Title: I´m loving it here... Location: Quito, Ecuador
So it´s been (yet again) another busy week of super fun activities... really, I´m loving it here in Ecuador - it´s fast becoming my new favourite country! Last week was full of tours and trips. Tuesday afternoon I visited a museum in the Old Town with a complete history of the development of Quito from pre-Incan times to this century. Pretty interesting, but even more, I enjoyed being in the Old Town... it is incredibly beautiful... plus I LOVE both history and archetecture - two qualities that the Old Town has in abundance.
Wednesday I took a trip with the school and my friend from Germany to the ¨middle of the world¨. Great fun! And now I have been to both the middle markers in the world... the Prime Meridian when I backpacked in Europe 5 years ago, and now El Mitad Del Mundo, in Ecuador. In the evening on Wednesday, my friend and I and another friend, Luke, from Georgia, went to Papallacta and relaxed in the natural volcanic hot springs.... sooooo nice!
Thursday night Luke, Anna, another German girl, Sophie, and I left on a 7.5 hour bus trip to the jungle town of Tena, in the eastern part of Ecuador. We arrived at 4am, slept 3 hours, and then got up and joined a tour to go rafting in the jungle... I can´t even explain how incredible the jungle is... it´s surreal. Plus the rafting was an absolute blast. The company, River People, was excellent and loads of fun, with lots of playing in the river, swimming and sliding down waterfalls. Friday night we slept in a small indigenous community in the jungle. Amazing food!! And the walk through the jungle the next day was fascinating... we found the natural counterparts to make-up, nail polish, perfume, candy, and glow-sticks... everything for a great party... ha. Also, I saw a very large and poisonous tarantula that the locals dug out of the ground from underneath our cabin... they say they only come out at night... yuk!!! We went tubing down the river in the afternoon, and then returned to the town (Tena) for the evening, where the four of us had a great evening drinking wine beside the idyllic riverside, and then danced with the locals in a bar until the wee hours and practiced our Spanish on them. Up again early the next morning for another bout of rapids with the River People. These ones were about a class 4, they told me, so a bit more technical and bigger. Again, SO much fun, and SO incredibly beautiful. Oh yeah, and I have to mention that we went swimming in a river lagoon first, with a waterfall and a 6m high cliff... and I JUMPED OFF OF IT!!!! What a rush!!!!!
We returned to Quito late Sunday night... I have to say that I was terribly sad to be leaving Tena. It´s such a pretty little town, about 25000 people, very peaceful, and stunningly beautiful. And as always, it´s the people that make a place what it is, and I really enjoyed the people I met in Tena... perhaps I´ll return someday... maybe even live there!
Anyway, I´m back in Quito, and I moved out from my host family´s home and into a hostel in the Mariscal... aka gringoland. I'm really happy with the Spanish school. I located the school online before I left on this adventure. I recommend that you do the same. The website is 123TeachMe.
It´s pretty cool here in the Mariscal. I started taking private Salsa lessons. Right now, I´m just passing time until I meet up with some friends and we´re going out to a bar tonight.
As for what´s to come... well, I was going to go to Peru next week, after a weekend stop in Guayaquil, but there´s a big festival in Guayaquil, and so it´s probably going to be too crazy for me and my travel buddies to that city so I think I may stay in Ecuador a little longer and go the next weekend instead. Which means that next week I may go to watch the World White Water Rafting Championship, and meet up with some of the people I met from Tena (I hope). Don´t know as of yet, but that's the joy of traveling!!!!