Late last night, a group of McGill students landed in Ecuador to volunteer at one of MEDLIFE’s mobile clinic sites over winter break. Before they get their hands dirty, though, they spent today recovering from their flights and exploring the city that they’ll be calling home for the next week – Riobamba! Sahil Kumar took us through their day.
After a long trip from Quito, we finally reached Hotel Libertador in Riobamba, Ecuador. We got our rooms and settled in for the night.
Breakfast was served in the reception hall, but most travellers decided to opt-out after the long night of travelling. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, toast and jam, fresh naranja (orange) and papaya juice, and cheese. It was a great way to start the day.
The group went to lunch at an Ecuadorian restaurant not too far from the hotel. Lunch consisted of fresh blueberry juice, steak, los papas (potatoes), rice, and a fried egg. Delicious and only $4.00 USD! We found out later that it was rude to tip in Ecuador as it does serve as a gratuity common in North America.
We had the chance to walk around and go to a grocery store. We purchased some water bottles and snacks fairly inexpensively! It was great to see the kind of brands offered in the store, including both brands common in North America and those common to Latin America.
We had the chance to do some sightseeing in Riobamba, including the center of the city, a great lookout, and various churches (from the outside, as they were closed later in the evening).
We had dinner at a pizzeria around the corner from the hotel. There were huge portions of food, but delicious nonetheless. An average medium pizza cost $8.00 USD.
Everyone got back to the hotel and started getting ready for the morning. Breakfast will be served at 6:00am and we need to be on the bus at 7:00am to head over to the first mobile clinic of the week. Everyone is super excited and eager to start. However, there are still students arriving tonight at the airport in Quito; they will have a long night/day ahead of them.
Time to relax and go to bed! ¡Buenos noches!