Today we had our second free day. Fortunately, we all got to sleep in until 8 this morning. At 9, we split into groups of 4 or more to leave the hotel and took cabs into town. Many of us made our first stop at a Café Paris, recommended by our Program Coordinators. We went to Plaza Roja for souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, etc., the Crepe Company, and several other locations around Riobamba. A group of us ran into another delegation from California on their first day in Riobamba and we gave them some advice on their scavenger hunt and surviving being LDD.
What stood out to me today was the level of comfort with the city I saw in everyone. Our first day, I think we all felt a little uncertain navigating Riobamba or deciding what we wanted to do/where we wanted to go, even in large groups. Additionally, on our first free day we had to stay with both of our GGLs for the whole day and spent much of the morning in the internet café and with limited locations overall. Today, we had much more control over what we did and having explored more of the city, we all had a much more varied experience.
Today I felt the most comfortable I ever have in a city, especially one I am unfamiliar with. Personally, I generally get very stressed in new towns or cities, but having spent 14 days here I could easily call it a home. The people are some of the kindest I’ve ever met. The culture is rich and pure. The food is incredible. I am truly sad to be leaving tomorrow, two weeks does not feel like enough time to get to know this city, culture, or these people.
Christine and Terrel