Monday, May 3, 2010

Acclimatization Begins

Today Pepe picked me up at my hostel at 8am. It was supposed to be 7:30 but he was stuck in traffic. Haven't seen him for two years, the guy looked the same. We left the city and into the suburb of Quito. The ride was not smooth, with lots bumps. The roads were not paved at all. In fact, they were all muddy after a few weeks of rain. I have been unlucky. Since I arrived, it rains everyday, down pouring. Pepe told me the are floods everywhere in low lands. I didn't know there is national emergency going on in Ecuador. Only if I speak Spanish to know this!

He drove me to the the trail of the mountain. It was so muddy that the car wouldn't move. We ended up walking twice the distance to the top. The hike was wet and obviously very dirty. We had to be super careful with each step as it was very slick. My pants were covered in mud and my shoes soaking. However, I didn't realize the wet socks until later. The wool socks are amazing. I felt warm in even they were completely dampened.

At the top, which is about 13000 ft (3900m), the view was okay, most covered in thick clouds and no sun. We chilled there for 20 minutes and took off.

Needless to say, the way down wasn't easier with slippery earth. Once we reach to the car which he parked in the middle of the road where we couldn't move further, Pepe took 0ut his soil digger and started to plant trees. We planted about 8 trees there. It was nice to be part of tree planting program that he's in for the Ecuadorian Red Cross.

He drove me back to his place in a very nice neighborhood of Cumbaya, outside of Quito. It's almost like Saratoga in the South Bay with lots of nice boutique shops and seclusive houses. He and his wife Monique and their children, 5 years old Jose and a girl (11) who I didn't get to meet, live in a beautiful house, very buddhistish with lots of Asian traces such as bamboo trees and paper lanterns. Apparently, Monique is a big fan of India. She's a great cook too, as she served us excellent lunch with pasta sopa and prime ribs.

It was a great first day although the weather sucked (and continue to).

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