The university has this wonderful program called Ecuabuddies, where international students get paired up with Ecuadorian students. Many activities are offered through the program. This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to a party at a hacienda (plantation/ranch) with Ecuabuddies. It was located south of Quito, above a town called Machachi. Three buses were arranged to transport everyone. As we got above the town a bit, the roads got very narrow, curvy and bumpy. The buses couldn’t make it uphill all the way, so we had to walk a ways to reach our destination. Along the way, we saw small plots of land being farmed by indigenous people, fields of flowers, and cows.
We could see incredible views of mountains, including snow-capped Cotopaxi and a couple of other snow-capped peaks. The hacienda must have been located at over 10,000 feet, since the valley below was well over 9,000. This meant that we had a view of the town below.
The party had all kinds of activities. There was dancing, great food, live music, games such as frisbee, and most uniquely, a bull fight. Traditional bull fights, where the bull gets killed, are illegal in Ecuador. However, people can still have them minus the killing of the bull. A couple of small bulls were brought out, and the Chagras (Ecuadorian cowboys), started out. Then many of the students decided to take part as well. I decided not to, first of all because it could be slightly dangerous, and secondly because I wasn’t feeling well. The party was very fun but hampered slightly by off-and-on stomach cramps that I kept having, since the night before. However, I was still able to enjoy myself with all of the festivities and meet many people.
By the end of the party, I was tired from all of the festivities. My plan was to finish an essay for one of my classes so that I could take the Teleferico (cable car) up Pichincha, the closest volcano to Quito, the next day. This did not come to pass as I developed a fever and chills soon after I arrived home. I ended up going to bed early and sleeping a long time. I really hope I get better soon so I can go back out and enjoy my experience here!