Friday, January 18, 2013


Instead of going home for Christmas break, my mom came and visited me for two weeks! We had an amazing time and saw tons of places around Quito and Ecuador. Here are some highlights of what we did: 
This is my mom. On one of our first trips, we went to Otavalo and Cotacachi. This picture was taken in front of Lago Cuicocha which is a volcanic lake near the town of Cotacachi.

On Sunday we went "church hopping" to all the big cathedrals in Centro Historico. After mass at San Francisco Monastery, there was a huge parade for the last Sunday of the year. This included people with huge masks, devils, traditionally-dressed dancers, and many men dressed up like women. 

Another picture from Otavalo. We had a great time looking around the market and bought a few souvenirs for my mom to bring home. These included pants, purses, ponchos, artwork, and even fluffy llamas.  

We even visited Mitad del  Mundo (the equator line)! We saw the big monument in the picture and also went to the real equator line (not the yellow one) and saw that museum, too. 

A tradition on New Year's Eve is for guys to dress up like widows (ends up looking like hookers) and running around in the streets harassing cars and asking for small change. Most men wear plastic pieces on their chests to resemble enormous boobs. It's pretty hilarious and we got quite a show. 

Another tradition on New Year's Eve is to burn dolls in the street. These represent all the bad things that happened the year before. But watch out, sometimes they're stuffed with fireworks. 

We also went to Mindo, which is a clouded forest resembling the rainforest. We stayed in a great hotel with a beautiful pool. We went to a butterfly hatchery to watch butterflies being born and hummingbirds flying around. 

We also went on a waterfall hike in Mindo which involved crossing above the canopy of the rainforest in a  big metal basket, hiking for a few hours and swimming in 5 beautiful waterfalls. The water was a little chilly but since it's so humid it wasn't bad. 

We went up the Teleferico which is a cable car that takes you up to a high point to look at Quito. It is an amazing view and we were able to see where I lived and where I went to school. 

After an airline mix-up, we had a few extra days so we decided to go to the beach! We picked Canoa because I had been there before. We took a night bus, arrived at 6 am, found a great hostal right on the beach, and spent the next two days lounging on the beautiful beach. 

We rented one of these cabanas both days since the sun is so strong on the equator. We swam, read, and ate delicious ceviches and sea food. 

I also met a girl who taught surfing so the next day I took a yoga and surf lesson with her and actually rode a few waves!

My mom was our official photographer and we took the first photo in front of the "Betty Wave." Here's the site for her surf school: 

Overall, it was a great trip for my mom and I think she really enjoyed it. It was so much fun to finally show my family how I live down here and why I love it so much. I just hope she'll now understand when I announce I might stay here forever...