This trip is winding down, and I am still deciding if it is coming too quick or if I am ready to be back in the US. The trip has been wonderful. It was an eye opening experience, and I have seen and experienced more than I could have imagined. Still, there's a lot about this trip that seems very self-indulgent. Spending my days shopping, eating and getting massages isn't so much making a positive impact on the world. I am glad, though, that there is the very tangible takeaway of being able to hold my own (most of the time) in basic Spanish conversations. I look forward to taking classes when back in the US.
Today was pretty much a travel day. The only real accomplishment was going back to the panama hat museum and buying a hat. Other than that, Miriam and I had a delicious salad at Bananas and met a van to take us to Vilcabamba, which was surprisingly far, but as always, it was a beautiful ride... when there was visibility that is. At one point I looked up from my iPad and realized I could see nothing but gray out of any of the windows. I was very grateful to be in a van as opposed to a bus this time around.
By the time we reached Vilcabamba, it was already dark, but our hostel (really I should say resort, but it costs as much as a hostel) is amazing with an enormous pool, restaurant, and on-site spa. The name of the hostel is Izhcayluma. For tourists, Ecuador is certainly a country for outdoor adventures and relaxation.