August Update

Hey Everyone!  I’m back after taking about a month off from updating.

This past month has been very interesting and full of experiences: some good and some not so good.  My last day at the travel agency was July 31st, so I have just been teaching English for the past month.  I must say that I really do miss working at the travel agency and it is becoming very clear to me that I want to do something in the travel industry when I’m finished touring the world teaching English.

As many of you know, August started off with celebrating my birthday!  It was sad to not be home for this, but I have a great group of friends here that helped celebrate with me.  The next weekend was a holiday weekend in Ecuador.  The funny thing about Quito is that it’s always easy to recognize the important dates since they name their roads after those dates.  For example, I live off of 9 de Octubre (Oct 9th), which is one block away from 10 de Agosto (August 10th).  I wasn’t sure what exactly happened on August 10th, but if a big road is named after it, then you can probably assume that it will be a holiday.  Don’t think Ecuadorians like to work too hard naming streets.  Turns out that August 10th might be their independence day- yes I was correct when using the word “might.”  I thought I had heard previously that Ecuador’s independence day was August 10th, so I asked multiple students about the importance of the day and no one was really sure what the reason for the holiday was.  They just knew that it was a day off from work.  This is completely baffling because EVERYONE in the US knows, that July 4th is our independence day.  And we can remember the date without having to name a road after it.  Go America!!

To celebrate the holiday, I went to the beach with a group of friends.  We decided to go to one of the closest beaches, Pedernales, which was about a 5 hour car ride.  Luckily, some Ecuadorians we know offered to give us a ride so we didn’t have to deal with fighting the crowds at the bus station. The town was a cute little beach town, with the main street lined by bars in huts- which I somehow forgot to take pictures of.

A nearby beach town was having a fish festival, or something similar, so we went over there for an afternoon.  I’m not really sure what was supposed to happen, but there were lots of vendors selling food and we found some amazing “pincho camarones” which are like shrimp k-bobs! Very yummy!

Then, we just relaxed on the beach for the rest of the afternoon.  One of the great things about the beaches here, is that there are vendors actually on the beach selling drinks, empanadas, and other food.  The people here are very creative because their “stand” is a modified bike, so it is much easier to move down the beach.  I think the states need this!

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best weather and it was overcast most of the time, but we did have a great time.  We almost saw a pretty sunset, but the clouds got in the way.

And of course, a trip to the beach in Ecuador wouldn’t be complete without seeing a donkey on the sand.  This doesn’t even surprise me anymore.  When in Ecuador, you learn to expect the unexpected.  Like of course there is a donkey walking down the beach, why wouldn’t there be?

This trip to the beach was everything I could have hoped for and was very relaxing before going back to reality.

Later in the month was another friends birthday, so we rented a chiva or party bus.  These are always so much fun and its a great way to travel around the city.  In addition to dancing, you must balance since the bus is moving, so it’s a great workout.  They give everyone whistles, which is probably the worse thing to give to people that are drinking, especially Americans, which have the tendency to be obnoxious.  So obviously, we had a great time!

When I moved to Quito, everyone warned me about the pick-pocketers on the buses, and usually I am very careful when on the bus.  However, one Monday morning, I was tired and not paying attention, and my bag got cut.  These people are super talented and can cut or open your bag without you feeling a thing.  The person took my keys, which had about $10, my ID, and a credit card in it.  I never carry much around with me just in case my stuff gets stolen, so it wasn’t so bad.  Because I’m slightly paranoid about this, I never bring my phone with me, thank goodness!  Usually, I just have my keys and English books with me, so it doesn’t really matter if someone wants to take my stuff- and I highly doubt thieves have a strong desire to learn English.

I will try to update this again soon, but this next month will be full of preparing for my once-in-a-lifetime trip to Peru and hiking Machu Picchu!! I’m so incredibly excited and can’t wait to share that experience with y’all!

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