful. They kind of just hung out and did their own thing. They had no interest in us and just minded their own business. After laying out in the extremely hot/strong sun, we set out in search for another place to snorkel.
We walked on a trail for about 30 minutes to another location that opened up to the ocean. There were a few sea lions in the distance but I didn't come across any while snorkeling. This water was super clear and calm, so it was neat just swimming around and looking at all the massive rocks beneath us. Any time I tried to swim down a bit deeper, my ears instantly felt like they were about to pop. I'm guessing it's because of the pressure from the massive body of water we were swimming in? Who knows. lol
That night we ate dinner at a cute cafe called "The Mocking bird". Our friends Miranda and Bryce joined us for dinner and afterwards they took us to a local bar that they enjoy going to. This bar was also called "Iguana" something and was filled with gringos who attend the USFQ San Cristobal campus. At first I was kind of bored since it seemed like all your typical gringo bars, but things got interesting when our bartender asked me to salsa dance with him. Turns out he's a salsa instructor on the side, and he sure as hell made me look like a professional. After a few pilsners with good friends, we were all enjoying ourselves and the crazy topics of conversation we had. Good way to end our last night on San Cristobal!
Madde, Keiko and I decided to head back to Santa Cruz with the rest of our group for our last day/night in the Galapagos. The rest of the gang was staying in Cafe Escuba again (same hostel from our 1st night in Galapagos) so we joined them in one of their rooms. It costs us $10 more per person per night here than it was in San Cristobal, but it was a nice hostel and breakfast was included as well.
Once we were settled in our room, we all got dressed and hopped in the back of a truck en route to "la playa Garropatero" (known as tick eater beach). This was a very small beach, but it was one of the most gorgeous beaches I have been to in my life. For about 5 hours we swam in the calm, warm water and also built an epic sand castle. We had handstand competitions and soaked up some sun. Overall, it was a very relaxing day and a great way to end our stay in the Galapsss. After the beach, we ate dinner at a pizza place for one last night in the Galapagos and did a little souvenoir shopping.
After having breakfast at 7am, we crammed into taxis and went to the bus station. We took a van over to the ferry's and got to the airport on time to check in for our flight. As you can tell, I had the best time of my life in the Galapagos. I have learned so much from this trip and have left with some great memories. Everyone should try and make a trip here sometime in their life if possible!
Some updates with my internship:
I have about 130 hours completed and have 70 more to go. Although I love the Social Worker I work with, I really feel that I am not gaining much from this experience. Some days there is a lot to do, but most of the time we have no work to do for a solid 8hrs straight. A typical day usually consists of Fabiola sitting on the computer just looking around at different files. I'm left sitting in my sit next to her just staring at the documents she's reading through. Days like this leave me with a lot of time to think and also write lists of things I need to get done. Since there was no work to do last week, one of the nurses asked me if I could get some work done in the historia clinica room. This is the room that contains all files of every client that has recieved services from ABEI. It contains over 24,000 Historia clinicas and my job was to search through all of them and look for folders that were not placed in chronological order. Although I did this for 6 hrs straight, it was honestly better than sitting in the office with nothing to do. I was at peace listening to my iPOD and I actually felt somewhat productive for once at my internship. This past Monday, I finally did something cool out of the office. Fabiola and I attended a conference on a debate about "la ley de discapacidad" (disability law). It was interesting to see how many professionals came out to support those with a disability. There were many people participating in the conference who had a hearing impairment. Through out the entire conference, there was an interpreter at the front of the room translating every sentence being said using sign language. After interning at ABEI I am well aware that this type of Social Work is not for me. I still have an interest in Geriatric Social Worker, but now I want to look into SW in a hospital setting. I need to work in a fast paced environment with lots of action to keep me busy!
As for this past Sunday (Nov. 13th) I went on a day trip with BCA to Quilotoa. We took a private bus and made the 3.5 drive all the way from Quito. Quilotoa is a beautiful volcanic lake which is located in the middle of several indigenous communities. We stopped off at small indigenous tienda that sold colorful acrylic paintings. They had really nice hand crafted sweaters and figurines as well.
The walk down Quilotoa wasn't too bad, just very slippery because of the sandy/loose dirt. When we reached the lake, I ran into my tour guide Alejandro that brought Dana, Laura and I to Otovalo. He was obviously bringing people on a tour, but it was so funny to see someone I knew almost 4 hours outside of Quito. Like I've said 1000 times this trip, it really is a small world. Quito is a big city and I have seen so many people I know in the most random places!
At the lake, you can either rent a kayak or a big raft that fits up to 8 people. The kayaks were all taken, so my friends and I jumped in the raft. 6 girls trying to paddle at the same time is not a good idea. We spent the first 10 minutes just trying to keep the raft moving in a straight direction. After a little while, we sort of got the hang of it. We eventually gave up and brought it back after 20-25 minutes of struggling out in the water. Either way, it was still a fun and memorable experience.
Going back up the volcano we could either walk or take a horse/mule (caballo). If it was any normal day, I would have chosen to hike back up. This particular day I was dead from the night before and had terrible cramps to go along with it. The best option was to go for the caballo and you bet I did. It was pretty funny riding the horse up but I felt bad for the young kids that follow the horses up. The horses only do 2 trips a day, but the poor indigenous people must go up and down this volcano at least 4-5 a day! Unbelievable. Once back up at the top, we had lunch and a few minutes to look for soveingnors. After a long day, we took the bus home and arrived in Quito at 9pm.
These past couple of days have been pretty busy. Yesterday I decided last minute to go to the Ecuador vs. Peru game. Best decision ever! The entire stadium was filled with a sea of yellow and the fans are locooo! Luckily my friends had seats because I was only arriving about 45 minutes before the game started! I ended up buying my ticket in the taxi and got it for only $15! Not too bad of a price when the game is that close to starting! The first half was kind of lame, but the second half had madddd action. Ecuador had posession of the ball almost the entire second half. The minute they scored their first goal, the crowd went wild in celebration. People throwing beverages up in the air and shouting ridiculous things at the opposing team. Right towards the end of the 2nd half, Ecuador scored their 2nd goal and ended the game with a score of 2-0!
Today, I had a bunch of stuff to do (aka finish this blog posts, and YES I finally am completing it). I also have a group role playing presentation tomorrow for my Spanish Conversation class. Only problem is, my group hasn't started it, and it's almost 11pm. Mierdaaaa. But anywho, I decided earlier today to get a new piercing. I've wanted a double tragus piercing for about 2 months now, so I just went and got it done today. Piercings are wayyyyy cheaper here, and I got the 2 peircings for only $14! That includes the 2 earrings as well. I know back in the states, this kind of piercing costs at least $30-$60! and that might not even include the earrings. Such a steallll, just hope it doesn't get infected. hahahha I was thinking it was going to hurt really bad, but it honestly was not bad at all. The video of me getting it done is actually way worse. Even now, I haven't felt any discomfort. The funny thing about peircings in Ecuador, is people believe in not eatting/drinking certain things. Apparently for 8 days, I'm not supposed to consume any type of chocolate, spicy stuff, pig?, peanuts, etc. I have no clue why but anyone I've spoken to about this has told me the same thing. Strange, but oh well, that's Ecaudor for you.
I can't wait to get this presentation over with tomorrow so my weekend can begin! I'm going to Baños early Friday and will be returning late afternoon on Saturday. Baños is a sick place to go for extreme sport kind of things. I plan on going Puenting (which is like Bungee jumping off of a bridge) Canyoning (repelling yourself down a waterfall, and white water rafting which is pretty self explanatory. My cousin Dana will be visiting me again on Saturday for about a week! Hopefully we can make our way to Cuenca or Guayaquil for a couple of days next week!
Obviously I am having the time of my life and am feeling a bit sad that I will returning back to the states in about 4 weeks! I have made some great friends here and also amazing memories that I will never forget. Coming to Ecuador was the best decision of my life, and I'm grateful to have parents that have supported my decision both emotionally and a bit financially. SO big thanks to DEB and GIUSEPP. you guys are the best. I'm bitter sweet about leaving Ecuador, but words can't explain how excited I am to be reunited with all my friends and family. I have never been away this long entirely from friends and family, so I'm excited to update one another on our lives for the past 5 months. Thank god for my journal, otherwise I would not have been able to remember all of these facts and stories!
For the remainder of my last month here, I will try and stay on top of things! I also will be doing my best to see as many things as posssible before my departure! I hope you all enjoyed this extremely long post about my most recent adventures!
Until next time, hasta luegoooo mis amigos!
P.s. pictures will be coming soon to match up with their descriptions! Writing about everything was the least I could do! jaja =]