Day 2 in Ecuador. A very well rested group of travelers gathered in the hotel lobby to grab our box breakfasts and board a bus to take us to the train that would take us to the place we would be spending the next several days.
(Disclaimer: my blogging mojo isn’t what it once was so I didn’t get pictures of every little thing, but my traveling companions have all been generous and have given me permission to steal theirs. Or I guess since I have permission it’s just using, not stealing.)
One of the pieces of information we had prior to the trip was whom our “family” group would be. And I bravely volunteered to head up our group. There were 5 in our group and we were given the exotic name of “four”. I’ll let you guess what names the other 6 groups had. On the bus, headed to the train, we were gifted with a group translator. (I’ve never wished I’d taken Spanish in high school more than on this trip.) Our translator was Ramiro.
The translators on these trips are amazing. They don’t just translate the language, they translate the culture and the emotion. They work tirelessly and are always smiling, even when they are exhausted. They also are fickle and switch groups on a whim. But we hadn’t discovered that at this point in the trip.
Any way… the train.
After the pics were taken tickets were handed out. Michael and I were in the same compartment, but not seated together. I was seated facing backward, which isn’t necessarily how a person who suffers a touch of motion sickness likes to sit. Luckily we quickly discovered there was a sitting area at the front of our compartment. Motion sickness averted. The next excellent discovery was the dining compartment where coffee – real honest to goodness coffee – could be found.
Coffee and seats procured we were free to sit back and enjoy the scenery and conversation. There was interesting graffiti,
and so much green…
We also had a train translator. Who explained the sights we were seeing and gave us some important cultural information. The only thing that really stuck was that they have lots of cows in Ecuador, but too bad the Europeans made the whole world lactose intolerant. (That’s my extremely loose translation of what seemed to be his questionable tale.)
Shortly after boarding, or maybe an hour after time on a train doesn’t feel so linear, we had our first food offering. Empanadas. If I’d known this was coming I’d have skipped that box breakfast. But I ate the empanadas anyway. They were yummy.
This train also made a few stops, two of which involved us exiting the train and doing or seeing something. The first of these stops was at the National Recreation Area of El Boliche. (That’s my own translation of the sign… Might be right, might be wrong.)
Recreation area means hike. It also means llamas. Here’s some random photos.
After our hike, it was back to the train station for a snack. ***Side note… the very first thing I did when I found out we were taking a trip to Equador was to google what to eat in Equador and this was the first opportunity to put that knowledge to the test*** Snack time is where we discovered potatoes and corn are a big deal in Ecuador. Also, we discovered Aji – an amazingly tasty, can’t get enough of it and luckily for us it seemed to be offered at every meal condiment. (Wonder if tree tomatoes grow in Colorado?) My snack included humita (think Ecuadorian tamale but don’t tell the Ecuadorians you thought that) and the locro de papa (potato and cheese soup) I ate – and the Aji.
After our snack, we were off again. Chatting and looking at green stuff.
At some point, lunch happened, but that’s a bit vague. We had sandwiches, seems like maybe a cross between pimento cheese and chicken salad, but I don’t remember. And then we had our next stop at Alausi. Where we stretched our legs and were treated to a dance.
After the dance, we were back on the train to finish our journey.
We made it safely to our hotel. We’d had a great introduction to Ecuador and were ready to rest up for Sunday morning church at the first project we would visit.