Saturday, November 13, 2010

Full Adventure!

I have decided that “Full” is my favorite word in the Spanish language... even though it is really English. Full is used to mean “a lot of” or “many.” For example, “hay full gente aqui” means “there are a lot of people here.” It is wildly over used and cracks me up... when I was on a trip recently to Banos there were signs everywhere that said “Full motos” or “Full music.” This will most likely be a large part of my vernacular now... even in English.

I have had FULL adventures recently! A couple of other volunteers and I traveled to Banos which is a town about 2 hours from Quito that is known for outdoor adventure activities. It was BEAUTIFUL! It was basically the picture of Ecuador that I had before visiting... green everywhere with beautiful waterfalls. We decided to take advantage of our time there and do everything we could.

Our first day we went white water rafting. My family and I really enjoy rafting so I have been quite a few times, but this surpassed them all! They definitely had the most intense rapids that I have seen so far... our guide said that it is usually more intense when the water is higher. That night we went on a chiva ride which is basically an open air bus. We were supposed to be able to see the volcano when we got to the top, but there was too much fog :( We still had a great time standing around a bonfire and chatting with random people... aka little kids that wanted to take pictures with us. By the way, I learned the word for bonfire (fogata) one of my first weeks here and I never realized it would come in so handy. There are full fogatas here!

The next morning we went canyoning... basically repelling and sliding down waterfalls. It was so much fun! We repelled down 5 waterfalls and we were really lucky to have a guide just between the 3 of us rather than going with a big group. That afternoon we went mountain biking... it turned out to be quite a long “trail” but it was a great, cheap way to see the beauty of Banos.

PS. each of these adventures included a nice uphill climb that they failed to advertise... we had to carry the raft up the first one. Our guide later told us that we were “mujeres super fuertes”... very strong women. We later tried to take cute pictures in our wetsuits which we discovered was impossible and our guide told us to just stick to being fuerte... hmmm This fuerza came in handy later when secret hikes were part of canyoning and mountain biking as well.

That night we were EXHAUSTED to say the least. We got some sleep and then headed to Ambato the next day. Ambato is a city that is 45 minutes from Banos. There are 5 volunteers stationed in Ambato so we got to hang out with them for the night!

It was a great trip... definitely worth the 11 hour bus ride each way. (ahhh) Full bus!

I made it back just in time for my next adventure... going to a Quinceanera (15th birthday party) with my host parents. It was some cousin of a cousin’s birthday and it was a blast!!!!! EVERYONE dances at these events... there were maybe 2 people left in their chairs. My host dad told me that I don’t dance “too gringa”... I am taking that as improvement on my dance skills haha At midnight we experienced "hora loca" where girls in costumes showed up and passed our boas/glasses/hats/balloons/etc and everyone went CRAZY for an hour. It was hilarious.

Definitely some great adventures! Hopefully I will have pictures up soon :)