The worldwide Augustana College experience

Quito and Otavalo, Ecuador!!

i apologize for these blogs being a little late, but i finally have time to catch up on my blogging…hope you enjoy hearing about my trip so far! :)

so i absolutely LOVE ECUADOR!!! its crazy how different ecuador is from the US. the past 2 days have been absolutely amazing! i opened my windows in the morning in the hotel in quito and there was an absolutely gorgeous view of mountains and green rolling hills and houses.  yesterday we went to mitad del mundo which was really cool to stand in two hemispheres at the same time. the bus ride there was so interesting to see the life going on outside of the windows. there were lots of stray animals and all the laundry was hanging outside on the rooftops. the landscape is just so colorful here! it scared me though how many people and animals hung out so close to the road since driving is kind of crazy here.

we also went to the otavalo market and it was soo fun! we got to speak with indigenous people who were selling all sorts of awesome things! we got to bargain with them and get cheap prices for good quality stuff. we also picked up an indigenous women that our director, esteban, knows on the bus and she sang a song in kichwa which is an indigenous language and sold us beautiful handmade scarves for 3 dollars. we also visited an indigenous weaver workshop which was really cool and a music workshop where a guy showed us how to make a wooden indigenous instrument and then a girl danced for us and the whole family played music for us. the food has been interesting to say the least but ive been feeling great so far! i ate like a squirrel yesterday at breakfast and had a little bit of bread but today the food has been much better. breakfast was really good at the otavalo hotel.  we had croissants and mora which is raspberry juice.

today we went back to the market and then drove back to quito and went to the mall. it was so interesting to see the difference in demographics between quito and the indigenous town of otavalo. the indigenous town was full of people everywhere, many of the women sitting with their babies outside.  many of the women have gold teeth and wear dresses with puffy white sleeves and embroidery and the men have long hair in braids.

then we went to Guayasamins house who was a super famous painter in ecuador. he died in 1999 so its a museum now and his artwork was so cool and the stories behind them were really interesting but mostly depressing. i got lots of good pics. then we went on a city tour of quito, and our tour guide was super nice. we saw some amazing churches. the basilica church was huge and we got to climb all the way to the top of the highest tower and there was a spectacular view of the whole city of quito. we were really winded from the altidud but the view was definitely worth the climb. then we went to the town square and saw the presidents house and a chapel. then we went to another church which was called compania de jesus and it was the most amazing thing ive ever seen. it took 160 years to build and the whole inside was made of gold! unfortunately we couldnt take pictures in there, but it was so awesome. then we went back to hotel quito and went out to dinner at a really good pizza place.

its so fun to talk to everyone in spanish too. the market has definitely been my favorite place so far. one of the indigenous men taught me how to count to ten in kichwa, his indigenous language. my friends all made fun of me because i got sucked into listening to everyones speech about their different products because i looked interested in everything and was smiling at everyone haha. and i spent a ton of my money i got a sweet duffel bag, a purse, a painting, a bracelet, a blanket and i cant even remember what else but its all so cheap and i feel so bad when they are like amigita comprelo ahorita. tomorrow we leave quito and we´re going to salasacas and then cuenca on sunday and meeting our host families!! hopefully i can write again soon, but im not sure when the next time we will have internet access will be!

con amor desde quito,

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