hello again and greetings from Cuenca, our new home for a few weeks. we made it safely into town this afternoon after a surprisingly efficient day of bus travel from Zaruma to Machala, then Machala to Cuenca.
Zaruma turned out to be a great pick for a couple of kids that like mountains, small towns and relaxation. we arrived into town on friday afternoon and hiked our way up the hill (a BIG hill) until a few Zarumians guided us to toward the plaza where we would find our hotel. it turned out to be a good one, with a balcony overlooking a quaint little town square. perfect for afternoon reading, scrabble and beers. as the afternoon rolled on, chris insisted that we hike up an even bigger hill to reach the pride of the town: the giant cross atop the hill. so we hiked, asked a child playing in the street for directions, hiked some more, asked another kid, hiked some more, saw a one-eared goat, hiked some more, and ultimately we were there…at the foot of the cross (Jesus had HUGE feet in case anyone has ever wondered). anyways, following the cross, we completed a loop that ran around the town, down a hill and back up the other side. by the time we got to the other side, there were people everywhere pointing to the side of the hill from which we had just walked. finally we found someone who told us that a car had driven over the side of the mountain and was caught in the trees! crazy. we never found out what happened, but it was kind of a crazy scene to witness. anyways, we continued on our walk, got a bit lost, and finally made our way home for, you guessed it, an evening cerveza on the balcony. mmm.
the next day was spent wandering through the local mine. the tours are free, but they´re entirely in spanish, and our spanish geological terms are not quite up to snuff, so it could have been tricky if not for the high schooler they brought in to translate for us. evidently his mom worked over by the mine, saw a couple gringos approach, and called him to tell him he needed to come translate. it was actually quite helpful…and quite funny. you´ll have to wait for photos of this one though because again i have neglected to pack the camera cord. lo siento.
this morning we were up bright and early to catch our first bus. lucky for us we arrived in machala after a pretty ride through a cloud forest and caught another bus right away to cuenca. school starts tomorrow morning (we meet our family at 10:30 for coffee and then have class in the afternoon). it should be good; we´re both ready for some intensive classes. we´ve been getting along well with what we know, and it has been quite fun for me to remember what i used to know, but it will certainly be nice to have a formal grammar refresher. classes will run for about 3 or 4 hours in the afternoons, and we´re going to learn more about volunteering in the mornings tomorrow when we meet everyone at school.
so yeah, things continue to roll along nicely with us down here. hopefully all is well at home, and maybe we´ll hear from some of you soon! until then, hasta luego.