Our latest update from across the miles – this time courtesy of Tilly – enjoy!
This past week there has no time for rest and relaxation, despite the dreary weather we have been thrown into the Ecuadorian culture fast and furiously. At trip to Inti-ñan saw us standing on a latitude of 0’0’0. (Before this we had seen the falsely calculated Equator line and posed for many typical touristy photos. Only then did Rowan decide to tell us that actual Equator line as calculated by GPS was about 5 minutes away). At Inti-ñan our guide told us about some of the indigenous people who still live in the Amazon, and then he did a couple of demonstrations on the equator line. The most memorable one was when he put a big sink full of water on the equator line, and the water went straight down. He moved the sink two meters to the northern hemisphere side of the line, and the water moving down the drain created a cyclone, a cyclone going in opposite direction was created when the bucket was moved a few metres south of the line. Most of us were already aware of coriolis effect, but to see it in action was incredible. He barely moved the sink but the earth’s movement had such a dramatic effect.
That Friday we got a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of Quito and travelled to a tiny beautiful village called Nanegal, Following an impromptu dip in a waterfall we found ourselves at what we thought was going to be a free salsa lesson but in fact turned out to be an intense aerobics workout session. Half way through we all noticed that we had an audience as what appeared to be half the village had turned up to watch the crazy gringos humiliate themselves. We all a had a great opportunity to practice our Spanish skills as the local kids took a interest in us, asking question after question.
The next morning, limbs burning for our workout session, we faced another hike. We trekked up the beautiful cloud forest of Santa Lucia in a time of 4 hours. On the way we encountered a huge variety of bugs and plants all of which we explained to us in great detail by our guide the botanist. Santa Lucia lodge was an idyllic reward following our trek. Disconnected from the rest of the world absolutely everything was naturally sourced from the land and then put back into it. Hummingbirds shamelessly approached the sugar water feeders outside the lodge as we stood inches away, keenly observing.
We finally got to soothe our legs on Tuesday afternoon when we went to the thermal baths. Nearly all of us braved the coldest pool but it has to be said we all spent the majority if our time lounging in the hot ones.
Wednesday saw a change in routine when our Spanish lessons were moved to grand parque de Metroplitana of Quito. Teachers and students were both taken back to child hood as we made our way through a variety of different games, both of South American, and western origin. We then learnt more about the art culture of South America when we went to the Guayasamin museum. All of us, including the museum weary ones of us were really moved by the artwork and interested by his unique expressionist style. Our exploration of Ecuadorian culture continued into the night as we got to experience ladies night.
The annual sporting competition between the teachers and the students finally arrived. The odds were certainly not in our favour as some us woke up not so bright eyed. Nonetheless we gave it our all. Wearing our customised shirts proudly we took to the volleyball court..and lost miserably. The football game was a bit more if a nail biter, with tied score through most of the second half until the teachers finally came through victorious. Despite a disappointing result for the gringos, we all had a great day out in her sunshine, and now feel like a weekend at beach is very much deserved…….