Showing posts from June, 2010


Ecuador has been such a different abroad experience than the rest of my travels. For starters, I am currently living with a host family in Quito, and I have a work schedule. My host family is really great and they feed me three times a day. More often than not it is a bowl of soup, a piece of meat, and a pile of rice, but I don’t mind that at all.

The neighborhood is slightly terrifying for someone who grew up in the suburbs of Cape Coral, Florida. We are not allowed to walk around after 9 at night, even if I am going to visit friends in the volunteer house three blocks away. We have to take a cab. According to Wikipedia, I am living in the “working class neighborhood.” I can’t even begin to recall the number of men peeing on the sides of streets I have seen, fires burning on street corners, people shouting “GRINGO!” at me as I walk to catch the bus. On the other hand, my house has an amazing hot shower, there are delicious bakeries and fruit stands all over the place, and the lunche…

Cusco Revisited

My second time in Cusco, and I still did not manage to make it to Machu Picchu. We hiked up a hill with an Incan fortress only to be told that actual entrance was seventy soles (too much money for a one hour tour), so we observed the fortress from the outside. This was the closest to Incan Ruins that I would get.

Incan fortress outside of Cusco
Chris and I met up with his brother on the first day of the Corpus Christi festival in the city. Although it is some sort of Catholic festival for the saints, it is also a huge cultural event. Platters of chicken and guinea pigs were being sold by vendors everywhere, and the people drank and danced in the streets all night. Getting around took forever because of the masses of people who flooded the streets. It made me appreciate Cusco a lot more the second time around.

Scary masks that are part of the celebration
We ate well in Cusco and this time I didn’t get sick (food included sushi, Indian food, and Irish Pub food). One bizarre thing about C…

Gringo Trail

The town of Ica holds very mixed feelings for me. We arrived at night and I was unable to see the setting of the so-called “oasis” of Huacachina that we stayed at outside of town. When I woke in the morning I realized that the hotel was situated on a small lagoon surrounded by mountain sized sand dunes. It was surreal. Sadly, this was the point in the trip where I got food poisoning (most likely traced back to a bowl of soup!?) so we had to hold off on the sand boarding for a few days and lay out by the pool. As soon as my stomach had settled somewhat, we took off for the dunes on a dune buggy!

The buggy ride felt like a roller coaster as we sped over the sandy dunes, catching air at the top of hills and whipping around corners. We occasionally stopped and the guide showed us how to use the sand boards to go down the hills both on our stomachs and on our feet. I was never able to make it down a full hill standing, and quickly learned to keep my mouth closed, as much as I wanted to scr…