Thursday, June 9, 2011

Patrick turned Patricio!!!!

So a few weeks ago my brother, Patrick, came to visit me in Ecuador!!!!!!! I can't express how excited I was to see him and spend time with him. So here is our Ecua adventure...

We started out in Quito and unfortunately Patrick got here just in time for "Dry Law" which meant there was no alcohol all weekend due to elections. So we didn't really get to see the real Quito, but we still had fun chatting and catching up. We also went to the Teleferiqo which was a cable car that took us to the top of the mountain to an AMAZING view of Quito and the surrounding mountains. That afternoon we tried to catch a bus to Mindo and failed miserably... have spending $15 on cabs (that is a lot in ecua terms) going all around the city trying to find the bus we finally decided to wait until the next day. Instead we walked around Quito and checked out the Basilica and government buildings.

Sunday morning we managed to catch a bus to Mindo... we were the first ones on the bus that morning haha We did NOT want to miss it again. Mindo is a small cloud forest town. It was beautiful and so nice how we could hear the birds and sounds of nature. It was a chill few days, but we managed to fit in some extreme sports. The first day we went on a Canapy tour, flying through the trees. The safety speech was about 2 seconds long ... very different from the Canapy tour I did at home in Asheville. It was great though and we were able to do "superman" and "butterfly" moves by going tandem with a guide haha After our Canapy tour we went to get some delicious fresh fruit juices... Patrick had to try at least one different flavor every day :) Then for dinner Patrick tried Churrasco for the first time.... it was love at first bite. It is a plate of steak, eggs, avocado, salad, and of course rice. Patick managed to eat it at least once a day for the rest of the trip!! Our last day in Mindo we did another extreme activiy... Canyoning, which is repelling down waterfalls. We had the most unsocial guide ever, but we had a great time!

Day 4 in Ecuador.... we headed to Tena, a jungle town! In Tena we went and saw some monkeys on an island preserve and then almost got stuck on the island because the river grew so much... whoops. Tena is known for its White Water Rafting so after our monkey visit we went to sign up for rafting for the next day. This "sign up" turned into a huge trek around the city and once we found an open spot we had to run to our hotel to get money. One problem... we forgot the name and location of our hotel, whoops. Second problem...when we finally made it, the tour group didn't take credit cards. haha it was a mess, but we figured it out and had an AMAZING white water rafting tour. All of the instructions and everything was in Spanish so Patrick had quite a good Spanish day... we also got some war paint on our faces to prepare for the rapids.

The next day we took a bus to Puyo, another jungle town, where we met some of my fellow volunteers from the Coast! It was great to meet up with some other people to go out and check out the night life. We were there for "Fiestas de Puyo" so that night we went to a live concert outside. The next morning we woke up bright and early went on a JUNGLE TOUR!!!! The jungle tour started by spending some time with monkeys...Patrick was on Cloud 9. The monkeys jumped all over us and Patrick found a special friend that sat in his lap for like 20 minutes. haha After playing with the monkeys, we went on a hike to a waterfall. It was beautiful, but a little trechorous. Before Patrick came my mom told me, "don't get stuck on crutches this time," so the whole time I was telling myself "you can't hurt your ankle, you can't hurt your ankle" haha Luckily, I made it through without a scratch and we were rewarded by an amazing waterfall. I think that might have been Patricks favorite part of the whole trip! Our Jungle tour ended with a canoe ride, a visit to an indiginous community, and a climb to a look out where you can see the whole town. All of that for $30... we were very impressed!

We only had one night left so we went to Banos... a city about 2 hours away with great night life. We went out dancing until about 2 and then were heading home, but weren't quite ready to go to sleep. We heard some music coming from behind a door, knocked, and there was an open discoteca! We had a great time dancing salsa and hanging out. It was the perfect last night. We had the whole next day to relax so we went to the "Hot Baths" in Banos. They were the most crowded pools I had ever seen. We were very hesitant, but we eventually got in and it was nice and relaxing.

That night we left around 5 on the bus and made it to Quito to take Patrick to the airport around 11. I was so sad to see him go, but we had an AMAZING week together. I think by the end of the week Patrick and transformed a little more into Patricio.