May 19, 2012
My 2 roommates and I woke up around 6:30 to pack up and get ready for breakfast with our homestay family. We stayed up pretty late the night before so we were tired and didn’t want to get out of the comfortable beds. At 7 we went to eat breakfast with the family. Soledad served us fresh juice, eggs, tortilla s (AKA corn biscuits), and some delicious fruit tea. It was by far the best breakfast I have had in Ecuador. After breakfast the girls begged us to play card games that we had taught them the night before, so we played one final game of Go Fish and then said our goodbyes. It was really sad to leave because being with the family was such a positive experience.
On the bus we all chatted about our homestays and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. We arrived at Laguna Cuicocha a bit later and after learning about some of the history behind the lake and the active volcano underneath we began a hike. We hiked about a third of the way around before calling it quits. The altitude was really affecting some of the girls, and we were surrounded by clouds so it was difficult to see. Nonetheless, the lake was absolutely stunning and the story behind it was equally as mesmerizing.
We then headed to Otavalo where we ate a traditional lunch and then departed to visit an indigenous wool shop. We watched a man turn raw wool into a complete scarf. We were all very impressed and had a newfound respect for the people who make and sell wool products in the markets. Then we went to a music shop where a man showed us how to make reed pipes and then he and his family performed for us. A lot of the girls bought instruments and souvenirs.
After our learning experiences we travelled back to Quito and the Hotel Embassy where we relaxed until dinner. We went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner which was nice because I think some of us were beginning to miss American food, and even though Mexican food isn’t American, it is something we were more familiar with.
It was quite an eventful day, and I think one of the most educational.
by Allyson Hughes