This past Saturday I went to Molinuco Park with my students to celebrate the successful almost-conclusion of another cycle at SECAP. It was tough to get everyone to agree on one spot and in the end, only half of the people who said they were going to go actually showed up. BUT the people who went had a fabulous time! (Well…except for Alejo who was the only guy and had a headache. But he was a trooper!)
The park is huge and is one big loop that takes you by the most amazing lookout points and waterfalls. On our way to the park, we were coordinating with some of the students and I kept hearing my student, Monse, say, “We’ll met you at El Choclo.” Choclo is corn with HUGE kernels that is really popular here in Ecuador. Based on what I overheard, I thought Choclo was a town or a bus station. To my surprise, Choclo is well…Choclo! It’s a big monument to corn. (Nearby there is a monument to hummingbirds and another for fritada – fried pork!)
Once we were in the park, we started hiking. The start of the hike was a vertical climb that took us to the top of the mountain. I kept thinking that the climb had to finish but then I’d look up and see more stairs! But at the top, the views were AMAZING! You could see 7 volcanoes. One of them was Pinchincha, which overlooks Quito and more specifically, my house. We hiked for about 5 hours around the whole loop and ate lunch at the top of the BIG falls. It was gorgeous!
On the way back to El Choclo, we had to take a pick-up truck. I opted to sit in the back because I don’t get that chance very often in the US! It started to rain and I put on my raincoat and hunkered down. The truck stopped and everyone crowded in the the cab except for me. I was having so much fun bouncing along. I got soaked but I had a good half hour to think about how fortunate I am to be in Ecuador and how amazing my life is. And the whole time, I had breathtaking scenery to look at while I was deep in thought. SO LUCKY!!
My students were so lovely! I was picked up at the bottom of my street, accompanied on the bus to our gathering point. And on the way home, the same happened. Ecuadorians are the kindest, most generous people on the planet. Seriously. They will go an hour out of their way for you and think nothing of it. I need to take this attitude back with me! I’m trying to soak up as much of it as I can!
Next week – The Galapagos!!!
P.S. The park was two hours away. I had to take three buses and a pick-up truck to get there and the same to return home. Plus, I had to pay the park entrance fee. I brought a $5 bill with me and had 40 cents in my pocket when I came home. Amazing!
Sounds like Choclo is an interesting place. Your hike must have been very interesting. I can appreciate your feelings about being fortunate. It is hard to get others to understand. I am sure you will remember on your return. You always have remembered in the past. It is always the people of the country you meet that make a difference. Wish I could meet them too! Love you.