Chloe Gbai is the coolest human…you should meet her. No really, you should. Shes making her own major at NYU thats this cool combination of documentary film and social and cultural analysis, and I’m hoping she’ll invite me to be her date to the Oscars one day. She’s also an awesome, caring person that likes to talk about important things with me in fields in South America. Even though we only spoke Spanish to eachother for the first time last week, I appreciate that our friendship is woven in with Latin America, as well as eating good food, Jesus, and New York City. Last February I went to Buenos Aires to hang with her for a two weeks [research grant for my thesis? or extended vacation to hang out with Chlo? to this day I am still uncertain…], so this time she came to me, spending her spring break last week with me in Ecuador. She came right on the heals of two insane, tumultous weeks of spring break volunteers invading our home, so it was more than perfect timing to escape from Sangolqui with her and spend time in some of my favorite places in Ecuador.
It started in Otavalo, an indigenous town in the north of the country known for its insanely awesome market with all the awesome thing that you could ever want to own from Ecuador. Even thought it was my fourth time going to Otavalo [and likely won’t be my last…] I still managed to find something else I just couldn’t live without, and ended up buying a table cloth and a table runner for an apartment I don’t yet have…classic. Chloe took home the most ubiquitiously Ecuadorian object that there ever was– a cozy alpaca blanket with a llama-printed design. After spending our money on these most requisite of objects we headed to the volcanic crater lake of Cuicocha and hiked for a bit along the rim before heading back to Quito.
Next stop was the cloud forest of Mindo, where we spent time wandering and exploring the town in the pouring rain, eating pizza, and sleeping under mosquito nets.It was my second time in Mindo, and going back with Chloe made me fall in love with it all over again– two hours on a bus from Quito and you’re down the side of the mountain in a special little crevice of forest surrounded by hummingbirds and beautiful nature. The highlight was definitely ziplining– it was so amazing to be soaring high above the forest, even if I was praying the entire time under my breath and probably creeping out the guides.
Chloe’s time in Ecuador ended very unceremoniously with a very Ecuadorian occurrence– we both got food poisoning. It sucked, but I am thankful that it was only just for the last few hours of her time here.
It was really sad to see her go–I don’t think you all understand the level of my girl-crush on this awesome human–and I don’t like not living near her any more. Why can’t all the people that I love just move to one awesome place together? Until that happens [fingers crossed] adventures in Ecuador will have to do. Miss you already, Chlo!