I’ve been back in the United States for about three months now, but if you gave me a ticket to Ecuador, I WOULD SO BE ON THAT PLANE AND NEVER WANT TO COME BACK. Unfortunately, I would not do that because now I have big girl responsibilities and work for an amazing organization (Memphis Teacher Residency: http://memphistr.org/). I have been looking up flights to Ecuador (round trip in December’s only $680), but I also have a wedding to save up for, so I won’t be going back to Ecuador for a while… not on an intern’s/student’s/teacher’s salary… Anyway, besides that, I was looking through all of my Ecuador/Peru photos and just picked out a bunch that I absolutely love because they bring back such rich and fun memories. In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorite moments/places/food photos (that I took) from Ecuador.
1. Our photo before starting our hike at Quilotoa (crater lake) with Vivak Mountaineering. I spent the whole day with some amazing Ecuadorians, as well as las super mega ful cheveres chicas Alicia, Katie, Taylor, Raquel, y Misha! We all got really tight that day and bonded over climbing up a mountain in rain and hail. This was also the day we started to PAZ in every photo. No regrets. Also. Jajajajajaja. OH. This was also the place of the chugchucara joke.
2. Markets in Ecuador were the absolute best! WAYYYYY better than any farmer’s market here in the States. The produce was all natural, sin quimicos (without chemicals), super sweet, and super cheap. For these reasons, I hardly, if ever, buy fruit in the States. They just don’t taste the same! They’re not as tasty! Mangoes especially. Mangoes taste much sweeter and much richer in Ecuador. I also miss the exotic Latin American fruits like granadillas, maracuya (passion fruit), and guanabana (soursop).
3. Here’s Alice, Michelle, and I on our trip to the Amazon! It was such an adventure- going splunking, speaking Kichwa, visiting an indigenous village, eating cacao fruit, learning to shoot blow darts… all the while, Michelle collecting her own fruits to take home. What a rich cultural experience! Also, I will be using the word “rich” a lot because that’s the word we used to describe anything pleasant in Ecuador- que rico!
4. This photo was taken in Peru! We visited our tour guide’s home town, where he showed us the local market, allowed us to pick corn from his field, cook and eat the corn with fresh cheese, and watch his football team play! It was such a fun time! Not to mention, look at this AWESOME football field! Ecuadorians take football seriously… And it was breathtaking that the mountains were the background while watching the game. How many football fields have you been to in the mountains?
5. One of four puppies my family’s dog had! My siblings and I would go up to the roof all the time to take care of them and play with them. Sometimes I even invited friends over for puppy play time, which was so much fun! They were such miserable little things at first because they couldn’t really see or walk. But once they were able to, I’m sure they had as much fun as we did!
6. PINCHOS. MEAT ON A STICK. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW AMAZING THESE WERE. AND THEY WERE SO CHEAP. PERFECT FOR LUNCH, DINNER, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. YOU COULD PICK EITHER BEEF OR CHICKEN, BUT ALSO ON THE STICK WAS A PIECE OF PLANTAIN AND A PIECE OF SAUSAGE. SALCHICA!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THEN YOU COULD PUT AJI (SPICY SAUCE) AND MAYONESA (MAYONNAISE) ON IT AND THAT WOULD MAKE IT SUPER MEGA FUL RICO!!!! Yes, I ate meat in Ecuador. Only because 1) animals are raised on family farms and not factory farms (they’re treated well, they’re fed well, they’re quickly slaughtered, they go from backyard to plate, etc.) and 2) animals aren’t injected with nasty hormones or other chemicals. Anyway, PINCHOS WERE THE BEST.
7. MI FAMILIA! Rosa (mom), Juan Carlos (pops), Josue (18), Carlos (15) and Genesis (8). They were the best part of my experience in Ecuador. I miss chatting over meals with them, helping Rosa harvest veggies to cook for dinner, discussing many topics with Josue, trying to relate to Carlos by talking about rock music, playing weird and silly games with Genesis, and watching soap operas before dinner. I still keep in contact with them and hope to continue to forever!!!!!!!!!
8. CEVICHOCHOS!!!!!!! Por man’s ceviche. This was like $1.50. Chochos are like beans. Then it’s covered in onions, tomatoes, cilantro, aji (spicy sauce), lime juice, tostadas (toasted corn), chifles (plantain chips), and depending on where you buy it, other toppings. But the best, I think, came from a street vendor near la parque Carolina. MMMMMMMM. So good. So cheap.
9. Genesita! She’s the craziest little 8 year old ever. You can’t tell in this photo, because she looks like a fairly responsible child who’s washing her own dirty shoes, but she was ridiculous. Here are some examples: 1) during dinner, she told me to learn over so she could tell me a secret. I asked her “what?” and she said “I’m eating your hair.”; 2) she once walked into my room with a laundry basket over her head and then walked out; 3) she was addicted to ketchup and mayonnaise… and one time, I found two empty packets of mayonnaise in the shower; 4) she liked to walk around without pants. Anyway, you get it? She was a hoot! I would often call her “la loca.” Jajajajaja.
10. MACHU PICCHU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It took us almost 5 days to hike (also bike and zipline) to this marvelous place, but it was well worth it. Talk about the most spectacular sight I’ve ever seen! The Incas were master architects, as they constructed this whole city by simply fitting stones into each other. They must have also been really strong since they had to drag all of the rocks they used from the bottom of the mountain. What an unforgettable experience. We met some really awesome people from England, Ireland, and Australia too.
DIOS LE PAGUE.