From Taganga, Jesse, Owen, Corey and myself, along with the 3 germans from the trek to cuidad perdida headed to Medellin, a large metropolitan city in Colombia. I was pleasantly surprised with Medellin. It is a very modern city with a convenient (and cheap) metro system very similar, but better than the Vancouver skytrain. The metro system made it very easy to explore the city, allowing us to go in search of places to skateboard, which was nice. We also went to a huge waterpark in Medellin, but were dissappointed when we got there to learn that due to a lack of people in the park, that only 3 of the bajillion waterslides were actually open....bummer.
From Medellin, we took an overnight bus to Popayan, another really nice, but little colonial town. The nice thing about Popayan was that it wasn´t really touristy, and all of the buildings, litterally all of them were white. We ended up going out while we were in Popayan, and the first place we ended up was this really local bar...never in my life have i been stared at sooo hard before...the place was filled with locals only, and not even young locals, they were all at least in their 50´s...and litterally every single one of them was staring at us as we went up to the bar and ordered our beers...pretty funny. Then, these two really old ladies started hitting on the Germans, and Felix was totally down for it, he ended up chatting with them for quite some time. After that bar, we ended up at a really expensive, really tacky salsa club, with everyone dancing old school, and vibing on us hard...we left.
From Popayan, we went to Quito, it was a loooong trip, that had to be done by day due to the high risk of being hijacked on the night buses on that route. Quito is a cool place...I loved Quito. Its a surprisingly large city, but is very interesting. It has lots of really cool looking churches and buildings. We stayed in the old town, which of course is visually more stimulating than the inner city. While in quito, we only had a couple of days together. Jesse and corey were in a rush to get going to Peru, as Corey had to fly home today I think...and owen wanted to go with them. I on the other hand did not want to rush through Ecuador in less than a week, so opted to stay in Quito a few more days with the Germans. So, I said goodbye to my three friends.I ended up spending 2 more days in Quito. I went to this wierd convent, where they have all these creepy pictures and statues depicting the different phases of christs life, as well as the bones of Santa Catarina, the saint that all the nuns there worship. They wouldnt let us take pictures while we were in there, so you cant really get the reality of just how wierd it was, but i got to see 2 of the nuns... The nuns go into the convent by choice, the earliest age at which they can enter is 18 years old. As of right now, the youngest nun is 19 years old. The nuns remain in the convent for 5 years, during which they are ¨training¨. During these 5 years, the nuns may decide at anytime to leave the convent. However, after the 5 years, should they decide to stay in the convent, they can never leave again. Also, these nuns live in silence, and solitary confinement for most of the time. They are alotted only one hour per day in the garden to speak and socialize with each other....its really strange to me... they also make these creepy dolls and crafts, and use their own hair in the crafts. Anyhow, definately the strangest thing i did in Quito. On my last day in the city, the germans and I decided to take the public bus out to the ¨Mitad del Mundo¨ or the equator as we know it. Its an overly touristy, kind of dumpy place, but its cool to know that you can stand on both sides of the equator at the same time. We also paid the extra dollar for the planetarium, which ended up being this totally irrelevant show about the spots on mars.
From Quito, Tino, Bernd and I left Felix, who has decided to go to the Galapagos Islands (JEALOUS!) and headed for the small mountain town of Baños. Baños is beautiful. It´s main attraction is the plethora of hotsprings in the area, none of which we visited. It is also the hub for a lot of adventure tourism. You can rent any type of motorized vehicle there, dune buggies, motorcycles, quads etc. We rented bicycles and rode around for the day. We ended up crossing this bridge, where people were jumping, and Tino and Bernd decided that they were going to jump too...it was like a bungy jump, but instead of a bungy line, they just used climbing rope...was too high and too sketchy for myself..but was fun to watch the Germans get their adrenaline going.
I am now on the coast...how nice it is to be warm again! It was really really cold in Quito and Baños, the first time this whole trip that I had to wear jeans, a tee shirt, a hoody, jacket, socks, shoes and a toque just to be comfortable. It took us two day to get from Baños to Canoa, where we are now. Its hot here, and there is surf, so im happy. Will hopefully be able to find a cheap (ish) surf board to buy to use as I travel down the coast from here to Peru. Not sure how long I will spend here, but hope to be in Ecuador for at least another couple of weeks, im trying to figure out a way to get to Galapagos without blowing my budget. I got a message from Owen today. He and Corey and Jesse are currently on a 26 hours direct bus from Guyaquil, Ecuador to Lima, Peru. Corey flies out home to Canada tomorrow I think...although, i thought it was today. And Owen will continue on to Cuzco with Jesse and her boyfriend Geoff. They plan to do Macchu Picchu next week, which is a shame, because I will be unable to join them, it will be next to impossible for me to get there in time unless I spend the next week entirely on busses. So I am officially travelling solo now. I am still with the Germans, but not sure for how long. Will hopefully be able to meet back up with Owen somewhere in Peru, but at this point, Im just going to enjoy being back on the beach in the sun and the surf.