Well yesterday I returned from a really awesome weekend trip. This would be my third excursion from Quito, after Otavalo and the Amazon. Mindo is a teeny little town about 2 hours west of Quito. It´s filled with tons of activities and the nature there is incredible… even to a not-so-naturey girl like me.
Me, Kara, and Christa went with Pancho, our international student director. It was great to have him along because besides that he´s a good friend, he is fluent in english and leads trips of students all the time. It was good to have a guide-type-person on our first trip without the whole BCA group. We also met up with Eduardo and his cousin and friend on saturday. Some of the awesome stuff we did:
– While waiting for the bus, we learned the ecuadorian card game called cuarenta. Their version of poker I guess you could say. So much fun! everyone here plays it.
– We rode in the back of a pickup truck to the landing of this zip line that goes across the forest. The zipline has a cart type thing on it (super ghetto and unsafe looking) that takes your whole group over the canopy on a cable. From there we hiked for an hour or so to a waterfall called Terabita. It´s about 50 or 60 feet high, and you can actually jump off the top of it. All of us girls were brave enough to take the plunge… but it hurt like anything!! I kind of ended up doing a sitting pose when I hit the water and I can still feel it! haha! That was one of the scariest things I´ve ever done in my life. Then we hiked to some more waterfalls and that was really cool. during the hike there was this one vine swing that was really tarzan-ish and that was fun to do too. it started raining on our hike back but we had pre-paid to do white water tubing so we still did it in the pouring down rain! it was sooo cold! white water tubing is basically like 8 tubes tied together and really really crazy. so fun. and our guides were like 8 year old kids so that wasn´t too reassuring! but again… i´ve lived to tell about it.
– that night we went to karaoke. karaoke is hysterical here. everyone sings really depressing love songs in spanish. this one guy was worse than william hung for sure and he sang 5 songs in a row… oy vey. i belted out some whitney houston and kara sang my heart will go on… but the people who translated it listed it wrong and it was called ¨my heart going on¨… hahaha! so funny.
– the weekend was perfect to go because the town was celebrating theholiday of their patron saint. there was pinatas in the main square, lots of celebrating and then the next day a huge horseman parade. the town is cool because everybody knows everybody.
– we went to a ¨frog concert¨ the first night. you sit on this porch over a lake and listen to all the species of jungle frogs – i think there was like 11 different kinds. then we went on a night nature hike with a guide who showed us sweet bugs and frogs and even some bark erosion that glowed in the dark. really cool stuff.
– the next day we rode horseback for about an hour to a butterfly farm which was INCREDIBLE! horseback riding is so laid back here, you just kind of get on and go. i´m sore today haha but it was really cool.
– we aso visited a hummingbird place where you sit on a porch, have a soda, and they bring you binoculars to watch the hundreds of hummingbirds flying around right in front of you. it was crazy you just sat there like in a trance watching them! 26 different species of hummingbirds. mindo is one of the best places in the world for bird-watchers.
– then we went to an orchid farm with tons of rare jungle species of flowers.
i guess that´s about it! including bus fares, hostal (with a pool), meals, and all of the above, the weekend only cost me $45!!! now that is what i call a bargain. dude… you should come to ecuador sometime.