Arriving to Palugo, Ecuador — By: Burton
We arrived at Palugo farm late, after two long flights from Boston. Once we met Marcea and Roberto, we had dinner in the Chozon with everyone that had arrived already. We woke up early the next morning, and met the last family to arrive. The day was sunny and bright. We did chores and explored the farm before breakfast. Some of us met and fed the horses, and others fed the guinea pigs and helped in the garden. After, we ate breakfast. Before lunch, we fed the pigs, and saw the cows and llamas. We drank fresh water from a spring and took a walk. After lunch, we assembled and fitted bikes for the expedition, and milked cows. Once dinner had been finished, we had a spanish lesson with Liz. The next day, some of us carved wooden spoons and others roasted bread over a fire. After lunch, we packed for the expedition, which we would leave for the next day.
Biking, Camping and Otavalo
On the morning of the first day of expedition, we woke up early and packed the few things we had not and loaded them onto the bus that would take us to the starting point. On the way, we stopped at a town for a brief exploration and to wait for our bikes to arrive. Just as we started biking, it started to rain. We biked along the side of a canal towards a tunnel where we would eat lunch. Halfway there, it started to hail, but only for a short while. We ate lunch at the mouth of the tunnel, and then biked through it. After 20 minutes of riding through darkness and mud, we emerged on the other side in bright sunlight, the first we had seen all day. Next, we had to push our bikes up a hill towards the campsite that we would stay at. Once there, we met Roberto and the truck that had all our camping gear and food. As soon as we got the tents up, it started to rain again. The next morning, we all woke up to a cloudy sky. The forecast for the day was an 80% chance of rain from 6:00 on. We all prepared for the worst, and started biking, following the canal. By lunchtime, it hadn’t started raining. We got to camp, a field with some grass and sheep. After dinner, we started a bonfire with the thorny bushes that grew in the hedge. That night, it rained lightly. We got up early and packed up camp. We biked down a hill and met the bus that would take us to another town. Once there, we unloaded our bikes and rode to the town of Otavalo. On the way we experienced small Ecuadorian towns and briefly met their occupants. When we arrived at Otavalo, we were excited and proud of our biking expedition. We rode to the market, parked our bikes, and split up to eat lunch and buy souvenirs at the market. A few of us a lunch at a restaurant that Roberto had recommended. We all had fruit smoothies, which were delicious. Afterwards, we bargained for souvenirs at the market and got chocolate in the grocery store. Finally, we met our bus that would take us to San Clemente.
When we arrived at San Clemente, we were welcomed by Roberto’s father and a representative from our host families. We split up to our houses to eat dinner. At the house I stayed at, we had Cuy, or guinea pig. We roasted it over an open fire with a barbeque sauce. It was fantastic. After showers, we went to bed. In the morning, we helped cook breakfast, which was tortillas, fruit, and other foods. After breakfast, we helped the animals on the farm. Our host family taught us a game that we loved, even though we always lost. Around 10:00, we walked down to the school where we met everyone else. We played soccer with some of the students that attended the school. Before lunch, rode alpacas. Lunch was a potluck, all of the families had cooked something. The food was amazing. After lunch, we packed up, said goodbye and thank you to our host families, and got on the bus for the 3 hour trip back to Palugo farm.
Hot Springs and Goodbye
On the last day, we took a bus to a hot springs water park. There were a bunch of hot pools, and some cold ones. We took turns jumping in the freezing cold water and back into the hot water. Apparently, if you do this 7 times, you will be completely clean. After hot springs, we went back to the farm. The kids performed a skit for the adults of all of our favorite moments during the trip. It included herding cows, roasting hot dogs and the confusion between hot sauce and ketchup, biking in the hail, bargaining at the market, and soccer at San Clemente. We said goodbye to the people that we wouldn’t see in the morning, and went to bed. We woke up at 5:00 the next morning and packed our luggage in the bus that would drive to the airport. We said goodbye to Roberto, Thomas, and Noa. At least one of us didn’t want to leave. I could of stayed longer in Ecuador! It was a special trip! – By, Burton Townshend, Student