Showing posts from March, 2012

Secret Garden- Cotopaxi

I had a magical weekend at a slice of heaven in the Andes Mountains. My friend Gustavo and I wanted to get away from Quito for a day or two and decided to go to the Secret Garden, a hostel on the outskirts of Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi is the world’s highest active volcano. Sadly, this weekend was very grey and overcast, but on clear days you can see Cotopaxi from Quito, and it is a majestic monster looming over the city! The hostel we stayed at is right near the base. Here are some photos from the hostel website, taken on a clear day at Secret Garden:

 View from the hammocks out front
View from the dining room Getting there was no easy feat in our car. We got lost at least 3 times. Neither of us expected how far out in the middle of nowhere the hostel is. Normally they provide a shuttle from Quito to the hostel. The drive up to the hostel was like a different world from Quito and the surrounding valleys. From the last real village, it was another hour drive through muddy paths in …


A chiva is an open bus or truck that can be used as public transportation, especially in the smaller cities in Ecuador. If you combine a chiva with a discoteca, you get a chivoteca! A big open party bus that you can hire for a special event and drive around all night high fiving strangers in the street and dancing your butt off to Billboard Top 40 hits while sloshing canelazo all over yourself. One of my friends had a birthday this week and celebrated with a chivoteca. The view in Old Town is especially fantastic. There are ropes handing from the ceiling for you to hold on to so you don't fly all over the place. Ours had a dj and lots of booze, and we got to jump off in front of the Basilica in Old Town. My hands are still aching from hanging on to those ropes! My friend Tamara got the only photo of me on the chiva:

 Tamara and I, note the canelazo cup around my neck
This is what a chivoteca looks like

Chivas can be super obnoxious, unless you are on one of course! Especially during…

Sick in Ecuador

Getting sick in Ecuador is sooo much easier to deal with than in the United States (minus the fact that my mom is not here to take care of me).
I had a cold about two weeks ago and lost my voice and have been slowly getting better so I never bothered to see a doctor or take medicine. In the last couple of days it got a lot worse and my sinuses now feel like they are going to explode. I finally sucked it up and went to see the school nurse today who told me in about two seconds that I have a sinus infection. She wrote down the name of some antibiotics, I went straight to a pharmacy, paid 10 bucks for two types of medicine and Vitamin C, and that was that.
This is pretty much how it goes, if you can figure out what you have, you don't need a prescription. Just go to a pharmacy and tell the pharmacist your symptoms.
Medicine is so ridiculously cheap here compared to the U.S., and I love that I don't have to go to the doctor for every little thing.
Also, something I noticed today …