Saturday, July 18, 2009

better late than never.

Our internet connection has been off and on for the past few days so I haven't posted. Now I'm trying to catch up... We have been on the Quilotoa Loop and Banos since we left Quito the last time. The Quilotoa Loop first took us to Chugchilan, an extremely small town in the highlands of Ecuador. We stayed at a beautiful little hostal run by an indigenous family. The scenery was stunning and the family was so cute. Before dinner the 4 little girls that lived there came knocking on our door and drug us out to dance. They had gotten dressed up in traditional clothes and were LOVING to swirl the skirts around. The next morning we got up around 4 to catch a bus to Quilotoa Lagoon we thought was at 5. It was actually at 6, so we got there around 7:15. We walked through the small town that has popped up in response to the tourists and decided on a small hostal/restaraunt also run by an indigenous family. We had a cup of coffee and a piece of bread and arranged for a ride to the next town in the afternoon. We completely trusted the family to watch our bags while we hiked around the lagoon. We hiked down and around for about 2 hours before we headed back. It was a stunning extinct volcano turned lagoon with brilliant blue water. The pictures really don't do it justice. While we waited on the man that was going to take us to the next town, we played cards with the 4 kids that lived at the hostal. All they had to play with was an extremely tattered incomplete deck, but were totally enjoying it anyway. We gave them a pack of Orbit gum and they couldn't believe it. The little boy handed out pieces to his brother and sisters and then ran to the kitchen to give a piece to his mom. He put the pack in his pocket and then we continued playing cards. A few minutes later his eyes lit up and he pulled it out, counted the pieces, and just grinned. The children were also so excited when Kyle did his cheesy coin magic trick. He showed them how to do it afterwords and gave them some paper he tore out of my notebook. The also loved the paper! The oldest girl was 14 and wanted to know EVERYONE'S names and ages! haha She asked about us, our parents, our brothers and sisters. I got out some hand sanitizer when I was talking to her and she had never seen it before. She was intrigued so of course, I gave it to her. The whole thing was extremely rewarding. It was an experience that really showed us how amazingly fortunate we are. With what very little the family had, they were so happy and content. From the Quilotoa Lagoon, we headed to Banos and got there around 4 (on the 15th).
Banos is a small very touristy town in a valley around 3.5 hours south of Quito. They have tons of outdoor activities and lots of good restaraunts. We went to the thermal baths that the town is named for the 1st full day we were here. Kyle got a haircut and his first straight shave. That afternoon we ran in to our fun fun friends Barry and Nicola from Australia. We were so excited to see them! They are hilarious and just a couple we get along great with. Yesterday Kyle and I went "swing jumping". We jumped off of a 150 foot bridge into a canyon. It was the scariest thing I have ever done!! I was just really proud of myself for doing it. Kyle went first of course. After that we went 4 wheeling to the top of a mountain that overlooks the city with Barry and Nicola. It was a good time until Barry's 4 wheeler gave up. :) Today we are leaving to Cuenca... an 8 hour bus ride. Barry and Nicola are headed that way as well.

Oh and Kyle and I have seen more nipples of breastfeeding women in the last week than anyone ever needs to see in a lifetime. I think Kyle is scarred.

Quilotoa & Banos

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