Back in DC

After flying all night from Quito, we made it home to DC before noon today – we were so happy to see our cats! They have gotten a lot of lap time in this afternoon – I think they missed us, too.

We spent the weekend in Papallacta, which is near a volcano and famous for its hot water. We stayed at Termas Papallacta in a nice little cabina and enjoyed the spa. We got the strangest treatment – they call it a “deep massage with thermal water.” I called it water torture. They put you in a large shower, and a woman stands behind a wall of plexiglass and shoots water all over your body with a fire hose. No joke. It was humiliating and funny and, yes, enjoyable, all at the same time! I don’t think I have laughed so hard in a long, long time, which was probably more therapeutic than the treatment. The funny thing was that the woman wanted to chit-chat while this was going on, asking me where I was from, how old I was, etc. After that, we had body wraps with Andean mud and massages – all in all, it was a really good time! The rest of the weekend, we just read, hiked and studied – very relaxing and a good break from the noise and auto exhaust of Quito.

Monday night we visited with our friend Bo from our A-100 class. It was great to see him (and his cool apartment), and to hear about his work in the Embassy. He took us to a neat Greek restaurant with great food and a wonderful view of the city.

On Wednesday, we went on an outing to the equator, about an hour and a half outside of the city. There’s a very touristy little park with a museum (about what you would expect). But then, we went to another little museum that was fun – you can do different experiments, like watching water swirl in different directions in the different hemispheres.

Have I mentioned that there are casinos in Quito? Hmmm, well, there just happened to be one near our hotel, so we gambled a couple of nights – it’s great because the blackjack tables have a $2 minimum, so you don’t have to be a high roller. Both nights, we had good tables and enjoyed ourselves (and won!).

Another afternoon, I had a facial and some other stuff done at a local beauty shop, so we really did a good job of immersing ourselves. We also spoke only Spanish to each other, which we hope to continue back here in DC, just to keep up the practice.

OK, back to petting cats…here are a few photos from our trip. You can see the full set in this Picasa album.

The view from our cabina at Papallacta

Here’s looking at you

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