We bought everything Ecuador has to offer – and we STILL want more.

Today on Sunday, June 12, was the day we were all waiting for. Today was our free day, where we could do anything we wanted to! Kind of. To all adults reading this, we stayed safe and stayed out of trouble, so don’t worry! Firstly, we got to wake up a lot later than usual today – we woke up at 8:30 in the morning. Except for me, of course, since the leader of the day wakes up 30 minutes earlier. After eating the delicious breakfast at La Primavera, we all prepared to go out into the city together. We took several taxis to la Plaza Roja, a series of locally-owned shops with tons and tons of incredible and interesting items, from handmade ponchos and sweaters to stuffed guinea pigs and alpacas to custom flutes and ukuleles. From 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, everyone was having a blast, buying as many things as possible. We also visited a nearby jewelry store and a candle store to try – in vain – to satiate our hunger for more cool souvenirs.

After returning to La Primavera, everyone got together to show off everything they bought. There is no way to overstate how awesome it was to see all the cool things our group got. Still, I heard many fellow glimpsers say they do not regret buying one thing or another, myself absolutely included. Luckily, after eating our amazing lunch at la Primavera, we were able to return to la Plaza Roja at around 14:00, just in time before the shops closed. After I resolved a personal dilemma by buying a second poncho and our group revisited the jewelry store, it was finally time to move on to something else. Our next destination: The Cafe Paris. Here, we got a chance to sit down and catch up with each other over some hot coffee and lovely crepes. Personally, I got a banana-nutella crepe and a cup of hot chocolate. Despite the mess some of us made on our own clothes, the fun we had was more than worth it. Our final destination before going back home was the Multi Plaza which Hannah insisted was close to the Cafe Paris. For around an hour, we spread out all over the mall grabbing all sorts of snacks to bring back home. A few glimpsers even managed to fill up an entire shopping cart full of snacks! Hauling all of our goods back to La Primavera, we had a fabulous dinner at 18:00 and enjoyed the rest of our night playing games and talking with each other. Our activities today were a hard-earned break, and a breath of fresh air for the rest of our stay here in Riobamba.

Tomorrow, we will switch gears and begin on our first day of the Community Action Project (CAP). Tomorrow’s leaders of the day are Ethan, an assertive and entertaining person with a massive obsession with dogs and uranium, and Jadyn, a chill and funny person who naturally livens up the room, both of whom will do a fantastic job together. Please look out for their blog post tomorrow night!

Massive shoutout to Nacho and Alex who took time off of their free days to assist us with our responsibilities today. I would also like to give some love to the Global Glimpse leaders who planned the day to the best of their ability to make sure we get the most out of it, and to the staff at La Primavera who continue to cook us fabulous meals 3 times a day.

To my mom and dad, I had loads of fun today, and make room because I am bringing home a TON of things!

To all parents who were expecting a phone call from their glimpser today, please be patient! The local internet cafe is no longer in business and the Global Glimpse leaders are working hard to figure out another way. In any case, you can expect your child to contact you tomorrow or Tuesday!

Thank you all for reading my long summary of today’s adventures!

Big love to all of you,

Artin Ghafooripour