Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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South of the Border

Hello to anyone and everyone reading this, my name is Max Huecksteadt and I’ll be in Ecuador until the end of the year. I’ve been here since June 4th, yet have been too busy/lazy to start a blog…however I feel some of the adventures I’ve been on must be shared! As this is my first post on this blog (actually any blog ever), I’ll give you a quick overview of what’s happened in 3 months, and in subsequent posts expand on some of the more awesome things I’ve done here.

So here goes: I got here in Quito late June 4th, the airport seemed a bit small but there were plenty of people and it was exciting!..Until I realized one of my bags (my precious backpack! with climbing gear and clothes!) was lost. Eventually figured out that it was still in Atlanta, and never flew over, and that I’d receive it in a few days. Guess that was the first adventure!

A few days later, we started ACLAS- Andean Center for Latin American Studies- which was basically intensive Spanish school for the next 6 weeks! However ACLAS does many other language oriented programs, including teaching English, and also teaches business/marketing skills (except I believe that’s Grupo Macro)…but I digress. I found ACLAS to be a fantastic place, and my professors quite enthusiastic and helpful. What more can I say, I took Spanish classes for 6 weeks, got 2 credits (aww yeah!), and learned a TON of Spanish and how to actually communicate in this country…(sort of- still working on that one!)

As for the post-session, we had different excursions around the country every weekend. First weekend was free, I believe Brayton and I went climbing at a small but fun and very close crag (climbing locale)…while the others went to Baños (a tourist town with hotsprings and extreme sports). I regret nothing.

Second weekend we went to Otavalo, which was super interesting and fun; for those of you who don’t know, Otavalo is a super famous indigenous market, meaning there’s awesome handmade goods and crafts there for cheap- and you can barter with them! Think Alpaca sweaters, hippie pants, panpipes, various colorful bags, panama hats…I’m currently having problems uploading/sizing pictures but they’ll be up soon. Anyway Otavalo was a great second weekend. Pictures of the church at night, the animal market, and a typical vendor stall.

Third weekend…we went to Atacames, a beach city on the northern part of the coast. Super nice beach, super hot, got sunburnt (it IS the equator..)…and we were allowed to party at night- because that’s what happens on beaches…well in Atacames they have little tiki beach huts that are pretty low-key during the day, but at night, every one bumps loud reggaeton/salsa/techno, all bumping different music no more than 20 feet apart. This was rather eye-opening- however we all danced and had a fun time. The next day, it was rum and coke strawberry soda on the beach/hammocks, and, being a Saturday, the night scene was likely the craziest thing I’ve ever seen- I couldn’t tell you numbers, but the party was way too large for the tiki huts, and went out maybe 100-300 feet on the beach…probably the most people I’ve ever seen drinking and dancing at once- THIS was Atacames (or so I heard!).

After our …relaxing weekend on the beach, we went to the jungle next! Not too deep in, mind you, but right on the Rio Napo (kind of like the Amazon, but not), in a ridiculously nice hotel! Activities included visiting a jungle animal rehab, trekking in the mud in the jungle, and meeting an indigenous family…oh yeah also we rafted down the Rio Napo on a balsa wood raft- pretty cool! Can’t remember what we did the last weekend, but the next weekend…you’ll see!

And that was the postsession. All of a sudden, 6 weeks in this awesome country were cut short- everyone but Brayton and I left, and it was kind of sad…until we realized we had another 5.5 months here!!! To be continued…

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  1. 1 Comment(s)

  2.   By bnoll on Aug 31, 2011 | Reply

    Like how coke is crossed out

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