We made it! After meeting up with our three Summer Search delegation members and a delayed flight in Houston, we finally landed safely in Quito and were greeted by our wonderful Program Coordinators, Paco and Cristiana. We traveled about 40 minutes by charter bus to the first hostel and arrived after 2 am for a one-night stay in Quito.

After very little sleep, and a 7 am wake-up call, we were treated to a nice breakfast and an amazing view of Quito. Next, we got back on the bus for a three hour–no wait a four hour–no–wait—actually a five hour bus ride to Riobamba, our final destination, where we arrived at the Hotel Mashany. The delegation members were happy to be on solid land after many hours of traveling.

Once at our hotel, we met with the owners; a lovely couple named Maria and Oscar. They told us that the hotel has been a family business for years and that its name “mashany” means “The sun shines for all” in the local language, Quechua.

After getting settled in, we went to meet our food provider, Cesar, the chef of a restaurant called “La Nativa”. There, they serve natural, wholesome and tasty Ecuadorian dishes. This is where we will be having most of our meals.

After lunch, we got a performance and dance lessons from Renovacion Folklore Dance Group, who specialize in various traditional dances from around Ecuador. We even got into costume for it! It was exactly what we needed to get energized and to loosen up after the long journey.