To see the pictures bigger, click on them and a new window will open! It’s worth doing for the scenic ones
Thursday was San Francisco’s celebration for their ‘birthday,’ an annual event featuring a band and providing cake and champagne. Yes, champagne, as much as you’d care to take. Morning classes were actually canceled so we could partake in the festivities. I did not go to my new classes, I actually changed them later that day. I was still pretty sick so I suffered through my yoga class (coordinating your breathing pattern when you can’t breathe is a bit difficult!) Even though I changed my classes so that I didn’t have Friday classes, I did the responsible thing and stayed in so that I can get better. Before I went to bed, my host mother gave me hot wine mixed with lemon according to a family recipe that claims to help recuperation from colds.
Not having classes today was such a relief. No waking up at 6 am! Instead I got to sleep in, then met Sarah to go to the park. Caroline Park is within walking distance, and fairly big. We first went to a SuperMaxi to pick up some snacks (I indulged and spent a dollar on pastries) before the park. We probably only lay out in the sun for an hour , but you can feel the difference in intensity – I think I felt my skin burning. Rebecca got off work early and met us at the park. We headed over to Quicentro, the main (and most expensive) mall. We went to Sarah and Rebecca’s favorite stores, but I was amazed at how expensive even the ‘cheaper’ stores are. I’m not a huge fan of shopping, but I almost miss the availability of cheap stores in the US. Some things (clothing wise) I wish I had brought:
- Boots: Given the climate, boots are definitely desired when going out. Flip flops (my norm) don’t quite cut it once the sun goes down
- Pea coat : Good jacket to wear when going out
- Jean skirt: They actually wear skirts quite a lot with leggings
- Belts/necklaces/scarves: Girls wear accessories quite a lot (remember, USFQ is justly known as the rich university), but these are rather cheap so I don’t regret leaving them behind
Here are some pictures of the park and surrounding areas:
Friday night we went to the historic part of Quito (Centro Histórico) with some Ecuadorians, including Mauricio. We didn’t get to thoroughly explore all the old churches and streets since it was night, but stayed in an area called Alameda. This consisted of interlocking streets of small shops and bars, and lots of people just walking along the streets. Many of the shops featured chocolate covered strawberries and canelazo. Canelazo is a popular, hot alcoholic beverage made of aguardiente (sugar cane alcohol), sugar, agua de canela (water boiled with cinnamon) and fruit juice. Since we didn’t get to explore, we made tentative plans to come back later in the week. Although we went to Mariscal afterwards, we didn’t stay out late since we had to get up so early in the morning.
Today was our day trip to a hacienda (farm/ranch) as a welcome to the international students. We had to meet at the bus stop at 7:30 am.. by bus it took roughly an hour to get there. The buses parked in a small town, but we walked through the town and out into the mountain to get to our final destination, the farm house. Pictures of the walk below, including buildings that were part of the farm:
A couple pictures of the gorgeous view:
At the house, they almost immediately began passing out beers. Rather than sit at tables with the other international students, Sarah and I opted to befriend some of the Ecuadorians instead and sit out on the hill and look out into the distance. It was pretty relaxing, and I didn’t really want to get up when the group moved down to the corral to begin the games. We split into teams and played a variety of games such as climb the greased pole, corn sac races, wheelbarrow racing, and more. Sarah and I had wanted to chase the pig, but it turned out that the pig was too big and fat to present much of a challenge.
About halfway through lunch, clouds began coming over the mountain. In the second picture below you can see them moving over the top of the mountain. It was a really cool sight to see, but within half an hour we were in the clouds. This made things outside of the tent a bit damp, and so they turned on music to which we could dance (mostly merengue). Although I had no idea of the steps, I danced with one of the Ecuadorian guys, Jose, who did a great job leading. All the twists and turns were so much fun, and it was definitely a work out. I actually found the salsa dances to be more difficult, but that may be because I danced with a different guy for those dances.
The ride back on the bus was not nearly as scenic since the countryside was covered in clouds. When we did get back, Sarah and I hung out with three of the Ecuadorian guys. Although the original plan was to go to Guapalo for outdoors festivities, the rain interfered with our plan and we instead decided to meet up later in Mariscal. True Ecuadorians, they showed up an hour late, but overall the night was a lot of fun and included plenty of dancing
Sunday morning I woke up without a voice. Although my voice doesn’t hurt, my voice is a whisper at best. Although I was originally going to go to the pool and a bbq with Sarah and Rebecca, I instead went out for lunch with my host family, watched movies (in Spanish) in the evening and talked to friends online. Monday was also a relaxed day, getting ready for my new classes the next day and meeting friends in the afternoon.
Updated photos can be found in the entry Ecuador, re-visted
Or, check out photos from the journey on my Photography Page
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