After several weekends of staying in Cuenca and in the really cold weather, my roommates and I decided to go to a town nearby that claims to have warmer weather. We got up on Saturday morning and got on a bus to the town of Giron. We got off the bus and started to search for a hostal to drop off our stuff so that we could go on a hike. We walked through the entire town (approximately 10 blocks) but we could not find a single hostal. We eventually decided to stop and ask someone where we could find a place to stay. We stopped at a museum ran by military officers and asked for a good place to stay. To be honest, after his long pause we thought that he was going to say that there weren’t any hostals in the town. But then he finally thought of the name of a place and was nice enough to walk us to the hotel on the other side of town.
When we got to the hotel there were about 15 people standing outside. I am not going to lie, it was a little intimidating walking up to this many people
near a strange hotel in a small town. Anyway, we walked through the group to the office and the man told us that they did not have any vacancy. Then, from behind us a man with perfect English asked, “Are you guys looking for a place to stay?” We were a little bit shocked. In small towns like this, you don’t usually hear English. Second of all, the man who asked us was from the large group standing outside of the hotel. After a small discussion we discovered that half of the family had been living in New York for 20 years and that they were having a family reunion.
After asking us where we were from and asking us what we were doing in this really small town in the middle of nowhere, they told us that they would give us a ride to the only other hotel in town. It was very nice of them to give us a ride and we really appreciated it, but the hotel was only six blocks away. This shows how nice Ecuadorians can be. They had no reason to help us, and no reason to give us a ride, but they wanted
to make sure that we were being taken care of in their country. Once we got to the hotel we thanked the man and got out of the car. Then we noticed that he got out of the car as well. He was not going to leave until he made sure that we could get a room.
The man in the office was nice enough to show us around the hotel, but once we were inside, all three of us were thinking the same thing, “There is no way we are going to be able to afford this!” The hotel was like nothing we had ever seen in Ecuador. The restaurant had amazing views of the valley, the rooms had carpet, and the rooms even had carpet and a private bathroom. I know that this may seem like a normal hotel in the states, but this place was the equivalent to a five star hotel in Ecuador. We finally got the courage to ask the man at reception how much it was going to be for the one night and he told us that it would be $18. Well, for how much we get paid this was a little expensive,
but we were willing to pay $18 each for how nice this place was. So, we said that we would take the room and the man gave us a key and asked for the $18. $18 total!!!! We could not believe it. This was going to be the nicest place we had stayed at in Ecuador and it was going to cost us $6 each.
We thanked the man who drove us down, but he had one more thing that he wanted to talk to us about. His brother’s daughter was getting baptized and they were planning to have a party that night at our hotel. He asked us to come and join in the celebration. These were literally the nicest people I have ever met. Later that night when it was getting closer to being the time of the party, we decided that we would go out and grab some food first. We didn’t want to take the food that they had made for the party. As we were walking out of the hotel, we caught a peek at the room that the party was going to be in. We all kind of thought that the room was going
to be decorated in a couple flowers or a few decorations that the family had brought, but we weren’t even close. The room was probably decorated more formally than an American wedding. There were tables with linens, bouquets of flowers, and there was what looked like a 10-tiered cake. At that moment we realized that there was no way that we could go to the party. We had packed in order to do a day of hiking. We each had a pair of jeans, tennis shoes, flip-flops and t-shirts. After we ate dinner that night and walked back past the room we looked inside quickly to see how people were dressed. Every man was wearing a tux and every woman was wearing a ball gown. Needless to say, we did not end up going. However, we did feel really bad about not going.
The next morning we got up in order to take our hike, but we wanted to get breakfast first. After walking through the town, we realized that there was not going to be anything open on a Sunday. We eventually decided to go to a panaderia (bakery) and grab a few pieces of bread. Then as we
were walking towards the road that took us to the waterfall, we saw a small stream that had a huge rock in it. So, we decided to eat our breakfast here. This was an awesome spot to eat breakfast, especially because of the parade that went by as we were eating. The only negative to eating near water, are bugs. I currently have very swollen and itchy legs. I am not sure what I got bit by, but I think that I might be slightly allergic.
The rest of our day was pretty amazing. It took us about 3 hours to hike to the waterfall from town. We were stopped by Indigenous people that told us that it was okay to walk through their property. We got to see a few very amusing street signs, beautiful views, funny sights and some modern dairy equipment. I know that this last thing may not seem very interesting to most people, but my Dad is a dairy farmer. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that kind of modern equipment in a barn next to rundown house in the middle of nowhere.
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