Yesterday we went to the Vivarium which was filled with all different kinds of snakes, turtles, frogs, and lizards. They were almost all native to Ecuador so it was crazy to see what the local reptiles are like. Unfortunately, my camera was not working (I think we got sand in it at the beach) so I didn't take any pictures when we were there. After that we had lunch at "Este Cafe" which was our favorite meal in Quito. It wasn't authentic Ecuadorian food, but it was damn tasty. We had ceasar sandwiches and a chicken quesadilla with peppers and a really good sauce (we have no idea what the sauce had in it).
Later on, we took a cab to Cumbaya to grab the rest of our luggage that we left at Robbie's house. We got to sit and chat with Juan who is Johana's brother and also lives there, and Claire who is a friend of theirs that was visiting. Claire is volunteering at the hospital here in Portoviejo that Juan and Johana's parents founded for seven months, so we'll be seeing her around down here.
After getting our things, we went back to Quito to the hotel to hang out until some of the people from our group got in. The girls that flew in were: Kari, Beth, Chelsie, and Stacey. We all get along great; everyone is unique and very interesting! Chelsie, Kevin, and I went out for a drink to celebrate St. Patrick's day at Plaza Foch.
This morning we woke up at 7AM and had breakfast at the hotel before Sandra came to pick us up and show us a little bit of Quito. We drove around, getting a tour, and went to a lookout point to see views of the city which was amazing, and I got pictures!
After our mini-trip around Quito, we went back to the hotel to get our things so that we could get to the airport and catch our flight to Manta which is about 40 minutes from our final destination of Portoviejo. The plane trip was only about a half an hour long so it went very quickly, and the views from the plane were gorgeous.
We took a van to the hotel, met up with a bunch of other people from our group and had lunch, I didn't have my camera but some of the girls took pictures so I can get some from them. We had ceviche which is a type of cold soup with lime and chicken or shrimp, along with rice and plantain. Then we got to go check out the hospital where there was a waiting room packed full of people waiting to be evaluated to see if their children will be treated or turned away. It was heartbreaking to see so many people in need of medical care and not knowing if they'd be able to receive it or not.
After seeing the hospital we had time to hang out at the hotel for a little while before eating dinner. Before dinner there was a "surprise" for us which turned out to be the best part of the trip so far. Some of the kids from the orphanage came to our hotel and did a dance for us. They walked into the hotel and immediately started hugging and kissing us, welcoming us, and thanking us for coming. I posted the video of their dance on my facebook page so you should definitely check it out there. After their dance they all got ice cream, and the girls played a patty-cake type game with one of the doctor's daughters. I'm finding it really hard to describe the feeling I had when they came to meet us tonight, but it was touching and it was a moment that made this trip worth every bone in my body. For dinner there were many options and most enjoyed the dish they ordered (I had a glass of wine and steak with a black pepper sauce, yum!) and the dessert was a delicious scoop of fried coconut ice cream. We have a wake up call tomorrow at 7:30AM to get breakfast with the group, so it's bedtime!