Last weekend we went on an excursion to Baños, Ecuador. It is safe to say that it was one of the best weekends of my life, and I will dream about it for years to come! We left at around 8:00 am on Saturday morning and did not return until 10:30 on Sunday night. It was a 3 hour bus ride filled with awesome views, and I was blown away by the small city when we got there. Baños is surrounded by mountains on three sides and there is a Volcano nearby. It is a very religious city, but it is also a major tourist attraction because of the mountains and the hot springs. Throughout the weekend, we hiked the mountains, took a dip in the hot springs, rode a gondola over a giant canyon, and we even rode a zipline over a waterfall. I also tried to eat guinea pig for the first time and I actually enjoyed it! If we can find a couple of free days this month, I am going to try my hardest to go back and hike more and maybe even go bungee jumping!
On Monday everyone was a little depressed when we got back to class because we had so much fun in Baños. However, we got through it and after class I continued my ritual of running in the parque de Carolina and going to the gym. On Tuesday we went to the Botanical gardens after class. It reminded me of the botanical gardens back in Myrtle Beach, SC., except there were many plants native to Ecuador. Afterwards we played basketball with some locals, which I have been itching to do since I got here. Ecuadoreans are generally shorter than North Americans, and I had the opportunity to be the tallest guy on the court for the first time in my life! Basketball is actually popular here, but not nearly as popular as soccer. I have heard that the entire city will shut down when the world cup starts, and I am excited to watch the games with the locals and witness the passion that the people here have for the sport!
Tomorrow night we are going bowling at the mall, and Friday we are going to the movies again. Every day has been so much fun thus far, and I am honestly having the time of my life. There is never a dull moment here, and our group always has activities that we can go to. I am impressed with how well the program is being ran, and I have no regrets about coming here!