Interact Ecuador 2015
Written by Sophie
Our past two days have been quite busy. All our flights went really well with minimal hiccups. Our only issue happened before we even left; because of our double middle names Jillian and I had some inconsistencies in our name on the reservation and our name on our passports. We got it sorted out quickly though and were on our way.
We all did our best to celebrate Phil’s birthday and the captain even wished him a happy birthday on one of our flights. We arrived in Quito at a little before 1am. We all went to bed right away.
Since we arrived in Quito in the dark we hadn’t gotten to appreciate how beautiful the city is. When we woke up we were all surprised how the city goes beyond as far as we could see. From the university where we spent most of our day there is a great view of the city and especially of the volcano Cotopaxi that erupted last week. As we were watching there was another eruption, the first in a week.
At the university we received lectures on biodiversity, history, and culture in Ecuador. They were all very interesting but we were all a little too tired to pay our fullest attention. Afterwards we were served a traditional Ecuadorian soup for lunch. The soup was made of cream, cheese, and potatoes. We also had the choice to put avocado, corn nuts and pinto bean hot sauce on top. It was really delicious and we all finished it quickly. When the Rotarians heard that it was Phil’s birthday the day before, they insisted that we complete an Ecuadorian birthday tradition of shoving the person’s face in their birthday cake. They went and got a cake and after singing happy birthday in both Spanish and English he got his face pushed into it.
We then returned to the hotel for a bit of quiet time before we went downtown for dinner. A 45 minute bus ride from our hotel took us to a restaurant up high on a hill in downtown “old Quito”.. It had a beautiful view of that part of the city as well as a cathedral and a large Virgin Mary statue. The whole menu was in Spanish though so a few people ended up with one thing when they thought they had ordered another.
The bus took us afterwards to a part of downtown that’s good for walking around in. We had been told by the Rotarians that there were some protests being put on by indigenous people against the president, Raphael Correa. So once we got there it took us a while to get somewhere where we could actually walk because many of the streets were blocked off by police and army personnel. We saw some cool shops and lots of people along a street called La Ronda.
We were about to get back on the bus when we heard loud music coming from down one street; we decided to check it out. Once we got down to the square we saw that we had found the protest. There were people waving flags, selling food and dancing to the music. If it hadn’t been for the hundreds of law enforcement we may not have even notice that it was a protest. When we saw busloads of more army people coming in we decided to go back.
Once back at hotel we spent an hour socializing before bed. We decided to be asleep by 11 so that we could get up for our early drive to Malchingui.