Showing posts from February, 2012

Long Weekend in Cuenca

We had a 4 day weekend for Carnaval, so I flew to Cuenca with about ten other teachers for a relaxing vacation. Most residents of Cuenca leave for the holiday, which was bad because a lot of places were closed, but it also meant I saved money because we spent most of our time exploring and enjoying each others’ company. Laura and I stayed with her friend Brian who lives in an old colonial mansion in Old Town. I’m sure that building has some interesting stories hidden in its walls. I much prefer Cuenca’s Old Town to Quito’s Centro Historico. It seemed a lot more clean, and safe. Buildings aren’t as run down, and the New Cathedral hovers over the city, similar to the Duomo in Florence. Also in Old Town is a really cute flower market.

 Inside of Santo Domingo Cathedral
The New Cathedral of Cuenca
Laura picking out flowers at the flower market A lot of enjoyment in Cuenca came from the awesome restaurants and food scenes. We started off our first night in an awesome pub with chair hammocks, gi…

February Holidays

Two holidays happened this month: Dia de San Valentin and Carnaval.
For Valentine’s Day, Laura and I had a little get together at house for all of our single female coworkers. It was a nice gathering to appreciate our friends, drink some wine, share stories, and eat good food.
Power of Female Friendship Article
Handmade Valentines for all of our guests
Valentines Party spread- cheeeeeeese
My school went crazy with Carnaval Queen elections, the closest thing to Prom Queen we have. There is no King, but the girls quite make up for it. There are three candidates, one from tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. The 12th grade girl won, but the other two put up a good fight. To be honest, it seems like a waste of money, but it’s a tradition and not likely to change any time soon. The girl candidates campaign spending was capped at $10,000 after spending got a little out of hand a few years ago. Our school celebrates by ending the week with a huge outdoor fair. They had above ground pools with kid…

Scopolamine: AKA Fairy Dust or Zombie Drug

I have not had any encounters with fairy dust since I have been here in Quito, but I have heard horror stories. It's a powder that, upon skin contact, makes you completely compliant. You might help a thief carry your television out of your house and into the car. You might willingly open the safety deposit box in your house and hand over all your money. This is a real threat in Ecuador and a lot of Latin America, and what's scary is that if you are alone and you are exposed to this by anyone brushing past you on the street, there isn't really anything you can do about it.
I am posting about it right now because apparently incidents and attacks with scopolamine have risen recently, and it's something everyone should be aware of. It's hard not to be super paranoid all the time knowing that this dangerous drug is out there.

 This drug turns you into a zombie... probably not a clown
This is an email that went out from the U.S. embassy here in Quito this week:


Camping in the Illinizas

The Illiniza mountains are some of the highest peaks in the Ecuadorian Andes. A couple weekends ago I went camping in them thar mountains with some of my coworkers and friends. The drive up was insanity, we left really late at night and the car rental company didn’t have the jeeps we requested, so we got stuck with two tiny cars, 11 people, and a ton of camping gear.
 Holy hell I do not belong here Photo: 

We had to hop out of the car many times on the way up and down, in the pitch black, jumping over creeks and hearing under parts of the cars getting torn on rocks in the road. Somehow, we made it to the top, and had another 15 minute climb up to where we set up camp. At night time, we couldn’t see the peaks and had no idea of how beautiful the setting was, but when we woke up the next morning it was beautiful! I need to also mention that this experience proved to me even more that I am completely lacking in camping, cold weather, and mountain living s…