Banos Waterfalls and River Rafting

It is taking a while to sort through the Galapagos pictures, but we wanted to send another update. We’re currently following around a group from Denmark of twenty 18-24 year-olds – taking photos, videos and blogging about them on my company’s website. It’s lots to keep up with everyday, so it’s tough to get to our own blog. However, I wanted to post these few fun pics of the last couple days. The first couple photos shows a trip we took to the beautiful waterfall of Cascada Del Diablo. The second set of photos shows us getting ready for the river rafting we went on today. I couldn’t resist including Mike’s photo! :) It was a wild ride on the river and a lot of fun! I didn’t even fall out of the raft!

At Cascada Del Diablo

Mike at the Cascada Del Diablo

Getting ready for the river rafting

Mike Fagundes, Superstar!

 

Swimming with sharks

We have lots to post about Galapagos, but we wanted to start off with a short post first – mainly because I still need to resize all of our 1000+ photos. Overall, it was an amazing experience especially since animals are not afraid of anyone or don’t care about people being around…including sharks. Check out the video link below. It’s a little shaky at first, but stick with it. Our guide Fausto captured this ‘little guy’ while on one of our snorkels….

More to Galapagos adventures to come….

A long overdue update…

Well after a short hiatus from writing on our blog, we’re back again. Sorry for the delay. You see, I believe Ecuador was trying to eat us instead of us ‘eating Ecuador.’ We ran into some glitches on our trip – most specifically, Mike ending up in the hospital for four days. Glad that’s over. I’ll leave him to tell you about the details. Don’t worry – he’s just fine now.

Mike in his sexy hospital gown

Since our last post and after the hospital shinanigans, we had a quiet weekend (Feb 9-11) by enjoying the beauty and relaxation of La Parque Carolina. This park is located in Quito, but it feels like you’ve escaped town. Inside the park, we visited an exquisite botanical gardens with many different types of flowers. My favourites were the lilies and orchids (for those who know me, that is no surprise!)

Orchids at the Botanical Gardens

 

More pretty flowers

Every week has been busy with work at Lead Adventures and our Spanish classes. We’ve had the usual grind Monday to Friday overall. However, on the extra long weekend of ‘Carnival’ in Ecuador (Feb 18-21), we skipped off work on Friday to head to an amazing (understated) hot springs called Papallacta! We stayed overnight and came back Saturday afternoon. It was exactly what we needed! On Sunday, we hung out at our apartment, then Monday we headed to a volcano crater to take some pictures and then off to Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world: aka the equator). It was a really interesting tour where we saw all kinds of ‘tricks’ of what happens at the equator. For instance, if you drain water in the northern hemisphere, it drains clockwise and in the southern hemisphere it drains counterclockwise, but in the middle at the equator, the water drains straight down. We’re not sure if this is legit or not, but we couldn’t see how they would ‘fix’ it. Also there were force/strength changes on each side of the line (I don’t believe this) and we were able to try to balance an egg on a nail. For all of my ‘egg’ friends, I completed my task, but apparently the egg was supposed to be vertical, not horizontal on the nail! LOL! It was a great weekend overall and we came back to work refreshed.

At Papallacta hot springs

Standing at the Equator

Working on my egg balancing at the Middle of the World

Delicious meal from the Middle of the World

The following weekend (Feb 25-26), we walked around the Centro Historico area in Quito and found some great souvenirs and cheap boots ($18)! If you can believe, the same boots in a different area of Quito are more like $60. I was very proud of my good find! That same day, we walked to the famous Basillica which is a breath-taking church. We climbed to the top of the towers facing the clock. It was a little precarious going up, but the view was well worth it.

A long climb up to the top of the Basillica

 

At the Basillica

We made it - and what a view it was!

On Sunday, we attended our first Ecuadorian football game (aka soccer in North America). We cheered, got drenched by the rain, ate hot dogs (with chips inside I might add!), and met some new volunteers with Lead Adventures.

Cheers!

We headed to Ibarra from Feb 27-29 (Mon to Wed) to take videos and pictures of the Lead Adventures volunteers working at Ibarra’s Animal Rescue Centre in the Andes Mountains. We saw lions, tortoises, cuchuchos, monkeys, parrots, squirrels, and the list goes on! It was exciting to see how the centre really cared about its animals, helping them to rehabilitate. Anita and Oscar were excellent coordinators and very welcoming to us. Mike and I stayed with a host family for two nights which was an interesting experience. We practiced our Spanish a lot, especially with the daughter, Anthonella, who was just the sweetest little girl of only about 3 years old. If you’d like to see more photos, check out the Lead Adventures’ Blog.

With my close friend, the cuchucho

Mike's breakfast in Ibarra...no seriously, they eat this for breakfast!

 

When we got back from the trip to Ibarra, I had a visit to the clinic to see our ‘buddy’ Dr. Davalos, who sent me for some tests. Within the next couple days, he confirmed I was going to be just fine. Can you believe he sent me my results via email so I didn’t have to go in and pay for a visit? This guy is gold!

The weekend just before going to Galapagos (Feb 28-Mar1), we went out with a bunch of volunteers from one of the day care centres in Quito for some wine, Ecuadorian hot ‘moonshine’ and some laughs. In our group were three people from London, England, one guy from New York and a gal from Boston. Needless to say we had a great time…and the next day was spent in bed! On Sunday we needed to get caught up on work, so we sat at a cafe in the Mariscal Foch area with our laptops, while having some lunch and afternoon snacks. Luckily while we were there, a little group played music for us- an accordian, drummer, and guitar player.

We have much to update now from our recent trip to Galapagos (March 6-13), but that’s going to have to wait for another day! It was truly a unique experience!

Us at Bartholome Island in Galapagos

Until next time….take care….

Shawna