Friday, October 11, 2013

Life in the Clouds

I started off the day with a 3 hour tour of Quito. Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so Ovi took us to a beautiful church with a ceiling covered in gold. Next, we went to a candy shop and purchased plantains, sugar coated peanuts, and nougat. Then, we headed to the bohemian district to learn about how an artist crafts wooden sculptures, how natural beauty products are made from honey, and how 80% chocolate is made from grinding cocoa beans by hand. We ended the tour with lunch, where I learned that I am not a big fan of (cheap) chicken in this country.

After the tour, I asked Ovi to help me find a battery charger, and we were successful. I found a universal charger for only $4. The charger doesn't look like your typical charger, but it works!

Later on, Stephanie, Peter and I headed to Teleferico where there is a cable car that takes you up to a peak of a mountain that overlooks all of Quito. We decided to go today because the sun was out and it seemed like a nice day to be outside. This held true for about 3 minutes. After three minutes of taking photos and walking around, we noticed that all of the sudden we were in the middle of a cloud. Teleferico is so high that we were literally in the clouds. I have pictures of the clouds closing in around us. It was beautiful, and actually better than a clear sky and a view since it was such a surreal experience. But then, the weather changed once again, and we were in the middle of a hail storm. To put this into context, I was wearing a tank top and Stephanie was in shorts. Hail was completely unexpected. We took cover, and as we were waiting for the skies to clear up, we began talking to Victor, a really nice guy from Venezuela who was also traveling alone. He wanted to practice his English, and we wanted to practice our Spanish, so we invited him to join us at the hostel to watch the very important Uruguay vs. Ecuador fĂștbol match. This game was hugely important because it was a qualifying game for Ecuador to be in the World Cup. Luckily, Ecuador won.

After the game, everyone from the hostel + Victor went on a food tour led by Ovi. The first stop was to eat cow intestines. Somehow I was the only person to decline. I am glad I did because everyone said it tasted like worms. The next stop was for grilled kabobs of sausage and potatoes. Then, we got something that looked like a tamale, but tasted like cornbread. It was delicious. Our last stop was at a restaurant with live music and dancing. We ordered huge empanadas that tasted like fried dough with sugar. To drink, we ordered this strange hot mora (blackberry) and liquor drink. I wasn't a huge fan, but it wasn't terrible. After dinner, a few of us headed to the Loch Area to go dancing.

The thing about traveling alone is that you are never really alone. I haven't spent a moment apart from my new hostel family. Everyone is so nice and welcoming. I expected I would meet great people, but I feel like I have known the people here for years. They are great. I just wish I was better at remembering everyone's names!

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