I have arrived safely in Ecuador and it has been an absolute blast! I love it here! And though I miss everyone, I’m not homesick … yet. I haven’t met my host family yet but I get to tomorrow evening. On Thursday we went to la Mitad del Mundo! It was so cool! The guides have been asked to speak to us in Spanish so I didn’t catch a lot of it because they speak so fast and plus, there are a lot of words I just don’t know. After that we went to Otovalo. We stopped at a house of a musician, Ñanda Mañachi, who has traveled the world spread the music of the Andes. We also went to a sort of workshop type place where they taught us a lot of the history of the indigenous people that live there and they showed us how to weave and make yarn and stuff. Also, Otovalo has one of the largest markets in Ecuador! I spent wayyyy too much money there. We had a blast that night too! A few of us went to a bar type restaurant place that also had a stage for a band. They let us play with the bongos. 😀 On Friday we left to go back to Quito. There, we went a museum hosting the works of Oswaldo Guyasamín. He is a famous painter and I’m not sure but either he based some of his works on the poetry of Pablo Neruda or vice versa. Either way, that’s pretty cool. Then we went on a city tour of Quito. The city is approx. 50 Km long and only 4 Km wide. There was a church there that is one of the oldest in Quito, I think it is the oldest but I’m not sure. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside but I have many of the outside. Inside is covered, literally, covered in Gold. It costs $6,000 to get married there. (I wonder if you’d be allowed to take pictures of the wedding.) It’s a gothic style church and I got to climb all the way up one of the steeples, it was very scary but totally worth it. This morning, we went to a plantation growing roses. Most of the roses sold in the US are grown in Ecuador and Columbia. It was immense, and so beautiful. We also went to a hacienda today. It is now a bed and breakfast so we got to look around and the chapel that was on the site was so old but very pretty. And a group came and played music for us and we danced and it was awesome! Then we went to another house and they taught us weaving and making yarn but there we actually got to participate. The people living there served us all lunch but there was one of those worms like the ones you see in the tequila on my corn and so I didn’t finish but that’s ok because I didn’t notice it until I ate everything else first. Also, the cheese they make homemade, is nasty. After that house we went up a mountain, down a mountain, up another mountain and now I am here at a beautiful hacienda sitting in the most beautiful “hotel” room I’ve ever stayed in and I love it here. By the way, there is a dog named Shoes. I’m not sure if that’s how you’re supposed to spell it but that’s how it’s pronounced. Oh! And the volcano, yes there a tons here, right next to us is named Cotopaxi. It’s been active since 1999. It’s rumblings are often heard, I’ve heard it 3 times in the past hour, and at night, it’s lava is visible spewing out the top a little bit. That’s all for today, time for dinner.