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Brittany: A weekend on the equator

September 6, 2010

I had a great weekend! On Friday, all of the CIMAS students and three of our professors went to San Miguel de los Bancos, a town on the equator. After weaving along mountain roads for three hours (and somehow avoiding being car sick), we arrived at our resort, “el encanto.” It was small but nice, and our group had it to ourselves. The girls and guys each had their own “house,” which was really nice and big with fantastic views overlooking the surrounding forest. We were pretty far from everything—the actual town of San Miguel was 30 minutes away.

After eating breakfast, we went on a crazy hike. Guides from the resort led us down a trail through the forest, showing us plants and such along the way. At one point, we could see through the trees to a place where an earthquake had ripped through, and to another part of the forest that no one has ever been in before. There was also a horse and later a donkey randomly hanging out along the trail, which was pretty amusing. After about two hours of carefully trekking down lower and lower along the dirt/mud path, we reached the river. Someone heard that we went 3,000 feet down, but I’m not sure.

At the bottom, our guides told us to go ahead and take off our clothes (we all had our swim suits on), but keep our tennis shoes on. I figured that meant we had to swim with our shoes—maybe it was rocky. Instead, we had to climb up and down some final steep spots before actually getting to the right spot on the river.

Needless to say it was a little awkward to hike for another twenty minutes in your swimsuit… especially because when we finally got to the location it seemed like we could have easily just taken off our clothes there. It is possible this had something to do with the fact the guides kept filming us on their phones while we swam. So I might be popping up in a promotional video for the resort (at least I hope that was what it was for…).

Nevertheless, we finally go to the right spot on the river and swam for an hour. It was freezing but really fun. Of course, then we had to hike back up the mountain to the resort…

The rest of Friday and half of Saturday we got to swim in the pool, be in the hot tub, and hang out. We also had some school-related things, like group-bonding activities, a dance class and a session about Incan history and the environment.

Overall it was a really fun day and a half and we were all sad to go back to Quito. It was fantastic to hang out outside and relax. I like the weather in Quito, but I feel like I rarely spend anytime outside, so a little while exactly on the equator was perfect.

–Brittany Libra

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