Blogging South America: Cotopaxi and Room Service

Today we went mountain biking down Cotopaxi which, at 5 897m is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Driving through the Avenue of Volcanoes in the bus was quite terrifying because most of the roads are covered in layers of ash and rock and tyres kept losing grip. Hugo, our bus driver, kept having to stop and reverse and take run ups. Well, drive ups, I suppose. But on either side of these roads there are either steep drops or deep ditches and seeing the wheels roll backwards, perilously close to the edges was heart-stopping. Hugo has done this route several times before so he knew what he was doing but that didn’t exactly offer much solace as the distance between bus and moderate cliff decreased.

Eventually (thankfully!) it was decided that the Little Bus that Couldn’t had to stop braving the ashy roads so we got out and hiked the rest of the way. We stopped at around 4 600m to collect our bikes. We were warned it was going to be cold so I felt very much like the Michelin Man dressed in my hiking boots and socks, two pairs of pants, a vest, a t-shirt, a long-sleeve pyjama shirt, a fleecy rain jacket, my new alpaca beanie and scarf (it’s getting cold; alpaca beanie- heehee), and two pairs of gloves. Believe it or not, I was still freezing. And I couldn’t pull up my scarf over my nose because then every time I breathed my sunglasses would fog up. I still have all my facial features,though, (even if some don’t exactly function properly. Or at all) so don’t be concerned about that. We began our thrilling ride down the mountain. About an hour into the ride, the clouds cleared just enough for us to see the snowy top of the volcano. The rocks were a rusty red colour that looked awesome against the green of the surrounding land.

At the end of our 15km, rocky, bumpy, can-no-longer-feel-my-butt-but-that’s-okay-’cause-it-was-worth-it bicycle ride, we at lunch at the foot of Cotopaxi. After that we had a long bus ride back to our hotel. We spent the trip taking turns telling each other the plots of every horror movie known to this generation but that was only fun until it got dark. Then we played this game called ‘Never Have I Ever’ and let everyone share their love life stories and awkward/ embarrassing moments. I made some puns that made the whole bus laugh and I felt very powerful. We laughed until we could barely breathe (and not because of the altitude this time) and we arrived at our hotel at 19:30 but I could’ve done that the whole night. It was so much fun getting to know everyone.

The language barrier made an appearance again when we ordered room service. My friend picked up the phone, dialled 3 and, when the lady picked up, said, “Buenas noches.” and then immediately after, “I don’t actually speak Spanish. Sorry.” We ordered our food and it arrived many hungry minutes later. We lifted the lids only to discover that the lady who picked up had somehow mistaken ‘Fresh fruit’ for ‘French fries’. So there was that hilarious incident that you probably had to be there for.

PS: I’ve packed my backpack for our two days in the Amazon basin. We’re leaving early tomorrow. I don’t know how much internet access I’m going to have there so some posts may be a couple days late. I’ll try my best.
Miss me too much xo