I've spent the last 2 hours uploading photos from my camera, editing, downloading Picasa, uploading albums and now I am stuck =) So soon, there will be a few photos from the trip, but not tonight, I'm too tired now =) I have to say though, some people, especially Becky, have done a great job with updating their blogs - so please be sure to check out the google page with our blogs!
I cannot believe the first week is over! It feels like we have been here forever, but it has only been a short time.
We had the most delightful weekend and I have completely fallen in love with this country. If I knew the language better it would be hard for me to think about leaving. There is no possible way to do Ecuador justice; words cannot describe it, and photos cannot capture it.
The Andes are incredible; I am uncertain how to describe them. Our elevation here is so high, and some of the roads seem to blast right through the mountains. The 'country' reminds me of a patchwork quilt, and I told Kathy I hope the scenery was part of my heaven. The Indigenous people here (Inca) are absolutely beautiful too.
The sun was out for our visit to Cascada de Peguchi. A small hike lead to an incredible falls, minor incidents with algae covered rocks, caves, soaked clothes, laughter, insect bites, new life-long friends, shaman, and prayer.
There is a traditional meal that takes place between 4 and 5 pm here, and so we made a stop at Hacienda Cusin for empanandas and cafe (ahh... I can't get the little symbol to show up...). We didn't realize that our arrival to the 17th century estate would also be a step into the Secret Garden. I have decided that I will get married here (www.haciendacusin.com).
The night was still young when we arrived in Otavalo, so we took quick showers and sat down to dinner. At 6am the market opened, and we were there, ready and armed to barter for the best bargain. We met pastors and shared worship songs, we met liars who sold us beautiful art, and we tickled babies while buying scarves and Alpaca blankets.
Once we shopped our hearts out we ate, showered and packed for our drive to Cuicocha. After a delightful lunch with my favorite potato soup we climbed aboard a boat to tour Launa de Cuicocha, which is an active crater lake. This particular volcanoe imploded instead of exploded and occasional gass emissions can be seen in the water.
On Mother's day Quito had a futbal game against its rival and so Gustavo and I went to watch that. It was a little intense with all the Police to make sure no one started fighting... Today Gustavo, Tracie and I ventured around Quito on the bus. We at at an amazing little cafe in La Plaza Foch- which is also called La Plaza Gragindia.... Tomorrow it is back to classes for us!
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. A few of our team members are very sick from water or food... bodies are just adjusting. Two of the members also got robbed yesterday - so pray for our safety - no one was hurt but some special items were stolen, always rough.