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Best moment: the zipline and Tarzan swing in Mindo. It was such an amazing experience flying (upside down) over the cloudforest canopy and a massive adrenaline rush! 

Best spontaneous thing / surprise: maybe not the most fun in the world but saying “yes” to being an extra in an Ecuadorean film. Ok, after 20 million takes of the same scene and our tummies rumbling with hunger, I was regretting being the one to say we should do it, but on reflection I’m glad we did it – I reckon travelling is about saying yes to the weird and wonderful, right?! 

Worst moment: speaking of weird…being blessed by missionaries. It felt massively intrusive and uninvited. 

Best thing eaten: sorbets on a park bench in Ibarra, $1 Venezuelan arepas filled with cheese, avocado and beans in Mindo and a shared lunchtime plate of plantain, maize, avocado, beans, rice, pork and crackling in Quito. 

Weirdest thing eaten: probably humitas – the steamed maize snack – it’s pretty unusual but delicious with a morning coffee. 

Favourite place: the chatty and very hot thermal springs of Baños or the laid back feel of Mindo and the cloudforest. 

Things we’ve learnt: 

  • un poco mas espanol 
  • ziplining is the best way to get around the jungle 
  • how the equator works (well, sort of…) 
  • to be open minded about big cities; they might surprise you
  • eating properly and keeping hydrated is really important – when I felt ill I wasn’t helping myself by skipping meals and not drinking enough 
  • Ecuador’s currency is the American dollar; it definitely felt more pricey than Colombia and so we learnt to be more mindful than we were already being with our money. We don’t have to do every activity or eat in every recommended restaurant just because the guidebook says we should; choosing carefully is a good way to be mindful of dosh.
  • we’re a third of the way through our time in South America and we need to get a wriggle on! 

Top people: 

  • Arel, the rose farmer by the lake in Ibarra who walked and chatted with us 
  • two old men in a packed lunchtime restaurant in Quito who wishes us a good meal and the waiter in the same place who brought us tasters of soup 
  • the little schoolboy on a packed Quito bus who was reading Harry Potter; he jumped to look down to see if there was any more space, he had polished school shoes and his jumper and trousers were too big. He made my heart melt a bit. 
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