Hi family and friends! It’s the Program Coordinators Stephanie and Camilo writing to say that the GU2C Crew arrived safely and happily to Guaranda today. The adventure started with an early departure from our hotel in Quito. At 7:30am, we boarded our bus to Guaranda with peanut butter and pineapple jelly sandwiches in hand. The morning sun shone bright in Quito, signaling a beautiful day for travel. And a beautiful day it was. Our bus descended from the mountains into the green valleys surrounding Quito and five hours later we began to ascend as we passed by the great Volcano Chimborazo – the snow-capped, majestic mountain that overlooks Guaranda. Stay tuned because we will soon have another adventure in Chimborazo!

We arrived to Guaranda around one in the afternoon and had a brief but loving welcome by the hotel owner – Paul – and his wife – Paulina. Today, the Glimpsers also met their lunch provider – Vicente – during our lunch at his restaurant ‘Feroz’ [fierce in English]. We ate lunch “Ecuadorian style” – soup, second course, and juice. Chicken soup and steak with rice and mashed potatoes sent everyone into protein and carb overloads, but it was much needed after the long journey from Quito. There was no time to nap or fall into food comas, though, because immediately after lunch we went to the museum – La Guitarra –  with our stellar transportation provider, Andrea.

Fun times on Andrea’s bus!

At La Guitarra, the Glimpsers learned that Guaranda is known for Carnaval. Carnaval takes place 40 days before Easter and it’s a time for Guarandeños and Ecuadorians alike to enjoy the sinfully good pleasures of life; Carnaval is also the festival of falling in love and coming together as a community. The Glimpsers learned about the traditions of Carnaval: the music, food, instruments, talcum powder, perfumed water, and water balloons. The best part was putting their learning into practice. Together with Taita Carnaval Indigena and his merry band of Carnavaleros, the Glimpsers played Carnaval on the roof of the museum. Dancing to music with talcum powder flying in the air and a beautiful backdrop of Guaranda below. It was a marvelous sight. From the Carnaval celebration, we learned how love, community, and celebration are at the heart of Guarandeño culture. Not very different from what is at the heart of Glimpser culture.

Glimpsers with Taita Carnaval and the Carnavaleros

The evening activities started with dinner at our other exceptional food provider – Criss. Cristina, the main chef and owner, served us chicken with rice, french fries, and a salad. And, as is customary in Ecuador, she offered the Glimpsers a ‘tecito’ [a little tea] to help with digestion and warm them up before bedtime. The evening ended with our first nightly meeting, and the torch was passed to our Global Glimpse Leaders who will be the leaders for tomorrow. All in all, everyone ended the day exhausted but excited for the adventures still to come.

GU2C looking beautiful in the Guaranda sun