Oh My Gato!

Sunday, November 09, 2014
Banos, Ecuador

We got back to Cuzco around 10 on Halloween night . You can just imagine how crazy that was. There were people everywhere and all we wanted to do was get to our hostel and get ready for our flight to Lima. After hiking up the school hill one more time we retrieved our bags and walked to our hostel.

We got up fairly early for the plane to Lima and arrived safely to Hostel Espana around midday.

We explored a little around the bustling city and had lunch at a Peruvian restaurant where I tried Ceviche for the first time. Ceviche is like the Peruvian version of sushi. Let's just say it was very interesting and I'm glad I tried it, but I did not order it again.

Afterwards we explored the city more and ran into a mini artisan market where we found some very interesting hats. We all think Arvind should grow out an afro now.

For dinner we went to a really good Palestinian place and had shwarmas and falafel's . We were all craving to see an American movie in a movie theatre so we walked down to the Cine Center to see which movies were playing. We saw that the new horror movie Annabelle was playing so we decided to see that, praying that it was in English. No such luck. Most of us couldn't understand it so thankfully it was a lot less scary. I actually slept most of the time though, waking up to the loud scary parts. I was really tired.

The next morning we went to a breakfast place across from the San Francisco Church. We had really poor service and the lady was really rude to us, so we ate and left our money on the table. We walked across the street to the church because we were going on a tour to see the catacombs. The lady from the restaurant followed us into the church saying we didn't pay enough, but in truth we paid what was on the menu. Before leaving she said in Spanish, "Good. Now God knows what you've done!" and stormed out.

After that fiasco we had a tour of the church and Catacombs, which was a bit creepy seeing skulls and bones in a very tight enclosed space, especially after seeing a scary movie the night before!

We then got ready for the dreaded 17 hour bus ride to Mancora . The ride was not as bad as everybody thought it would be, they played 4 movies and we got served dinner and breakfast. Most of us slept most of the time!

We arrived in Mancora in the morning and pretty much just vegged out on the hammocks and beach for the next two days. There was a restaurant in the hostel that was owned by a Belgian cook. I think we all agree that it was one the best meals we've had. I ordered pesto pasta which came with amazing garlic bread and the rest of the group had amazing looking burgers, which is saying a lot since I'm a vegetarian!

After the relaxing beach vacation we took a bus to Cuenca, Ecuador, and our third and final country! It seems like yesterday we arrived in Colorado for our orientation.

Since our team leader Alicia lives in Cuenca we had our own personal guide to take us around the city.

We arrived pretty late so we went to bed and the next morning Alicia took us to her favorite breakfast place . We got so much food for under 3 dollars, it was such a good deal.

We went to the Modern Art Museum and also Prohibido which is Alicia's father-in-law's art gallery. It was such a cool, edgy, Gothic museum with paintings and sculptures of the taboos of society. We spent almost an hour there looking at every detail of his work.

Then we split up for lunch and did our own thing. We also found a dvd store since the hostel had a dvd player. We watched 22 Jump Street and The Conjuring, and got those for 3 dollars in total.

We went back to the hostel to rest for a little and then went out again to the Banco Central Museum. It was full of Ecuadorian culture plus an exhibit of erotic paintings, which was interesting and disturbing. Then Alicia took us down to the river and we walked along the river back to the hostel. We brought back pizza to our rooms and watched a movie .

The next morning Alicia took us to the market for empanadas for breakfast. They were the size of my head, fried with cheese in the middle, and coated with sugar. They were so good!

Alicia then took us to the Panama Hat Museum where we learned about how the locals made hats before the wonders of technology and how they make them now with the wonders of technology. It was very interesting.

Afterwards we went to the park where we planned for the activities we were going to do for the kids camp in the rainforest. Then we got to do our own exploring and Katy, Moira, and I explored an English bookstore and a cafe called the Windhorse which was very cute and the center for Gringos!

Then Alicia took the group to a restaurant where they served Cuy, guinea pigs! All the guys plus Moira tried it and they said it tasted sort of like chicken, but they probably would not have it again . Then we had free time until we left for Banos the next morning!

We arrived in Banos yesterday (Saturday) and went white water rafting today! We all had such a good time rafting. The boys were in one raft and the girls were in another with two other foreigners. It was a lot of fun but there were some scary points when we went though the level 4 rapids. Whenever we said "oh my god" or screamed our guide would say "Oh my Gato" and told us that was Oh my god in spanglish.

After our rafting adventure we had some time to ourselves before our two weeks in the rainforest. We all know the next two weeks in the rainforest are going to be challenging, but we will definitely go into it with a positive attitude and make the best of it!