Showing posts from October, 2012

Life Can Be Hard in Ecuador

Sometimes I love my life here and I know exactly why I’m in this place at this moment. Other times, I kind of hate Ecuador. I have days (every once in awhile) when it feels like this country is out to get me and life is just so freaking hard. Don’t get me wrong, life was difficult in the States from time to time, but my problems felt more manageable. Case in point:

The owner of our wonderful new apartment sold it and we have to move. Laura and I are devastated, and since we are only going to be here for 8 more months, it’s not going to easy to find a place this late in the game. We will probably have to lie to our new landlord and sign a year lease. I don’t even want to think about packing up all of our stuff when we are still settling into this new house. Plus we paid a lot of money for furniture, and who knows if we will need it all in our new place. We get to pay for movers and put down a new deposit. Arrrrrrggggg.

I normally take a taxi home from dance which costs about $2.50. The…

Rural Ecuador

Around Black Sheep Inn and Quilotoa is real small-town Ecuador. A rural Ecuador I don't usually get to see living in Quito, where there are no small communities or farms. 

Transportation in the countryside- the back of a truck
A rundown hostel near Quilotoa
Riding in the back of a truck to Black Sheep Inn Typical rural Ecuadorian building
More riding around in the back of trucks
Black Sheep Inn is near a small town called Chugchilan that was pretty cute. We drove through it a few times. The Inn actually helps out the community through donations for the library and school. Nearby, there is also a small cheese factory you can visit and tour (for a whopping $1).

Local library in Chugchilan
Entrance to the small cheese co-op
Our tour guide giving us samples of cheese
My friend picking out what cheese he is going to buy
Mounds of cheese!
Cheese factory where the artisans were trained by Swiss cheesemakers

On our way home, we got stuck in a town called Sigchos for an hour as well, and used that Su…

Black Sheep Inn

Black Sheep Inn is a pretty famous eco-lodge in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. It especially attracts people due to its close proximity to Quilotoa crater lake. We had a long weekend recently because of Guayaquil's independence day, so I went with a group of friends/coworkers to experience Black Sheep Inn.
They have a pretty awesome website, but I'm not sure it even does the lodge justice because it is so amazing in person. We hired a car to pick us up from school and drive us the three hours to the lodge which cost $20 a person. It is possible to get there via public transportation, which we did on the way home ($11 for all the different buses and taxis doing it that way).
Black Sheep Inn's website
Main building of Black Sheep Inn
Our adorable bunkhouse
Second floor of the bunkhouse
Outdoors gym at Black Sheep Inn

The main building has a cool loft with couches where you can chill and read
We arrived at night and were immediately fed a super hearty vegetarian meal. Like Secret…

Quilotoa Crater Lake

There is a massive crater lake in one of the volcanoes in the Andes Mountains near Quito that I have been meaning to get to. Finally, last weekend, I was able to go with some friends to check it out! We stayed at the Black Sheep Inn, and used that as a base to go to Quilotoa crater lake. I was sick, sadly, so I didn't get to do the big hike from Quilotoa, through the valley and back to the hostel, but I was able to accompany the group to the lake for the views, and then ride back to the hostel in a camioneta (truck for hire).

Laura and I riding in a camioneta to the crater lake
 Some of our group on top of the camioneta
We picked a perfect day to go to Quilotoa! Blue skies, green water, fresh air. When you hike over the little hill to the view point, everyone starts 'ooooh'ing and 'aaahh'ing because the view is so freaking unbelievable. I have seen some beautiful things in my travels, but Quilotoa might just be the prettiest scenery I have ever seen. The lake is abou…

Awesome Quito Street Art

The graffiti around Quito is BEAUTIFUL. It has such a unique style. I pass by the street art all the time, but always forget to take photos. Luckily, my artist friend Tamara Fernandez has granted me permission to share her photos. A lot of the art comes from my neighborhood, Guapulo, but there is also art from different neighborhoods in the city. Enjoy this photo post!

'Cutesy' Spanish

Ecuadorian Spanish is slow, clear, and supposively one of the easiest accents to learn. With four years of high school Spanish, a couple university courses, and a summer in Guatemala under my belt, my Spanish was adequate when I moved to Ecuador.
I used to have a Spanish tutor that came to my house for 2 hours each week, but after I was reading Harry Potter in Spanish and having proficient phone conversations, I felt I could pursue fluency independently. So I practice! I read youth fiction in Spanish (I’m working my ways through Lords of the Rings, El Señor de los Anillos, right now), I do activities online, I write down words I don’t know and look them up.
There is one aspect of my personality that just won’t translate. I’m not cutesy! Ecuadorian Spanish is gushing with flowery –itos and –itas, mi querida, mi amor. Spanish women in general are very feminine, or so it seems to me, and to be frank, I’m just not.
I don’t rave about how beautiful or cute my friends are. I mean, I will tell…