Location: Back to Quito
The unrelenting panic of not being able to fit everything back in your suitcase ten minutes before breakfast is not the best way to start off the morning, especially when the bus ends up coming fifteen minutes early. Fortunately, I ended up fitting everything inside my industrial sized suitcase just in time to sprint down the stairs along with my roommates to a well prepared breakfast of grilled cheese, Nutella, and bread that was so good it might as well have been made by master chefs. After breakfast, we dragged our bags onto the bus that took us to a beautiful harbor where we boarded a boat resting on crystal clear, blue water. The boat ride, seemingly very short due to how fun it was, was filled to the brim with gorgeous sights and lovely breezes. We even saw a beautiful egret bird.
Unfortunately, we could not stay on the boat for forever and instead had to climb on another bus to make it to the airport. Being able to see all of the sights, we saw a week earlier was a spectacular experience, allowing us to view things that were missed the first time around. Arriving at the airport, we discovered that our flight had been delayed so we had a surplus of free time to explore the airport gift shops and restaurants. I also happened to find a deck of cards hidden away at the very bottom of my bag and all of the girls played games such as War, Tongue, and a new game called Bull. Learning a new card game was a great bonding activity for the group because we could laugh over the countless mistakes that I made while first getting the idea of how it worked.
Eventually, we boarded our flight to Quito and spent the next two hours either sleeping, eating, reading, or gazing out the window, mesmerized by the amazing view. Some people with window seats could actually see Volcano Cotopaxi in the distance, covered in snow peeing above the clouds. At around 6:50 we landed in Quito and mounted yet another bus in order to make it to the hotel. After the short drive, we had a tasty dinner of grilled chicken, white rice, beans and French fries.
After dinner we had a long forum with our guides; this one was called The Seed and the Stone. We each shared one thing we discovered about ourselves from this trip that we wanted to grow and foster (the seed) and another thing that wanted to leave behind (the stone).
While we were in the middle of our forum something incredible happened an earthquake hit! The table shifted completely and the light fixture above us was still swaying minutes after the event. It was my first earthquake and one could say it sure shook us up a bit! For safety reasons, we moved the forum outside where it was safe and continued talking underneath a sky full of stars. The night was, to say in the least, one of the most exciting, if not subtly terrifying, ones we have had so far.