We started out with good intentions of taking Spanish classes.  By Thursday we had picked the school, $6.00 per person hour of class, the kids were $4.00  per hour per class.  The classes were 4 hours per day.  We had scheduled for a week.  The director of the school told us we could start on Friday and we could have class on Saturday.  We would be finished by Wednesday of the next week and then we would take the Amazon tour.  This would cause us to take the 3 night tour instead of the 4 night which we realy wanted, but we felt that was alright.  There was a lot of Ecuador to see, much better than Quito, and we were anxious to get started. 

Friday afternoon we headed to school.  The class was from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Of  course we were late.  This was par for the course as we have never been able to get our kids to school on time in the US,  so why should it be different in a foreign country?  Our teachers were understanding.  Dan and I had our own teacher and Tristan and Tessa were together.  Our teachers were at different levels.  My teacher spoke only Spanish.  Dan’s spoke some English  and the kids teacher spoke both.  It was very challenging trying to learn a foreign language from someone who only speaks that language.  If I had a question, I had to try to ask her in  Spanish.  By the time we all met up for aour break at 3:00pm, Dan and I were mentally exhausted.  It was very intense.  The kids, on the other hand, were loving it.  By the time 5:00 pm came, Dan and I were more than happy that our first day was over.  The kids couldn’t wait to go back.  As we were leaving, the director informed us wouldn’t have class on Saturday afterall.  This would push our 5 days of classes into Thursday of next week, and could interfere with our Amazon trip.   That next morning we  made a decision.  We really wanted to continue with classes but we wanted to go to the Amazon.  We headed over to Dracaena, a tour agency, and booked the trip.

Pablo, at Dracaena, helped put the tour together.  He gave us several options, 3 nights in the jungle, 4 nights in the jungle, even 8 nights, where you are constantly in a canoe, and camp on the river bank each night.  Dan’s interest was peaked until Pablo said we would bathe in the river and dig our own toilets in the jungle.  At that point he was out.   Pablo was a big help, putting together different itineraries for us, showing us different ways to get to the lodge and back.  The big issue was getting there and back.  It was a 10 to 12 hour bus ride and we hadn’t heard anything good about the Ecuador buses.  Pablo gave us the option of taking a private taxi to the jungle.  It would cost more, but along the way we could stop at Papallacta, the hot springs high in the Andes.  That sounded good to us.  Instead of taking the bus back, we would fly from Lago Agrio back to Quito.   Everything was set for us to leave on Sunday (Mother’s Day).  Pablo told us to bring sunscreen, bug spray (with DEET), hats, sunglasses and raincoats.  He gave us some plastic waterbottles with screwoff cups, which proved to be very useful.  Pablo was a great guy, spoke great English, but he had an interesting delivery.  Everytime we would ask him a question he would say the same thing.

Me:  “Pablo, can I ask you a question?”

Pablo:  “Ask  me a question, any question.  I am here for you.”


Dan:  “One more thing I need help with”

Pablo: “Ask me a question, any question.  I am here for you.”


Tessa:  “I have a question.”

Pablo:  “Ask me a question, any question.  I am here for you.”

By this time, we were trying hard not to laugh.  We thought he was joking, but he was serious.  It was funny.  After a few more “ask me a question, any question,”  our tickets were paid for and we were off shopping for serious bug spray.