The rain stopped raining, my toes were frozen, Natalia’s nose was red and Iza had on her blue hat. It was 6pm and we just finished playing Rumikub, when I decided to take a walk up a little hill behind our hostel.
“Y donde esta Lago de Quilotoa” I asked one of the many girls that lived in the house where we were staying.
She pointed to the top of the hill.
It was cold, wet and windy. I slowly walked up the hill, barely able to breath, the hill was steep and the elevation was high, 3,800 meters above sea.
When I reached the top of the 70 meters hill, I was hit, hit hard! My head was spinning, my lungs where weeping and I was in shock.
“Holy shit!!! Where is my camera, these people have the best backyard ever”
The best nature’s creation I’ve ever seen. A view of a stunning volcanic crater lake surrounded by steep mountains, and a full blown rainbow that formed from the rain and the peaking sunset. The clouds where fire red and mirrored in the lake.
While standing in a disbelieve, a small indigenous girl passed me by wearing a red poncho, green hat with a feather, a dark skirt that passed her knees and white stockings. She smiled, with her sunburned, wind damaged red cheeks and pointed to the rainbow.
I stood there in shock for a bit and then I ran and screamed for the girls to come. On the way back I managed to grab my D90, and clicked away.
Absolutely, breathtaking. It was then that I realized that taking this journey is the best idea I’ve ever had. Nothing beats these wow nature moments.
“Seriously, look around. Where are we? Did you ever think you would be here? Just a year ago while going to work, did you have this in mind?” I asked Iza, while wiping my greasy hands from the chicken that was served for dinner.
Its cold, dark, moist, cracked walls, raw cement floors, small windows that don’t fit the frame, a wooden door with giant holes wide open, and dirty wet laundry is drying over the stove.
The three of us sitting around a table for 10, eating dinner. Natalia is wearing her black beret, bright orange Columbia jacket, jeans with ripped holes and hiking shoes. Iza and I, are also pimped out wearing the western clothes such as the North Face and fancy wool hats. We are bundled up to our ears, as it’s freezing.
The others, the family, who lives in the house, with 4 girls, 2 brothers, mama and drunk papa, plus a black and white cat. Are all sitting around on a dirty 3 seat couch, next to a wood stove, and are eating greasy chicken, with their hands.
The girls are wearing double skirts with colored sweaters, green hats and golden jewelry, double socks. The youngest is wearing pants that used to be beige but are black on her butt, with stained washed out pink shirt. The boys are dressed in more modern attire, wearing jeans, sweatshirts and baseball hats.
They are speaking Quichua while we are speaking Polish. They are glancing at us, we are glancing at them. Two completely different worlds, that are wondering what the fuck.
The shivering shock!
Is going to bed, with only 4 pieces of wet wood for the stove and cold wind sneaking in through everywhere. Cold bathroom, cold shower freezing water in the sink. To put it simply is just painfully cold.
“Fuck this, I am not brushing my teeth, I am not washing my hands.”
We put together the two queen size beds for body heat. Iza went to bed shivering, Natalia’s heart was skipping all night while she couldn’t breath from the high altitude, and I kept on thinking if were going to freeze.
“We are not staying here one more night!!! I am fucking cold, I can’t breath, and everything is wet.” This was not Natalia’s idea for vacation.
So we took a 40 min walk around the crater lake looking at it from above, admiring it, clicked away and eventually hopped on a truck that brought us to Zumbahua, where a Saturday indigenous market was in full effect.
My favorite shock!
The Quilotoa Lake!! It beats the cold!