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Giron

This past weekend was pleasantly eventful due to self-initiative and curiosity. Friday, as a group we had dinner together at a location called, Wunder Bar with a really subdued and youthful atmosphere...it was really nice. We then spent the remainder of the evening at a discoteque. Lit, one of the two larger discoteques in Cuenca, was congested with people by midnight. Although it was enjoyable to dance and spend time with my friends in a more clubish atmosphere, I found that I was not all that impressed with it...it was unreasonably expensive and I would have preferred spending time socializing in a location in which yelling to cvonverse was not necessary. The following day, my friend Kelsey and I looking for something new and alternative to sleeping in and relaxing on Saturday went to Mall del Rio. This mall was constructed in 2002-I believe)...it is absolutely massive and I momentarily forgot I was in Cuenca as a result of its completely Westernized architecture and store selections. It was really enjoyable...refreshing to spend time in a- part of Cuenca with which I was unfamiliar and even more refreshing to see and experience a different side of Cuencan social dynamics. From this mall Kelsey and I went to Millenium Plaza, another shopping center that also included a movie theater. We saw, unfortunately, the movie, Lady in the Water. Although a less than satisfying cinematic experience, it was still so much fun to do something I have not been able to do since my departure from the States. Kelsey and I then met up with our friends Margarida and Katie for dinner at a cheap Mexican restaurant in downtown Cuenca. I realized then how much I enjoy spending time with my peers in a smaller group setting, I grew so much more acquainted with all three of them and the more intimate setting afforded us the opportunity to have more frank discussions about our experiences and feelings about our travels.
On Sunday we, as a large group met at CEDEI to prepare for our day trip to Giron. Giron is located about 60 miles southwest of Cuenca. This region holds a lot of historical significance to Ecuador as it is the location of the 1829 Battle of Tarqui which gained Ecuador its independence from Peru. Ecuador, at that particular time was referred to as Gran Colombia and it was in Giron where the Gran Colombians and Peruvians signed a peace treaty at the Casa de los Tratados which now act as the city´s historical museum commemorating this battle. We visited this museum and then travelled just outside of the town to the chorros or waterfalls of Giron. The remainder of our afternoon was spent hiking...hardcore hiking. The hike to the waterfalls was about 4-5 miles and the first mile or so was spent acclamating oneself to the intensity of the terrain, very rocky and all uphill. We stopped and had lunch and then continued on. Upon FINALLY reaching the waterfalls we were are so proud, relieved, exhausted, but exhilerated! The waterfalls were absolutely stunning...I cannot wait to share photos. The hike back down was arguably as intense as the hike up, certainly harder on one´s body...making sure you sustained your balance and footing. My thighs hurt quite a bit Monday.
This week is a stressful one. This week marks the final week of the first session. I have a final exam on Friday for Spanish, for which I am most concerned and also a presentation on Thursday for my service learning class. I have not eaten as consistently with my family because of my busy schedule this week. In addition, to my studies, my decision to get a haircut last night also preoccupied my time. I have not had my hair cut since the latter part of December, so my friend Kelsey and I thought, why not, we were both in need of one, so we went to a peluqueria, a salon, near CEDEI. After much persuasion from Kelsey I decided to color my hair, she chose to have blond highlights and I chose brown highlights. Considering how inexpensive salon services here are, again we thought, why not...what a mistake...
The two women working on our hair accidentally switched the colors around leaving me with bright blond highlights and Kelsey with dark brown. Upon making this discovery, I politely demanded that they rectify their error. They agreed, promising us that they would not charge us more for their labor. It is a common occurence to find Cuencanos who assume that American women are unintelligent and easily maipulated, this was certainly the case in this circumstance. After four hours in the salon I left with still ugly hair but at least less so than that its condition two hours earlier. My current hair color...well it´s kind of a kaleidoscope of colors...black on the bottom, a darker brown on top and still reminscence of the blond underneath the dark brown...so unattractive...
Nonetheless, this was indeed an experience...and unethically they ended up charging me more for their error, I was less than pleased and visably perturbed when I left.
On a completely positive note this weekend we depart for the Galapagos. We will be there for 6 days and return to Cuenca next Sunday after spending the weekend in the coastal city of Guayquil. I am so thrilled for this once in a lifetime experience. I am ecstatic and cannot wait to further share...

Posted by A Burrows 07:45

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