So my 25th birthday was a few weeks ago. It passed without mention here on this blog, but some major celebrating occurred, as is only fit for a milestone such as this one. I never gave much thought when I was younger to what I would be doing or where I would be in my twenty-fifth year, but I can say with certainty that spending it in Ecuador never crossed my mind. Still, being sung to in both English and Spanish and having various toasts made in my honor was a welcome surprise. A bunch of VASE friends and I went to Baños to celebrate two birthdays the other weekend: mine and Leslie’s, who is the other US volunteer. There was cake, there were candles, (thanks for sending, Mom!), there were mystery drinks at the bar, and a fireworks display. We also decided to go white water rafting down the Rio Negro, which was an appropriately thrilling and dangerous activity to appease my quarter life crisis. All in all, 25 ain’t so bad.
Since I’m now officially old, it only made sense to visit Ecuador’s finest historical city: Cuenca. A few brave friends, both old and new, agreed to put up with the punishing 10 hour bus ride with me, and it was completely worth it. Everything that I feel Quito is lacking, Cuenca has. Beautiful churches on every corner? Check. Cobblestone streets? Check. Ambling river? Check. Inca ruins nearby? Check. It was a perfectly touristy cultural weekend, complete with guided tours and museums, and plenty of postre to keep me happy.