Quito, Ecuador welcomed us warmly after a long 18 hours of travel. Our journey begins here and will later take us to the jungle port of Misahuallí. Some of us are still adjusting to the altitude, as Quito is the second highest official capitol city in the world (over 9,000 feet above sea level) but we are overwhelmed with friendly greetings from the Ecuadorians and our wonderful guide Erin, from Living and Learning International. We started off yesterday with some play before work and toured some of Quito’s finest.
Breakfast was a colorful assortment of fruit, pastries, and quiches. Erin taught us “besos,” proper greetings, among other cultural necessities. Following orientation was a highlight of everyone’s day, Basilica de San Juan, one of the Seven Wonders of the City. It is a neo-gothic religious recinct that measures 117 meters in height.
Walking the the streets is a must because they are vibrant with Ecuadorian culture. On our way to a coffee shop we saw street dancing, bands and unique instruments, local vendors, and much more. After an authentic lunch at the Plaza Grande, we visited the Presidential Palace and The Four Pillars.
But I think what we all value most thus far is the relationships that are beginning to form. Something about no cell service and no distractions has already created a deep sense community, friendship, spiritual growth, and lots of laughter.