I feel like this Thanksgiving was the most homesick I have been since moving abroad. This is probably related to the fact that we had to work, that my family wasn’t visiting like last year, and that we weren’t heading to the beach for the weekend like the two years before that. Luckily, we had a friend flying into town for a visit and once the weekend started all that homesickness went away.
Heather taught with us in Honduras and now teaches in Bogota, Colombia. She does get two days off for Thanksgiving so she hopped over here to Quito for her long weekend. We startd the weekend off by dragging her along to Mindo for an Ecua-style Thanksgiving at our friends’ B&B.
We tried to have a good mix of relax time and adventure time while in Mindo.
Watching these hummingbirds at The Dragonfly Inn were part of our relax time.
We zip-lined a lot in Honduras so we thought it was pretty funny that absolutely everyone recommended that as the thing to do in Mindo. We nodded politely, thanked them for the advice, and then discussed amongst ourselves what other things we thought would be best to do. It’s not that we don’t like zip-lining, it’s more that when you’ve gone 5+ times in Central America, how is it any different in South America?
So instead we attempted to go to the butterfly park, but it was closed. Then we opted for our second choice, hiking to a waterfall, but the entrance to the park was already closed. What did our taxi driver suggest? Zip-lining…. It seemed inevitable, and it was cheaper than Honduras by almost half the price so we figured it must be meant to be.
We ended up having a great time! Zip lining is always fun, but we especially liked that we were the only ones there. We could go as fast or as slow as we wanted and didn’t have to wait for anyone else. We also thoroughly enjoyed the last line where we zipped right through a cloud (Mindo is in the cloud forest after all). It was a bit freaky not to be able to see the end of the line while flying through the air and was a nice change from the zip-lining we had done in Honduras.
After zip-lining we spent the rest of the afternoon learning to play Cuarenta, an Ecuadorian card game that is very similar to Euchre. The evening involved a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and a night full of dancing (which I completely forgot to take any pictures of).
On Saturday we took Heather to the butterfly garden. We really liked it the first time we went to Mindo and it didn’t disappoint this time either. In fact we got to watch two butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. It was pretty amazing to watch them crack out of these tiny pods. Their bodies are big and full of fluid, similar to the placenta in humans (at least according to the guide) and their wings are soggy and scrunched up. They spend several hours drying their wings out and draining their fluids before they can fly.
On the way home from Mindo, we stopped at the Mitad del Mundo (aka the equator). We took the obligatory on the equator shots, drank some weird hot chocolate with cheese in it and headed next door to the museum to test out various equator myths (none of which are myths when you happen to actually be at the equator).
Sunday was spent locked in our house for the census (another post…). We basically cooked up a storm, ate a lot and attempted to make wet wood burn. As soon as we were allowed to leave again we jumped in a cab and whisked Heather down to Old Town so she could at least see a little bit of Quito before she had to head back to Bogota bright and early on Monday morning.
It turned out to be a pretty spectacular weekend with a fabulous houseguest and a lot of laughter, exactly what I needed to get over the homesickness of working on Thanksgiving!