Hello Tandem, So Long Quito
We have the flying purple people eater. Phew.
And with the odometer set to zero, we roll off.
We’re finally departing Quito tomorrow, starting our ride southward. It’s sad to once again be saying goodbye to (new) friends and our home for the past three weeks, but we’re excited to finally be rolling around on the bike. We finished up our Spanish classes on Thursday. We are now completely and undeniably fluent. Well, not quite fluent, but we can get around without too much trouble. I think we roughly have reached the linguistic capacity of a 2 year old; people ask us to say everything twice, but ultimately can understand our malformed sentences. We both agree that the school was a really great way to start things off. Not only has the language bolstering been invaluable, but it’s been nice to have a set of people on our side helping us as we figure everything out.
Everyone there has been wonderful, but we owe special thanks to Carolina and Isabel, the two program coordinators, for their zen-warrior-like bike liberation efforts. As Vanessa and I grew increasingly unconfident that we would ever see the tandem again, these two waged a passive shogun-esque war with LAN cargo. They have brought honor to AGS.
Other than classes and preparations, we’ve been soaking up a little more of the geography with some more short weekend trips by bus. Last Friday, we took off to Baños (I know how to make a “ñ” now) for a few days. It started on a frustrating note as we encountered Friday rush hour leaving town, turning what is normally a three hour bus ride into five. But, after a late arrival, we spent the next two days hiking the hills above and below the town, taking in the waterfalls and hot springs. It’s an oddly touristy town from what we’ve seen of Ecuador, but it’s beautiful and fun and easy to see why everyone would want to go there.
What’s more, the town is perched on a little shelf, part way down the side of Tungurahua, an enormous black volcano that continuously billows smoke and ash. Don’t worry though, it hasn’t had a devastatingly catastrophic eruption in well over 10 years. It’s fine.
We really enjoyed it there and are excited to go back through on the bike in a week or so.
Hiking, hot springs and bridges of death over torrential rivers. How can you say no?
That’s about it. We’re spending the day today pulling the last few ducks into our long, purple row and come tomorrow morning, we shake like a tree. With a little luck and barring an incapacitating number of wrong turns, we’ll be in the town of Sangolqui tomorrow afternoon. What’s that? You haven’t heard of it? No one has. Hopefully that means the road will be quiet. Okay. Think light thoughts for us as we labor up those hills and we’ll write more when the internet allows.