So far Ecuador has been amazing! We just arrived in Quito yesterday, and we were in a small town called Mindo before that.
Driving in from the airport, we started out in what looked like the desert (in 4:30 am darkness) and ended up in the jungle in time to watch the daily 6 am sunrise through the mountains.
In Mindo we stayed in a wonderful bird sanctuary eco-hotel. We had some group orientation and a lot of adventuring to explore the area, while trying to adjust to this crazy idea of living in completely new places continuously. One of the first days, we went hiking through the cloud forest (like the rainforest, except it´s literally in the clouds) to swim in a forty meter waterfall, which was so freezing but also so amazing. We got an above view a couple days later from ten different zip lines, where you could see the forest canopy below you (way too far down lol) and mountains all around. (upside down the view was a little skewed, but still cool) Oh and of course to get to these places from our teeny bird sanctuary, we rode in (and in the beds of) three pickup trucks, 25 minutes down a windy dirt road, singing along to Ecuadorian music with our super fun driver Martin. We also saw some pretty cool birds (toucans) and ginormous spiders & caterpillars, and started doing laundry in the sink!
We crossed from northern to southern hemisphere yesterday, and are currently at the altitude of a small airplane! All the buildings here are super colorful and there´s markets all over that are so fun. We´ve taken 8 hours of Spanish class over the past two days, so that’s been super helpful and has expanded my vocabulary slightly beyond “hola” and “gracias”. We got a tour of the historical districts of the city this morning with the organization we´re working with called Yanapuma, and that was amazing to see a little bit of urban life compared to the rainforest.
Also everyone is so awesome and fun and wonderful and I´m so excited to spend the next seven months with them!
We´re moving in with our host families on Monday, and we´ll start planting trees after that! I don’t know too much about how we´ll be living there, so my blogging will probably be pretty spotty for the next month or so but I´ll try to post as much as I can!