Ecuador2023
GO Trips

Ecuador 2023 – September 9 Part 2

September 10, 2023
The team awoke and ate breakfast at about 7:30 and then at 9 we left to go hiking on Pichincha, a local mountain. We arrived near the base of the mountain and took a tram up. While waiting for the tram, a local television station interviewed a few of us for as it turned out, the tram had recently reopened

The team awoke and ate breakfast at about 7:30 and then at 9 we left to go hiking on Pichincha, a local mountain. We arrived near the base of the mountain and took a tram up. While waiting for the tram, a local television station interviewed a few of us for as it turned out, the tram had recently reopened and they were trying to get the word out. Once we arrived at the top, about 13,400 ft. in elevation, we were in awe at the beauty of Quito below us. The mountain vegetation and the high altitudes, Pichincha itself reaching over 16,000 ft, amazed us. We split up, and hiked about 1000 ft. up Wawa Pichincha, what the Ecuadorians call the lower summit of Pichincha; some of us took horseback rides that were being offered. It was truly an incredible experience.
After we were up there for a few hours, we ate lunch, headed back to the tram and took it back down. We found it interesting that we could feel the air was thicker when we made it to the bottom.

We then took the bus to Cesar and Nancy Cortez’s house, where we began loading supplies for the water project and we rested for a bit, enjoying their gracious hospitality. On the way to downtown Quito for dinner, we saw some interesting sights, including a forest fire right by the side of the road and a rather humorous sign which depicted getting abducted by aliens. (We’re still not sure what it meant, but our best guess is it was signage for a playground.) Once in downtown Quito, we toured a few streets and were exposed to the interesting culture of Quito. We toured a cathedral and saw the presidents house and then got dinner, where we enjoyed the delightful Ecuadorian cuisine. While we ate dinner, a gentleman played piano for the restaurant patrons. He played incredibly well and very evidently enjoyed a good beat. It was very enjoyable and impressive. We proceeded to head back to the hotel. During the bus ride back though, we saw a few more interesting sights such as a giant bucket of KFC chicken.

Although we were all incredibly tired, the day’s adventures were not yet complete. A futbol team that was staying at the hotel had won their game that day, and to celebrate, their fans gathered on the street in front of the hotel and partied, lighting sparklers and fireworks, playing trumpets and drums, singing songs, and jumping around. We were a bit concerned that we would not be able to go to sleep, but they broke up around 9 pm, and we were able to get one more good night’s sleep before heading to Riobamba the next morning.

The highlights of our second day of travel include climbing Pichincha and enjoying the view, resting at Cesar and Nancy’s house, enjoying the local food, and that Pablo and Judi Perez spent the day with us. Things that surprised us include the size of Quito, the loudness of downtown Quito, how excited Ecuadorians get for their local futbol team, and how different the rules of the road are. We are incredibly thankful for Cesar and Nancy and their guidance, skills, and hospitality. We are incredibly excited to be here and are all doing quite well. We look forward to the days to come.

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