I think I must have some masochistic tendencies, as I seem to enjoy making my life a lot more difficult than it probably needs to be. Ya, I just moved to a new country where I didn’t know anyone before I arrived, and ya I am still not fluent in the language, and ya I’m just getting started at a new job that is different than anything I have ever done before, and yes I have to go to the bathroom but I haven’t had time yet today, but you know what? Yes. Yes I would love to sign up to run a half marathon in the Andes, 3000m/ 10,000ft above sea level! And while I’m at it, sure I’ll write a children’s novel!
Why do I feel so dizzy? Hmmm, I feel like I’m forgetting something? What is it? Things are going blurry, come on, remember Shannon, what is it??!
Something simple….what is it?? OH YA!
Point is, this girl? She’s busy. You couldn’t see but I was pointing to myself. Actually I wasn’t, I was typing and picturing myself pointing to myself. I’m sorry I lied. Let’s not keep secrets from each other.
So, where did I leave off last time? Oh yes, stalkers and man friends….Moving right along (that’s not me keeping secrets, that’s just me, well, not telling you stuff).
Some people thrive off the excitement and energy of cities, but I am not one of them. While I do appreciate certain aspects of city life, I also find them to be chaotic and stressful, and I resent them for the energy they drain from me. I need to live in Quito for work, and I have made some pretty stellar friends here who help make this city livable, but it is also important for me to get away sometimes. Conveniently, Ecuador is a small and incredibly diverse country, and I am just getting started with my exploration.
Before I started my job, I went to a place a few hours away from Quito called Baños.
Unfortunately, I had been super sick since I got back from Same and so I didn’t actually experience any “baños” while I was there (the place is famous for its thermal baths). In retrospect, I’m not really sure where my head was at in my decision making process, because I somehow thought I was too sick to go to a thermal bath, yet it would be a great idea to zipline into a waterfall.
We were on a Chiva ride to check out some of the waterfalls around Banos, but as it was pissing down with rain the whole time, and considering this (below) is what a Chiva looks like,
we were already soaking wet. A casual dive into a waterfall just didn’t seem like that big of deal. Turns out all I needed was a little bit of adrenaline to get me pumped about travel again, so Joe and I decided not to return to Quito as planned, but rather to carry on for a few more days and check out nearby (relatively) Guaranda and Salinas.
We read that “half the fun of Guaranda is getting there,” but as we travelled at night and therefore missed the scenery, we had to hope we still had half our fun to look forward to on the return journey. We soon realized that Joe’s Rough Guide is actually a pretty f*cking rough guide as we found ourselves in a hostel with blood on the floor and no running water. Although we had half our fun still ahead, half of not very much fun is even less fun, so we decided to head off in the morning, and spent the night analyzing the children’s paintings on our table at a cafe (you see, the worm, the snake, and the turtle were all going to a fancy dress party. Well, the star went too, but he was dressed as a turtle. I don’t know why they invited him anyways, everyone knows stars always have the worst costumes…)
The next morning we found a random white pickup truck (they function like taxis in between small towns) to take us to Salinas, where apparently nothing happens other than some cheese making. Cheese and nothing, count me in!
Joe and I decided to bypass the cheese factory tour (it looked suspiciously like an evil lair) and venture off on some aimless wandering instead. Aimless wandering is generally when the best stuff happens, and this was no exception.
We looked out at the countryside, and at each juncture, just kept thinking how we probably couldnt climb such and such rock, but we should try anyways.
Well, seek and ye shall find my friends. On top of this random rock, unmarked and seemingly untravelled, we found what appeared to be some sort of symbolic landscaping amongst the fog.
Mildly spooked and feeling like we just accidentally intruded on something sacred, we were walking in search of an alternative route back down when the fog finally cleared to give us our reward. The right place, right time, only on this kind of day when the sun is just right kind of view that you often only see in NatGeo pictures.
Happy with our discovery, we headed back to town to eat as much cheese and chocolate as we could justify (turns out they make chocolate too!) before heading off in the morning to have the other half of our fun on the return journey to Quito.
I started work the next week, and almost a month in to it my life has been nothing but full speed ahead, complete with all the South American drama you could expect. But for this post? That’ll do pig, that’ll do. :^)