Sorry for the failure to update in quite some time! I have been studying for a large exam in my medical Spanish classes on top of my homework so I have been quite busy the last few days since returning from Puerto Lopez! But here’s an update on the weekend as well as the beginning of this week!
Day 6 (Friday): The school hosted a lunch of a typical fish plate which I believe was tilapia (picture below) along with salsa, and yuca. It was delicious, aside from eating the bones on occasion oops! Classes were after, which were interesting as always and then straight from there I prepared for our voyage to Puerto Lopez. We ended up having to take two buses to get there since the original bus company had overbooked so we left around 10 p.m and people are very fascinated when they can practice their English with people from the United States. I met the sweetest woman waiting at the bus stop who is a teacher and has been studying English and she didn’t even want me to speak Spanish to her because she told me she’d like to practice her English with me.
Day 7 (Saturday): After a very long, tiring trip to Puerto Lopez, we finally arrived! Puerto Lopez is known as the Galapagos for the poor, but still is very beautiful with many interesting places to see and travel to! Our first day here we traveled right outside of the city border to a place called Agua Blanca, which is a community where an indigenous community once lived and where members of a family still reside to run the small museum and reserve that they have. We got a tour of the forests and then were brought to a sulfur spring that looked like a huge swimming pool. There you were able to put on the “magic mud,” which is supposed to rejuvenate your body and skin so of course the four of us girls put it on and got to jump into the sulfur water! The only downside to that is you smell like hardboiled eggs afterwards. We then returned to Puerto Lopez a few hours later and ate traditional Ecuadorian dishes. After dinner we went shopping around the small shops and stands that run down one of the main streets across from the beach and bought hammocks which are very popular in Puerto Lopez! The night ended early because the next day included an early morning preparing for whale watching!
Day 8 (Sunday): After getting up bright and early we went to a small restaurant that served us a traditional breakfast of a type of bread, butter, marmalade, and cheese with freshly squeezed juice. We then boarded the boat and took about a 1 1/2 hour trip to Isla de Plata (Island of Gold). The island is not actually made of gold, but our tour guide told us that the rocks that surround the shore which have bird poop all over them and appear white, used to appear to shine like gold to sailors and other people who were near the island, hence its name. When we got right outside of the coast of the island, we saw humpback whales! They were huge and such a beautiful sight to see them jumping out of the water! They were so incredibly close to the boat it was amazing. When we docked by the island, we then took a 2 hour hike up the mountains of the island, learning about the various medicinal plants, and being inches away from the wildlife that lives there, including the blue footed booby bird! We got to see them starting to try and mate by dancing around each other and all the noises the males make in order to impress the females! We then boarded the boat again and got the opportunity to snorkel right off the coast near the rocks of the island which was awesome. The fish were were close, and you saw rays and all types of coral and everything. Although the water was quite cold, it was definitely worth it! We then took a cold ride back to Puerto Lopez and ended the night with a simple Pollo a la Plancha which is in essence a grilled chicken filet with rice and beans. We then had to catch the bus back at 8pm and we drove through the night.
Day 9 (Monday): After arriving home at 5am from the bus, I slept in and just relaxed for the day Monday. I had classes in the afternoon and after just came home and had a nice dinner with my host mother, another student Abi, and my house mother. My house mother had a very deep conversation about her life lessons and it was so sweet of her. It was a nice girls night if you will!
Day 10 (Tuesday): I woke up early to go visit El Centro Historico (Old Town). There I viewed a few beautiful churches, had a museum tour, walked around the main Plaza, Calle La Ronda, and then took a taxi up to El Panecillo which is a huge statue of the Winged Virgin and also where you can get great views of the entire city of Quito. (Pictures below) Learning about the culture, independence, and history of Quito was very interesting for someone who doesn’t necessarily get along with the subject of history! The churches were beautiful and I wish I could share more pictures, but most of them do not allow you to take pictures. I used a travel book of Ecuador that included the prices, opening times, and tips of what to look for throughout the churches, museums, etc. which turned out to be very helpful and interesting while touring the places by myself! I then took a taxi back home, which is considered New Town, and headed to classes completely exhausted!
Day 11 (Wednesday): After a long day yesterday, I decided to take a break from sight seeing and just slept in and relaxed for the morning. Classes were this afternoon again, and I have a test coming up on Friday on everything I have learned thus far which is a making me a little anxious but I keep studying as much as I can! Tomorrow, I plan on waking up early and going to visit El Parque de la Mitad del Mundo, which is where they have created a line that shows where the Equator is supposed to be but I have recently learned that they are about 600 ft. off!
Hopefully tomorrow I will have more pictures to share and time to post again!