Ecuador leg almost finished...
Trip Start Sep 16, 2005
6Trip End Ongoing
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So far its going well... well apart from when I arrived in Lima they lost my bag for a week. I wasn't really very struck on Lima which seems to be the general opinion and it is where I am suppose to be volunteering in about six months so i´m trying to change over to Cusco instead as I don't think I would like to spend a month there.
The host family I am staying with here are great they have really looked after me and they lent me clothes from one of the granddaughters while my bag was lost, she´s twenty and they fitted ok. I´m just glad to have my things back after careful consideration of what to pack and buying all those new things I didn't want to have to contemplate starting over. The food here is great and the people really nice, things are going ok with the Spanish but I wish I had a couple more months to stay here
Quito is really nice although majorly polluted and its hard to get to grips with how poor some people are compared with others! Theres people begging in the street, many street vendors of which quite a few are children and in contrast theres shopping centers with all the major highstreet shops so its a bit of a mind bender to say the least. I´ve met some really good people, at the language school its a mixture of people mainly from England, US and Holland. Quite a few of us started at the same time but all studying for different lengths of time with different onward plans Jay and Ishler are volunteering in the rainforest, Jenny and Gemma are both staying in Quito a little longer with a 6 week visit to the language school in Cusco to really perfect their spanish and then volunteering locally. Phil is volunteering on the Galapagos islands. Matt and Suzanne have travelled to Banos and then there off to Rio. Also Matt who was finishing up at the language school to continue travelling in South America. At the language school we study in the mornings from 8.30 till 1 and sometimes they have excursions in the afternoon or just a group of us will get together and go and do something.
We went with the language school to visit la Carcel de Mujeres the women´s prison here which was quite a eye opener
Now for some slightly less intense and more touristy stuff, I went up the cable car called the teleferiqo (http://www.teleferiqo.com) which goes up the slopes of pinchincha rojo or cruz loma I think its called which is one of the foothills to the pinchincha volcano. We went up in the afternoon and hadn't realized how much scope there was for hiking so decided that we would return earlier on the weekend and take our time as the altitude quite literally takes your breath away! When we returned on the weekend we hiked for about 6 hours in total with some of it getting pretty hairy at the end, just as we were reaching the top the cloud started to come in thick and fast so we had to move fast to get back arriving finally just before the heavens opened. Then they stopped the cable cars as there was a lightening storm and we were stuck for about two more hours
Another excursion with the language school was to the Mitad del Mundo the center of the earth where the equator crosses Ecuador. There are a couple of monuments to this, firstly a huge impressive monument but then next door the real center solar museum which is where the Indians said it was which has now been proven by GPS. Here you can have a tour where they do various experiments based around the equator and you also get to hear a little about the Indian way of life and see an original house and see original crafts.
We've had a few nights out to the Mariscal area of Quito otherwise know as Gringoland which was great fun as a big group. I may have rather warmed to my new favorite cocktail Mojitos. That is the decent ones made with proper white rum not the local sugar cane alcohol which leave you feeling rather rough around the edges. lol lets just say I felt interesting the day after a few of those when I went back to the mitad del mundo with one of the students who hadn't been there and proceeded to have stomach problems for a week or so after but I don't know if that could have been attributed to the ice in the place we were drinking probably made from tap water
Early monday morning four students including me and two of the teachers from the school met ready to go to the bellavista cloud forest reserve where we study for 4 hours per day and spend the rest of the time going hiking through the various trails with a guide and horse riding. You can check out the details of the reserve at the web site also take a look at some of my pictures including the group by the waterfall and our guide Gabriel who decide to jump in and take a shower in another waterfall!(http://www.bellavistacloudforest.com) The weather was quite cold and rained a lot but a good time was still had by all and the food was really good, shame my stomach wasn't up to much all week.
This week I´m finishing my studies at the language school and leaving my host family who have just had another student arrive. Saturday i´ll be departing for the next leg of my journey overland beginning in Caracas, Venezuela. Almost forgot we all took Salsa lessons at the school this week which was definatley a laugh! I´ve now seen the doctor about my stomach bug and I´m on some medications and feeling much better!
Thats all for now sorry its took a while guys,
Chao for now.
P.S.Dont forget to check out the pictures as I post them.