Everyday we are responsible for our own lunches and get to venture out into town and find an almuerzo place. A traditional Ecuadorian almuerzo consists of a bowl of soup and a main plate of chicken or fish. Most of the almuerzo restaurants around town are really good, but there is one close to the university that is our favorite: ‘El Mas Querido’. The name “El Mas Querido’ literally translates to ‘The Most Liked/Wanted’ which is perfect because it really is, in my opinion, the best. Since we go to this restaurant everyday the owners of the restaurant have gotten to know us and come up and talk to us when we arrive.
Today one of the owners, Moises, invited us to his farm (finca) up in the highlands. The highlands are a completely different atmosphere compared to the main area of town; the air is less humid and it rains once a day, there is also green everywhere as ground cover and trees.
Overall it only took $2 for the taxi there and back so it was totally worth it! Once we got to the farm Moises took us on a walk through all the different fields, showing us tricks to know when the fruits are ripe and answering all our questions about the various fruits we were finding. A lot of the fruits found here are completely different from anything you would find in the States; take guava for example, the texture is like eating straight cotton but it has a flavor that makes you want to keep eating it.
One of my favorite things about Ecuador, and I know I’m going to miss when I come back is all the fresh fruit juice. Ecuadorians are able to take any fruit and whip it up into an incredible juice.
Once we had our backpacks full of fruit and our hands sticky with mango juice we headed back to the main part of the farm were we played volleyball with Moises’ son, Brian, and took pictures in an old tree. To take the picture we had to climb an old, rickety ladder and position ourselves in the tree so Brian could be our little photographer. Once we got up in the tree a few of the branches were in the way; Moises took out his machete and just started hacking away at the branches, we could feel the vibrations of the machete through the rest of the tree and held on tight so we didn’t fall to the ground. After we took all the pictures we needed we heard the honk of the taxi and we packed up our stuff to head back.
Not that I haven’t been loving the beach life, because I have, but the trip to the farm was perfect timing and just what I needed to switch up the island monotony, and proved to me that sometimes you have the most fun when you do something out of the ordinary.