Well, we flew into Ecuador around 11:00 two nights ago and made it to our hotel. It’s a beautiful old building, with all sorts of hidden corners and twisting hallways. The next day we woke up pretty early, ate a breakfast of bread, eggs, and watermelon juice (that was delicious) before heading out for a day of touring the capital of Ecuador, Quito.
In the city we saw several of the main plazas, I ate a Magnum bar (definitely a highlight), and toured a beautiful church. Then we headed out to the equator line as well as the point of 0’0’0 where we watched all the cool demonstrations about things you can do on the equator. Some members of our group were even able to balance an egg on a nail. Afterward, we headed back, saw several more sites in Quito.
Today, we did some more touring outside of Quito, seeing the gorgeous mountains, valleys, and volcanoes along the way. Later in the afternoon we went to a market in the middle of the mountains and did some bartering for all the goods they sell there. I’m pretty terrible at bartering, I decided. I just give in too easily. But I did get a beautiful scarf, a bag, and a couple of other gifts. We ate lunch in another town that produces leather before heading back to Quito to catch an indigenous ballet. That was very interesting on a cultural level; there was a definite mixture of Spanish and indigenous influences in their costumes and dances.
Right now we’re getting ready for bed because we leave for Cuenca at 7:30 tomorrow morning. It will be a 7-8 hour bus ride through the mountains, and then, at the end, we’ll meet our host families. I’m still pretty tired from traveling, but I’m very excited to be here surrounded by mountains, volcanoes, the Ecuadorian culture, and SPANISH!