Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome To The Jungle

GOL!!!!! In the 93rd minute in La Casa Blanca in Quito, the away team put a laser into the upper 90 to tie the game. That was last sunday. Monday took us to the amazon... so, after another extended bus ride, we arrived in Puyo, the capital of this province. From there, one of the volunteers we´re staying with -- Jeremy, a pretty chill guy from Cali whose travels have lead him here -- jumped in our car, literally and lead us into the depths of the jungle. We´ve been staying in a small ¨house¨down a very steep and rocky grade with two amazing dogs, a shotty generator and 6 hammocks. On arrival we were greeted with a bunch of unconstructed beds and no hot meal in sight, but our spirits weren´t dampened. Divide and conquer. We now have 4 bunk beds, with a solo bed for miss J Hollywood, all in one room -- our first time yet (it gets steamy). And for the first time we are cooking for ourselves... which is bitter sweet, literally. Each morning we take our 20-minute hike up the driveway and then wait for the bus (or a passing car) and ride to school. We´ve been volunteering, painting, rock hauling, digging holes, pretending to be horsies for the kids, ya know, the usual. And at home we´ve taken over a small table for ping pòng, tournament results will be expected soon. But the Amazon is amazing, lush, green, and beautiful. Some bird sounds you can´t even imagine, and all types of creepy crawlies, who of course, join us in our newly constructed beds. And rain. Rain! It´s awesome though, the community is great, they´ve also been helping out on the school projects and just yesterday we went down for some good ol´ecuadorian volly! Drew left blood on the court, it was pretty intense, but pretty awesome. We´ve all been really happy and relaxed, both Patricio and Hannah got into their number 1 colleges! And hopefully we´re going white water rafting tomorrow.. crazy! Sort of miss you, but not really, but really really.
With love and shamrocks,
Patricio y Alejandro

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hey peeps. Hope you´re all doing as fabulously as we are. We once again spent the last we separated. The Blink 182ers headed to the forest to spend a tranquilo week in the Bosque Nublado. Much like the last group we spent the days teaching English in two different schools (with super cute ninos). Once our work was done we were able to take some time to explore the beautiful bosque. We hiked to 3 waterfalls and bathed in the river on many occasions. Each morning we practiced our yoga and each night we morphed into card sharks. Our wonderful chef Carlos taught us a couple cooking tricks (bread, soup, jam) and we loaned him our recipe for the best guacamole on Earth. He also took some time to read our elements. After feeling each of our energies he would tell us which one of four elements (earth, air, water, fire) we were. This of course was super bacon (short for baconsisimo) aka awesome in Espanol. Our week came to a close with a grande bonfire and some sad goodbyes. Luckily we were able to reunite with the rest of the group FOR GOOD.
Back at the ranch (Otavalo) the other half, recently named Ratatat worked on their spanish skills each morning. Some students even learned a new card game, Cuarenta. Similar to the Blink 182ers they took a grand journey to the parque Candor and Lechero. At Parque Condor they were lucky enough to see the bird show where they watched majestic birds such as the Andean Condor (largest bird in the world) and Bald Eagles spread their wings and do special tricks. Much of the time was passed in their individual homestays bonding with the families. Once again being forced to part at the end of the week was extremely sad, but being greeted by long lost friends was well worth it.
Tomorrow we will continue our journey to Quito and plan to eventually end up in the big bad Amazon. QUE BACON! Anywho, we send our love back home and will catch up soon!

Mucho Amor,
The SAMsters.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hola parents. We are yet again finishing up another week in beautiful Ecuador. Sadly our group of nine was split in two this last week. One group consisting of Amanda, Andrew, Jordan, Jordi, Hannah and Alejandro, visited the cloud forest outside of Otavalo. They spent their time teaching at two different rural schools. The little ninos were absolutely adorable. We taught them as much English as possible, as well as teaching them songs, how to make bracelets, and how to play Hangman. At lunch we played epic soccer games that lasted almost an hour. We became totally attatched to the children, and it was very hard to leave them. When we weren´t teaching at the school we spent our time eating amazing food, taking siestas, and hiking through the magnificent cloud forest. We visited not one, but three different stunning waterfalls where we practiced different types of meditation and became one with the cloud forest.
The other group (Drew, Eli, Claire, Patrick and Zoe) aka the "Blink 182-ers" spent their time in the wonderful city of Otavalo. Each student was placed in a seperate host family as to perfect their spanish abilities. The majority our days consisted of some spanish lessons in the morning and some adventuring throughout the evening. Drew was kind enough to welcome us into his wonderful world of yoga and teach us a couple tricks of the trade, leaving us very sore yet more in touch with our spiritual beings. The Blink 182ers also practiced their teamwork in a variety of ways such as, a 3 second human knot, and a successful hack in hackisack(sp?). Que Bueno!! One of our fabulous professors Juan (with questionable humor) led us on a hike to 2 gorgeous waterfall where we were able to bath ourselves and even climb through caves...We continued our journey on our own over the river and through the woods (and moiuntains) in order to reach the Condor Park. There we were able to see and learn about some amazing endangered birds as well as view the entire city. We also visit the spiritual tree of Lechero where we chose taroah cards (also super fun).
Finally our group was reunited on Friday. After catching up we took a journey to the Mohando Lakes. We did some crazy things like climbing a 14000 ft mountain and singing ridiculous songs at the summit. Although extremely challenging, our group is hardcore enough to handle such ventures. So to summarize, all is well down south. Everyone back home is dearly missed and we´ll see you back at the blog in about a week.

Que Les Vayan Bien!
Your Bloggers
Andrew and Zoe