I’m sitting under the overhang of a kitchen-shack in the courtyard of Fundación Arte Del Mundo’s La Biblioteca Interactiva as the rain pours down and spatters on the metal roof. I hear taxis, trucks, and chivas drive by. I’m eating oatmeal. The other day I brushed my teeth in this same courtyard staring up at the Andes peeking over our gate. Now I can hardly see their magnificence because the fog and rain clouds have taken over the sky. I’m in Baños, Tungurahua, Ecuador (for my Antioch College co-op—learn more later in this post and in more to come!).
I started my journey here on January 7th when I traveled through Wisconsin, Illinois, Bogotá Colombia (where I spent the night and explored the Museo Del Oro), and finally to Ecuador. I spent a couple of days in Quito where I got to see a dance performance, eat some chocolate, and walk around in history before I got on the bus to Baños where I have been ever since.
Some things I’ve done in the last week and a half:
- made quinoa pancakes.
- drank tea out of atea pot that isn’t poured but rather uses gravity to drip its contents out the bottom. It’s kind of hard to explain but probably the coolest invention ever.
- exchanged artist trading cards with chicos at La Biblioteca Interactiva.
- tried Ecuadorean artichokes (apparently a new vegetable for this area and oh-so-delish!).
- met a Baños well-known and loved community member (who I’ll call M) who generously gave the three La Bib volunteers a personal tour of the towns and scenes surrounding Baños. I got to ride with Emma (La Bib volunteer from England) in the back of a pickup truck for many many miles. We felt like royalty.
- drank alfalfa juice.
- went swimming in Baños’ famous thermal baths with new Baños friends
- made quinoa and ate it with local avocados and aji (so good).
- wondered about masculinism, machismo culture, and latin american feminism while being fed up with cat-calling.
- played with the giant mask puppets of Baños artist Edguin Barrera.
- made guacamole, beans, and corn tortillas.
- had a wild bus adventure with my roommate, Nora (from Germany), which resulted in hiking, climbing thousands of steps, walking across a rickety bridge, bathing beneath a waterfall, meeting new friends from Quito and one from the US (with whom I share mutual friends—the world is a very small place) with whom we had more adventures with (in a car!) to more waterfalls!
- made quinoa again, this time in a hollowed-out pineapple.
- saw her majesty Tungurahua herself (finally after hiding in the clouds for a very long time!).
- painted a tree and dragged its remains (apparently cutting the limbs will make the avocados grow better next year—which means no tree leaves for us for a while).
- passed by a cute dog flower arrangement that reminded me of one I made when I was 10. Mine was a poodle.
- Read a book about Frida Kahlo in Spanish.
- learned how to say “do you have glow in the dark paint” in Spanish (tiene pintura para brillar en la noche). Plus, I think I’ve also learned a lot more Spanish. Some days I’m really pleased with the conversations I can have, but other days are frustrating and I feel like I know nothing. The other day I accidentally told someone they needed to pay me “one pain” for the popcorn I was selling instead of one dollar (dolor vs. dólar). Whoops.
- walked around Baños with Nora and found the other-worldly cemetery and a really good view of the city.
I forgot how much I love writing on this blog. I’ll be doing it a lot more!