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Carnival and Quito!
February 22, 2010 - Katherine Joyce
The 13th of February I left with my old host family and the exchange student that is now living with them, to celebrate carnival in Ambato. In Ambato, unlike most of the other cities where they throw water at you, festivities revolve around fruits and flowers. The parade itself left me completely flabbbergasted. Let me explain... First off this was not your ordinary parade. It consisted of a queen from every university riding on an elaboratly decorated (with only fruit and flowers) float followed by 50 or more dancers and yes every university or organizacion had their own dance and costumes. The funny part was they were chucking flowers along with plum sized fruit instead of candy.
The throwing of water in fact is illegal in Ambato, but kareoke or sprayable foam is not....hence when we went down main street we remained anything but dry. Proceeding this locarity we went to watch bull fighting! We also hiked half way up the volcano Chimborazo and let´s just say going from Machala which is at sea level to 3,ooo m above sea level (the tip is 6,310 m high) in one day isn´t the best idea. Nevertheless it was quite rewarding to be able to touch snow/ice in Ecuador!
After the celebrations, we drove about 3 hours to Quito the wonderful capital of Ecuador. There we toured the capitol and entered the yellow room (that holds a picture of every past president) and the banquet hall that also held all the gifts recieved from other countries. Next we visited what is known as old Quito where all the churches built by the spanish conquistadors are located. Twas a pity that they didn´t allow us to take pictures, but we entered El Compañia or the Gold Church and wow i have never seen so much gold in my life! Then we took off to see the house of Antonio José de Sucre who is a war hero in Ecuador and the old currency here was sucres. I was even fortunate enough to encounter a 10 sucres coin while in Ambato rock jumping. Soon after, we went to the middle of the world and horse back riding.
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