A Travellerspoint blog

Finding my feet

all seasons in one day

Well I´ve been here a week now and I can get around pretty well and hold short and not very interesting conversations in Spanish. I´ve kind of figured out the buses & am practising the language at every opportunity, usually inflicting it on unsuspecting taxi drivers!

Quito is a crazy, crazy place. The weather is crazy, it is sunny and hot and cloudy and rainy, there are thunderous storms and spring like showers, usually all in the same day. The traffic is crazy, if Quito doesn´t hold at least 2nd place for RTA´s it´s probably a clerical error. The bus drivers are all apparently ex or wannabe rally drivers and they all seem to be trying to win the ´most people on a bus´record, probably held somewhere in Delhi. They don´t bother closing the doors so it is entirely possible to fall off if you don´t hang on for dear life round corners and getting off requires sharp elbows and zero qualms about barging elderly women out of your way or you´ll end up miles away. The buses have the street they go to written on the front but these are often wrong so they shout out the road names as they go along picking people up, every now and then they just don´t and you end up going somewhere else but you do get to see new parts of the city..!

The city is bustling and full of hostels and bars and people from all over the world. The locals are friendly and helpful (apart from the ones that want to mug you) but are also mostly crazy. The language schools is great and I´ve made loads of friends there. We have coffee and buns every morning which is a great opportunity to meet people, share experiences and plan trips around our homework!

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Posted by lauraj 13:03 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Landed

Day one

rain

I´ve arrived! I got in late last night and got taken to my host family. I´m staying with a retired lady called Maria, she seems a bit batty but her English is pretty good and she´s very friendly, there´s another older student staying there too who seems nice too, I get fed too but I´ll reserve judgement on the cooking til later!

I had my first Spanish lesson today and met some interesting people, one Finnish girl who already speaks fluent Finnish, Sweedish, English some German and French and is now learning Spanish made us hopeless English only speakers feel a bit slow! Why don´t we learn languages when we are much younger and able?! It´s a while since I´ve been in a classroom and I have a far from epic concentration span so it was hard work but it´s great to be learning something new.

I´m sat typing this and keep looking out of the window because I can see the volcano in the distance appearing and disappearing again through the clouds. It´s an amazing place & I´ll get some pics up soon.

Posted by lauraj 16:18 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

the plan


View South America on lauraj's travel map.

hello, thanks for stopping by, I love that you want to share my adventure so I'll be adding to this every now and then whenever I can get to an internet cafe (and can bear to drag myself off the beach :-) I can see how many views I've had so as long as you're interested I'll keep writing! You can add comments too so let me know what you're up to too.

I'm off!

wheeeeee. Having been injected with virtually every disease known to humankind I fly to Quito via Miami at some unearthly hour on 22 March 2009. By then I will hopefully have decided how many pairs of shoes I can live without for five months.

Quito

I'm spending my first month in Ecuador's capital to get acclimatised, learn some Spanish and generally explore. I'll be living with a local family so hopefully I'll be able to get beyond 'una cerveza por favor' which, while useful, may be a tad limiting...

Conservation and Galapagos Giant Galapagos Tortoise Programme (4 weeks)

My second month will be working with some of the most unique and endangered animals on the planet. I'll be staying on Isabella Island, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, home of the largest colony of Galapagos tortoises (and beautiful beaches!). Spare time and weekends I can get the boat over to Santa Cruz to update my online diary, go shopping and also visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and Tortuga Bay, (known as Turtle Bay) which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The touristy bit! Across the Andes - 36 Day Quito to La Paz

Ok, so it's not all work work work. This month and a bit is pure travel indulgence. It's planes, trains, automobiles, boats and girl power (yep, don't laugh but I now own one pair of highly practical and so not very me walking boots) from Ecuador to Bolivia via Peru, trekking the Inca trail, taking in Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lake Titicaca, jungle (Amazon), mountains & waterfalls (Andes) volcanos & geysers (Ecuador) beaches & salt lakes (Peru).

Bolivia

Another month, Bolivia this time, the "Tibet of the Americas" where I'm doing a mix of volunteering and traveling. Based in Sucre I'll mainly be living with a Bolivain family but I'm spending a week living and working with the indigenous Tacana tribe in the heart of the rainforest which can only be reached by boat. The second week is working alongside local children from deprived backgrounds and the rest of the time is a bit of cultural immersion, learning traditional cooking and salsa dancing and more sight-seeing, a four day jungle trek to the seven cascades waterfall, Salar de Uyuni - the biggest salt lake in the world, blood red and emerald green lagoons high in the Andes mountains, Potosí the highest city in the world and a day at a silver mine where they apparently let you use dynamite!

phew. that's it. I'll be back in the UK on 3 August so will have time to catch up and bore you rigid before hopefully heading off to Oz to hide out from the winter!

Posted by lauraj 13:00 Comments (1)

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