I figured I would start this blog so anyone that wants to can keep up with my adventures in Ecuador.
My first week here in Quito was a fun, exciting week full of surprises. The first full day was spent “relaxing” by Jackson family standards. My family was here for Jackson family vacation 2015. I was so happy to have them here to help me adjust to my new life. Travel books had said that going up the TeleferiQo was a must, so of course we went. This is basically a cable car that takes you up a mountain where you can see the city of Quito. Once you are up there, you can hike further up the mountain, and let me tell you the mountain keeps going and going and going. Quito is already over 9,000ft above sea level so just being at that altitude leaves you short of breath. Then add hiking and we were absolutely exhausted. After catching our breath, we decided to go to Historic Old Town to see the churches. The basilica allows you to climb up the clock towers, which is again exhausting. However, we did get to see some great views of the city and even more beautiful churches.
For Monday and Tuesday, we had a tour guide take us around some different cities. First up was Otavalo, which has a market that we spent way too much money at, but got some great stuff. Next was a short ride to Cotacachi, which is famous for its leather. After spending even more money, we decided that we should do some hiking. Angel, our tour guide, knew this gorgeous waterfall that we hiked up to. One thing I have quickly learned is that Ecuador has no shortage of green mountains and waterfalls. Since the Jacksons have never found a zip-line that they don’t like, we had to go to Mindo in the cloud forest for this adventure. It only cost $20 per person for 10 lines! This was the best zip-line we have found. Amazing views of mountains and forest along with flying through the air-can’t beat it.
On Wednesday we took a bus to Banos. One of the great things about Ecuador is how cheap the public transportation is. The bus ride is about 3 1/2 hours and cost $4 a person!! By far, this was the most interesting experience. The bus will stop for anyone along the side of the road that wants to get on, meaning you don’t have to be at a bus stop at all. Sometimes, when the bus stops, vendors will come on and walk up and down the aisle selling whatever food they have. I don’t usually ride buses in the US, but I don’t think this is a common thing in the states. Banos was gorgeous and Dad splurged a little so we could stay at a nice spa resort for the night-which ended up being very useful. After getting lost hiking and exploring the town, we decided to go to the hot (more like warm) tub at the hotel which overlooked the city. Everything was great up until this night. I have no idea what exactly it was, but when I woke up Thursday, I felt awful. Both Mom and I were sick sick sick, so we stayed in the hotel and pretty much laid down all morning, while Chris and Dad went biking. We tried to walk around the resort a little, but I ended up having to climb through my bathroom window because I was sick-thank goodness for that window. We were supposed to take a 3 o’clock bus back to Quito, but I wasn’t in good shape. From not being able to keep anything down, I had become extremely dehydrated and was forced to go to the hospital in Banos. The ER consisted of 2 rooms and 5 beds and very very little English being spoken.
I was put in the back room with an IV for about 2 hours before Dad got me out so we could take a bus back to Quito. The entire bus ride is along a winding 2 lane road through mountains, and the roads are not the smoothest. I don’t think I have ever prayed more in a 3 hour time span. At one point, a lady came on the bus and made what seemed like 10 laps up and down trying to sell empanadas, and if I actually had any strength, I would have thrown her off of the bus. Let me tell you, that is not something you want to smell when you don’t feel well at all. Luckily, Mom and I survived probably the worst bus ride of our lives.
Friday was a day of recovery for Mom and I. We walked around some of the parks, but I had to stop and rest every 10 minutes or so because I still felt so weak. Everyone needed some rest, so we took the day pretty easy and the family had to pack since their flights left early Saturday morning.
Thanks for reading this and I will keep y’all updated as this journey progresses!