13 Feb


We didn’t have class on Friday, so my weekend started early. This week, we only have two days of classes before we go on educational trips to places where some of us may have our internships. My group, Salud Pública, is going to Otavalo and the surround communities to learn more about indigenous medicine. I believe we’ll be taking part in a traditional purification ceremony as well (unfortunately, minus the ayuhuasca).
~ Took forever by bus to arrive in Baños. It was one hundred percent worth it.
~ Natural thermal pools: one heated by the volcano (~115 F), the other one fed by fresh cold springs or the waterfall that was next door
~ Dinner at a great restaurant with friends. Mmm curry.
~ Whitewater rafting (super chévere, but it was only for a couple of hours… boo). Played in a little waterfall halfway through the trip. Before the last section of rapids, our guide Daniel shouted, “Who is ready for a rodeo?.” We were a bit confused at first, but understood when he told Toby to sit on the front of the raft and hang on with both hands. Toby got wet.
~ Returned to Baños, rented mountain bikes, and took a 21 km tour of waterfalls. With the traffic, the lack of a shoulder on the road, the curvy mountain passes, and the fact that most drivers had no fear of speed, the trip felt a bit precarious at times. We made it to the destination waterfall Pailón del Diablo without problem though. I miss being able to bike everywhere I want to go.
~ The waterfall was fantastic!! There were 5 different lookout decks, and the view from each one was breathtaking. We had fun hanging out with the falls for a while.
~ We took a truck back to Baños with two Argentinean men and our bikes. We ended up picking up three women who were walking their bikes on the side of the road. They were from Switzerland and didn’t speak great Spanish, but were learning.
~ Went out to dinner at the same restaurant as the night before (Casa Hood- we guessed that the owner was from Michigan because there were Upper postcards on the wall). I didn’t feel well, as I was probably fairly dehydrated, so went solo back to the hotel to shower and take a nap.
~Obviously I still went out that night. We hopped between two bars and had a fun time dancing. I’ll spare details for the benefit of my mom and her insistence on worrying about me.
~ Lazy morning. Got a pancake (which was the cakiest pancake I have ever eaten) and café con leche to subdue my chuchaki. We packed up our stuff and hung out in the central park before we had to board the bus back to Quito.
~ Listening to Jónsi and traveling through the mountains was magical.
~ Felt sick for most of the 5 hours on various buses home. Managed to refrain from retching when a definitively fishy smell entered and remained on the Trolebus in the last leg of the trip.
~ Got home, greeted my family, took an hour nap before dinner. My host parents like to see pictures of my trips and have fun sharing what they know about the places I have visited. They’re pretty fucking cool. My mom here is excited that I’ll be in Quito for most of next weekend and seems more pumped for my birthday than I currently am.
Muchisimo amor!



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