Ups & Downs of Traveling

Hi, there! Oh, how the months are flying by! I finished my second cycle of teaching here in Quito on March 14th, which went swimmingly well and better than my first cycle of teaching. My students were overall motivated and engaged in class, and it was difficult to say goodbye to such buena gente. It looks like with this next cycle, which starts tomorrow, I will be teaching the same level for two classes, still in the mornings, but in a different building without technology, which will be challenging. I still continue to practice yoga and study/practice Spanish weekly, and I’ve started language exchanging with an English teacher from Quito.

I had a week and a half off for break, and during this time, I was ambitious with my travels. I spontaneously signed up for 3 days/2 nights in Cuyabeno in the Amazon. I took a private bus at night from Quito to Lago Agrio, which took 7 hours, and I threw up along the way with bad motion sickness and didn’t get much sleep. When I got there, I waited for the guide for a few hours, and I chatted with people from Germany and Denmark. The guide came, and I took a bus for another two hours to a small pueblo, and then I took a motorized canoe for another two hours to the lodge.

Here’s the cabins where I stayed in the Amazon.

The lodge didn’t have hot water or cell phone reception, and it used solar panels for electricity, which was limited. I didn’t have any electricity in my cabin, but I could charge my phone near the kitchen during the day. My group had 11 people (including me) with people from the States, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Ecuador. We ate lunch, which was a delicious fish, and then the guide later took us to a lake, and we saw dolphins! We also saw lots of birds and monkeys along the way. It’s very difficult to get snaps of these elusive animals!

The next day, we observed toucans and other birds early in the morning, and then we went on a three hour hike in the jungle, and we saw different types of medicinal plants and frogs and lizards. We also tried ants that tasted like lemons. Later that day, we got into an actual small canoe, and we paddled around a lake that had trees inundated in the water, and we saw a lovely sunset.

Here’s me in a hole in a tree.

Here’s me holding a piranha!

On the last day, we had an early morning motorized canoe ride and saw more birds and monkeys along the way. After that, I went home again via the canoe and buses again. I forgot my coat (later got it back from a friend’s friend) and left with sunburns and bug bites, but I enjoyed seeing the animals and plants, meeting people from all over the world, and eating authentic food.

A lovely heron.

After I got back to Quito, I slept through the night, and then I took a 10-hour day bus to Cuenca. I arrived that night, and I stayed with a friend’s friend (who is now my friend) and her stepmom, two half-siblings, and two cousins. The next day, we took a bus to the ruins of Ingapirca, and it felt surreal seeing these man-made structures from over a thousand years ago.

First looks at the ruins.

Here’s me at the ruins.

Here’s me at the “Face of the Inca.”

The next day, we went to Pumapungo Museum, which was FREE, and we saw lots of lovely paintings done by Cuencan painters from a long time ago, and we saw interesting artifacts about different ethnicities in Ecuador. I also saw an exhibit about the different types of money that Ecuador had throughout its history. We also walked through the garden next to the museum, and it had llamas and a huge cage with lots of different types of birds (toucans mostly). We then walked throughout the city and saw lots of beautiful cathedrals.

The museum had llamas in the garden!

I’m taking a picture of the New Cathedral of Cuenca.

Here’s me inside of the New Cathedral of Cuenca.

Here’s me at the Old Cathedral of Cuenca.

Here’s me in the middle of the sign at night.

On the last day, we went to a place with a beautiful view of the city, and it had lots of adventurous activities like ziplinines and a swing. I rode the swing, which was thrilling and terrifying, but I’m glad that I did it! That night, I took the 10-hour bus ride home to Quito.

Here’s me at the Mirador de Turi — the best view of Cuenca.

Here’s me swinging at the Mirador de Turi.

After I got back to Quito, my health took a turn for the worse. I was exhausted and dehydrated, and my cold got worse. I also was suffering from bad stomach issues, so I ended up having to see a doctor yesterday to get everything sorted out. I should’ve done a lot of things during my travels to prevent this, such as, eating better food, taking probiotics, drinking more water, and stretching and exercising periodically on my bus rides. However, above all, I’m proud of myself for traveling alone to these places and experiencing more of the beauty of Ecuador!

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: The ideas and thoughts expressed within this blog are my own and are not the views or opinions of WorldTeach.

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