A Staycation is still a Vacation Here – Weekend #2

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Coming to you live from Cumbaya, (appropriately translated to “sweet dreams”) is this Weekend’s Update. While it isn’t nearly as popular as SNL’s Weekend Update, I can try to be about 1/4 as funny.

After our adventure filled weekend at Banos, we unanimously decided to have a more relaxing weekend this time around in our new “hometown.”  Cumbaya didn’t let us down!

Friday night we decided to pamper ourselves and reward our sweet feet for all the walking they’ve been doing. We went to a salon called Karisma that our host mom recommended. For a small price of $20 we got a manicure and pedicure with Shellac so it will last the rest of our trip! We also checked out one of the huge malls in Cumbaya.  Although our host mom suggested we try “this cute, delicious little place in the Square” (Read: TGI Friday’s), we decided to go to this neat Pizza Wagon place in downtown Cumbaya. The trendy atmosphere reminded us of places we’d been in Nashville!

Saturday we decided to take a “field trip” and our host mom won the award for Best Ecuadoran Mom Ever. Raquel drove us to Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World) and took our pictures doing cheesy tourist poses with the large monument to mark the Equator line. (Contrary to my mom’s belief, for a short time, I WAS the center of the world!) It was so surreal to be standing in such a unique place. Raquel also took us to the bus stop, helped us buy our tickets and deposited us onto a bus taking us to “Old Town” Quito. Amazingly, we managed to get off at the right bus stop and spent about an hour eating lunch, window shopping and exploring the historic part of Quito where the government buildings are. It was beautiful even in the gloomy weather. However, it was much more dangerous than our sweet Cumbaya. There was a protest going on outside one of the government buildings that was a little unsettling. We were warned not to take out our phones or money at any point and had heard a few too many horror stories about the city. Although I’m sure, in reality, we were safe, our guts got the best of us and we took a taxi home pretty soon after we got there. On our way home it started POURING rain, so we took relaxing naps and then headed back out for dinner. After (another, but equally delicious) pizza dinner, Rachel went back home. Mackenzie and I decided to check out some of the nightlife in the downtown square. We went to two of the hot spots and got to listen to two really great life music performances! We loved the laid back atmosphere and the quality of the bands. It was definitely a great way to spend our night.

And now, today, we have had another relaxing day. After sleeping in, we decided to take advantage of a sunny afternoon. We walked to the market to buy the cornbread we have all fallen in love with and then walked along the nature trail behind our school. Apparently it leads all the way up to the mountains and many people run it each day but because I hate running more than anything in the world of the high altitude making exercise harder here, we decided to leisurely stroll. The view was beautiful! All I could think about was how much my Nana would love the flowers. It was just another piece of paradise hiding here.

We are napping, reading, and lounging our way through a rainy evening before we start another school week tomorrow. Thursday we have the day off because of a holiday and plan to go to an Arts and Crafts market we have heard great things about. I am excited to start buying souvenirs!

As we near the “halfway” point of this trip, I can only imagine what great stories I still have to tell!

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