I had my last day at CECAMI last week. I had trained my kids not to show up on Friday (because they hate coming and I don't want to teach) so only one came for my last day. I hadn't exactly told them it was my last day... Oh well. I will miss some of them but I won't miss CECAMI.
This weekend I went to Quito to look for some travel deals. On Saturday, my friend Claire and I went to the Mariscal in search of jungle and Galapagos trips. A bunch of the agencies only did jungle trips through the very far away and very crazy jungle areas. Granted they are a better jungle, but they are hard to get to and my friend Cheryl only has a limited time. So we found a travel agency that listed one out of Puyo but I waited to book it. I also found a travel agency (Gulliver's in Quito) that had Galapagos trips for $1100 for 5 days (basically a steal for a gringo). But I wanted to think before I booked that too.
Saturday night we went searching for college basketball games because OSU and Pitt were playing. But no one cares about college basketball in Quito. Hopefully they will during March Madness! Then we went to our friends' new apartment. After mid-service you can move out of your host family and into your own apartment if you want to and they decided to do that. It was a really great place.
Then on Sunday we watched a lot of movies because nothing was open and the travel agency that was open couldn't book anything for me that day. I also did some research on other places I could go in South America for $1100. I found a good flight to Santiago, Chile and debated going there. But in the end I decided that it would be a boring trip by myself. And I can always go back to Santiago, but I don't know if I can always go back the Galapagos. And the Galapagos is a lot more expensive if you aren't already in the country because then you have to add the international flight.
On Monday I went and booked the Galapagos tour and I'll be there from the 13th of Feb. to the 18th of Feb. I'm excited!!! (Side note: if you want to get me a birthday present, I'd love money to help pay back the trip). Everything is included in the trip so that makes the deal even better. I'll be on a small boat with 9 other people and we'll be going to 4 of the islands. So fun!
Then I went to another tour guide to book the jungle trip. However, another person was there. He had no idea what I was talking about and started googling jungle trips. He was so unprofessional and such an idiot that I decided to leave. I went back to Gulliver's and he helped me book a trip for $40 less and it's only an hour outside of Tena. I think we are going on a canoe ride down the river and we get to see animals and watch indigenous people make chocolate. I liked this tour because it wasn't overly "let me put on a show for tourists." The only catch is that the guide is Spanish speaking. So I'll really get to practice this weekend!
After I go to the jungle I'm going to go to Ambato to search for host families for a day. Then I'll come back to Ibarra for a few days, pack my things, and move to Ambato. Then I'll be off to the Galapagos and then helping out with the February orientation for new volunteers. Then I'll start teaching in Ambato. Crazy month ahead!
And, on another side note, I had a great taxi experience in Quito. My friend Claire lives about a $2.50-$4 taxi ride away from the Mariscal. It is never more than this. So I get in a taxi with a taxi-meter and we start going. There is a normal-high amount of traffic but about 3/4 of the way through I see that the meter says $4. I kindly point out that I think his taxi-meter is broken (they often rig them) and that I know it is never more than $4 to go to the house. He says it isn't broken. I politely say that I'm blonde but I'm not an idiot and I know it's broken. He laughs and says "Okay, pay me $4." It's nice when the taxi driver owns up to scamming people.