traveled to mindo with everyone from msu (13 of us) this past weekend. this tiny town is known for their kindness, plentiful outdoor activities and entertaining nightlife. well, we covered it all. the bus ride was a little over two hours, and most were ready to get off after all the bumps and winding roads. we were greeted at the bus stop by paula who took us to our amazingggggg hostel 'la casa de cecilia' where wer were shown our awesome house that we got to stay in for the weekend. yoga-esk style we left our shoes on a mat by the door and settled ourselves in quite quickly. after unpacking, we made the short trip into town and decided on a little mom n' pop resturant which turned out to be delicious! i enjoyed some shrimp while many of the others had their first experience with eating fish in ecuador... let me give you a hint, they don't cut it for you, it comes out, head n' all :) after we headed to a local reggae bar that was a mere 50 yards from our hostel where we got to dance and socialize with the locals. after deciding we were all exhausted we headed back to the hostel to crash, and after covering ourselves with misquito nets passed out and awoke with the sun the next morning. we all enjoyed breakfast at the hostel next to the river while hummingbirds swarmed around us. then it was off to go tubing, so we all climbed into the back of a truck (their cabs) and headed out. we soon realized however, that it wasn't going to be anything relaxing when they started fitting us with helmets and life jackets... and the river didn't look to nice either. oh well, here we go! the ride was insane and incredible. we all had to sit in between 6 tubes that were tied together and adjust ourselves for approaching rocks while the guides acted as 'river wisperers' and led us through the rapids. i've never heard guys scream so loud in my entire life! after everyone shared some laughs, it was time to head back to get some grub and prepare ourselves for the ziplines. if the 'tubing' was that intense, we couldn't imagine what the ziplining was going to be like! well, one word, stunning. and another word, well, i can't think of another, because it left me speechless. we got to go on 12 different lines, starting 'low' and making our way up to the top of a small mountain for the last one. once we got going, the guides were all about doing 'activities' like the mariposa (flip upside-down) and the superman (see pictures) as well as bouncing us every which way. gotta say, flying upside down hundreds of feet in the air has got to be one of the craziest things i've ever done. again, please look at the photos, there's no way i could ever describe how amazing this experience was. after we were done, it was time for a nap, and then we all got ready to go out to dinner. enjoyed a delicious meal, and then headed to a local salsa bar where everyone got their chance to show off their skills. or at least get some lessons :) back to the hostel to sleep, and up n' at em bright and early to go to the waterfalls. let me tell you, anyone is afraid of heights, you may not enjoy mindo... there was another little trolley ride through the forest, hundreds of feet up, to get to our trails for the waterfalls. battling mud and lots of hills, we were able to enjoy multiple waterfalls, flora, fauna and got some quality swim time in as well. can't complain, can't wait to go back too, still have to conquer the large waterfall (about the height of a 10 meter board) that's about an hour's hike away from the starting point. returned to the hostel, packed up and began the journey back. don't think i've ever seen so many people passed out on a bus.... it was a long, but incredible weekend. if you're ever in ecuador, go to mindo. not only was it amazing, but i don't think there's anywhere else in the world that you'll be able to find all of it at the prices we paid. 5 bucks for tubing, 10 bucks for ziplining and 5 bucks for the waterfalls. oh yea, and the cabs were 50 cents/person. ¡bienvenido a mindo! until next time....
in other not quite as exciting news, i've gotten used to the buses (which are a little hectic but cheapppppp), finally have my class schedule set, experimenting new and delicious foods, becoming great friends with my guards outside my house, starting to get a tan going and making new friends along the way. next adventure, obtaining my censo (kind of like a liscense in the us) so i can get sweet discounts and so i'm able to leave this country, if i ever decide i want to :) haha, just kidding! hasta luego todos.