Banos

A few of the Peace Corps trainees and I went to Banos (gringo, outdoor adventure-filled city) for a short weekend trip. I think we all needed to get away from site for a night.

No curfew. No training. No street dogs of Nayon.

Just 8 trainees in an Air BnB canyoning, zip-lining, biking, hiking, drinking craft beer, listening to terrible music and dead leg dancing our way through town.

This is our adventure summed up in a few minutes.

Listen Up

9 hour training days, traveling, and Peace Corps volunteer visits have eaten up all my time. However, we were let out early today which means I am able to update you on a few things.

  1. A video is going to be coming out soon of our trip to Banos (outdoor adventure sport and gringo central).
  2. This weekend we are going on an Afro-Ecuadorian trip to an indigenous community for three days (look out for a video from that trip as well).
  3. We are going to know our sites next Thursday which is exciting but also equally nerve-wracking.

That is all in terms of the Peace Corps update though I do have a couple observations for those who are making plans to visit, (which by the way I am thrilled about).

  1. Ecuadorians eat everything with spoons so good luck for those who eat meat. All I can tell you is it takes a lot of practice (or so I have heard from my meat-lover friends).
  2. Guinea pig is a food not a pet and yes, we will be trying some whilst you are here.
  3. Outdoor adventure sports are cheap so be prepared to bungee jump for 10 dollars and go zip-lining for 5 dollars. Its a cheap to risk your life here.
  4. Beers are 1 dollar. Anything more than that and its considered expensive.
  5. Full meals are 1,50 (at most 2 dollars).
  6. Despite Ecuador being coffee bean central, most shops and restaurants sell instant. Please bring a french press and I will be eternally grateful.
  7. I will not have my own place until October which means if you stay with me you will be staying with an Ecuadorian family. How good is your English?
  8. The cheapest way to travel within the country is on a bus which means minimum 10 hours cramped with one bathroom (if any).
  9. People do not queue up for anything here and have no transportation etiquette. (Brits, do not be offended).
  10. Nearly no one speaks English. ¿Hablas español?
  11. Most places do not have toilet paper so, make sure you carry around a toilet roll with you.
  12. Despacito by Luis Fonsi is the national anthem here.
  13. Barter. Barter. Barter.
  14. American products cost 3 times more here.
  15. Rice. Potatoes. Yuca.
  16. A pound of sugar is added to everything you drink.

Just a few thoughts, now go home and pack mosquito repellent, a french press, and a camera. I have my calendar marked down with days for when all of you arrive!

Guayaquil Guayaquil Guayaquil

10 Peace Corps trainees. A 9 hour crammed bus ride with Bachata playing on the loudspeaker. 5 days. 1 host mom, 1 host sister and a host brother. Mass in the evening. 40 degree Celsius weather. A clock tower. One whole crab. A boat ride. A walk on an island. Crocodiles. Mosquitos. Running in the rain. A bus ride with an armpit in my face and a stranger putting his hand in inappropriate places. Ice cream. Iguanas in a park. Walking until my feet fall off. Lots of sweat. Bonding with other trainees. Cervezas. A game of jeopardy. A strong possibility that I contracted Dengue, a deadly tropical disease.

Guayaquil, I’ll be back.

Be back soon with more news from this side of the world..!

Two Weeks

I have been in Ecuador for a little over two weeks now as a Peace Corps trainee and in between the hours of tedious training we have in our 9 hour days, I have learned a couple things about living here.

  1. Ecuadorians are tranquilo and will avoid conflict at all costs which means they will not say anything to upset you.
  2. Do not trust everything an Ecuadorian says (this refers back to number one).
  3. If you say you like a certain type of food to your host mom, be prepared to eat it every day.
  4. Vegetarianism is foreign.
  5. Do not make friends with the guinea pigs in your backyard as you will most likely eat them for dinner.
  6. Living on a 3 dollar a day salary is possible.
  7. Chevere means cool.
  8. All words have –cito at the end of them. Un pancito con mi cafecito por favorcito.
  9. Anything you do is everyones business.
  10. Men and women relationships can never be platonic.

That is it for now. I’ll be back soon with more news on how the pre-service training is going.