I can't believe it's St. Patricks already! I celebrated a bit tonight with my programates for one last hurrah in Quito before we all divide out Monday to go to our internships. But before I brief you on what's in store for me in the next several weeks I need to fill you in on my winter break!
Last Friday (the 9th) I set off for the lovely historic city of Cuenca, in the south of Ecuador. Two of my friends and I paid $10 to bus the 10hrs there over night, but the adventure began when the bus arrived at our destination at 4 AM, a full 2 HOURS earlier than expected. We proceeded to approach an equally confused gringo, who agreed to split a cab with us to a cheap hostal. When we at there it was discovered like in the Christmas story there was 'no room for us in the inn', so the 4 of us chose to catch a few hours sleep on the lobby floor. We all ended up staying at a cheap more centrally located hostal (with the exact same name) and spent the day exploring the city with our new friend, Mantus, of Lithowainia. There were at one point 9 students from my program in Cuenca through Wednesday. We saw lots of cool museums, ate an insane amount of good food, visited some Incan ruins and a really cute town outside of the city, observed some weird llama behavior and generally wandered the city. There were plently of American and other foreign retirees, so we heard a lot of English and overall the city felt really calm and safe (we never really located a nightlife for young folks haha). We met all sorts of interesting travelers and residents including, some austrailians, who run a small café, some retirees from Texas and an English woman, who's been traveling the world volunteering for the last year.
On Tuesday night four of us hopped another night (and another and another) to get from Cuenca to the costal city of Puerto Lopez. While on the coast of Ecuador it is currently 'low' tourist season we were able to get halfway decent acomedations in a hostal with oven like rooms. They even came with such ammendities as a single 'high velocity air circulator' (aka ineffective ceiling fan) and a fancy mosquito net canopy for each bed. On our first day on the coast we got to spend the afternoon on the most beautiful beach I have Ever been to or seen, called Los Frialles. It was like walking through a postcard! We also took a tour to Isla de la Plate, which is know here as, the poor man's Galopoges. Here we hiked bit on the nice island and saw insane anmounts of Blue Footed Boobies and saw some Huge sea turtles. Other fun coastal activies included treating myself to excellent sea food, bathing in a scared sulpher pool after covering myself in sulfer mud, and successfully getting tan on the beach! Got back to Quito at 6AM this morning after yet another nightbus. Though this one came with a very serious "bus nazi" who insisted on making everyone move seats to match the numbers on our tickets (very unEcuatorina) even though the physical seats had no numbers haha.
On Monday I begin the internship portion of my program, in the small town of Cayambe. I have no more classes and I will instead observe and work with a psychologist in a government organization called, INFA (Institute for Ninez,, adolescencia and familiar affairs). I will be living with an indigeous family in a smaller village out Cayambe. I'll have a mother, a father (who's appartently important in the community), a 19 yr old sister anda 14 yr old brother. With hours for 8am to 4pm. I hope to have time to run on a regular basis and I also get to work on writing a +20 pg pager about the work I'm doing for INFA, called my monografia. I hope to uset this beast of a paper to get credit in Spanihs or Psych at Morris, but we shall see. I return to Quito to live with my old family after 6 weeks for one more week of frantically attempting to finish this paper and then present it to my classmates and professors. Then I get on the plane the next day to go home. Time has already gone SOOOOOOOOOOOOO fast here. But because of all this updates here may be less frequent. Just so you know haha.