So the last week has been crazy. JP had really bad food poisoning (he has been kind of a sickling ever since we got here), but luckily he recovered in time for us to go out of town for the weekend. To be honest, I kind of wanted to stay in town this weekend, and by the time Friday rolled around I was feeling so worn out that I wasn't sure that I would make it to Constanza, but I am so glad that I did because it was the best place I have been so far in this country. We ended up going in a taxi instead of a bus, it was a little minivan taxi, and for only a few dollars more each we were way more comfortable and they picked us up right from the supermarket where we were. The ride took about 3 and a half hours, and the driver was getting really irritable on the way and started saying things like, "How much are you guys paying?" (something that had been agreed upon between his company and us before hand) "I won't do it for that much." At this point we just stayed quiet and pretended we didn't understand because we were three quarters of the way there and that was a ridiculous thing to say. It was really dark by the time we got there though and the roads are really windy and dangerous so we did end up giving him a little extra money for his troubles.
Constanza is a little city up in the mountains which has waterfalls and beautiful green forests all over the place. It is where most of the potatoes, strawberries, and flowers are grown for the whole country. It is fairly high up, which was delightful because the air was cool and dry as opposed to the hot wet air of Santo Domingo. We went to this place called Rancho Macajo, which is a little ranch owned by a lady with a little restaurant and a bunch of cabins. We rented one of the cabins which had two bedrooms and a kitchen and was $60 a night. Not too bad. The lady who owns it makes delicious food and also has a bunch of random animals around, including a caged monkey named Lupo.
We ate dinner there on Friday night, and were thrilled when we got cold enough to put on jeans and sweatshirts, and watched part of a movie and went to bed. Saturday morning we got up, JP, Stacy, and Doug walked down to the colmado to get supplies for breakfast (a walk which turned out to be about an hour long) and I stayed back at the cabin to boil water. I didn't mean to be the weakest link in that job list but it turned out that they had to hike down quite a ways to get food, and then an equal distance directly up hill to get back while I wrote in my journal and read and made sure the water didn't boil over.
After they came back and we ate we all pilled into the ranch's pickup truck driven by a friend of the owner named Amauri. We headed another hour or so up the mountain to this national park with an enormous waterfall called Aguas Blancas. It was amazingly beautiful, and I'll post some pictures on here so you guys can see. JP and Doug climbed around on the rocks for awhile and then Stacy and I started to climb up the trail. We were just trying to get a better view but it turned out to be one of the most intense hikes I have ever been on, which, of course, thrilled JP to no end. There were parts of the trail where we had to use rope to climb up and down. It was very very steep and had been created by nothing more than other hikers in most parts. There was a lot of climbing over rocks, hopping small streams, and holding onto branches to avoid plunging to an untimely death involved. Moni you would have been right in your element. I did alright but as you all know I tend to be a little skiddish about hikes of that caliber.
Once we got to the top though the view was amazing. There was a small pool that JP immediately jumped in, and Doug was right behind him. The water was freezing. It was raining a little bit but it was nice because we were hot from the hike. We stayed up there for a little while admiring the view, I almost slid down the rock into the waterfall but JP caught me, and then we started hiking back down. The hike down was easier than the hike up in terms of physical exertion, but it was much more nerve wracking and the rain had made the traction even worse. I hiked down behind JP though so I wasn't very nervous.
After getting back from our hike we were starving. We ordered some food in the restaurant at Rancho Macajo and then headed back to the cabin to take showers. Once I learned that there was no hot water (I was already really cold) I decided against it (big surprise). I was the only one not to shower. As you all know, Monica, again, you especially, I do not like to shower if it is going to make me cleaner but colder. This is why I was so filthy throughout all of Bolivia. Anyway we went back up to eat and I had rabbit for dinner. I had never had it before, I felt a little guilty eating it because Stacy has a pet rabbit at home, but that didn't stop me from cleaning all of its little rabbit bones of meat. Even though it was Halloween night we decided to go back to the cabin, drink some tea and go to bed. We are getting more and more boring as we get older I think.
This morning JP and I made the walk down to the colmado for food, which we did fairly early and it was really nice. We came back, made breakfast, and caught another cab back to Santo Domingo. This one was a much more experienced mountain driver and we got back in record time.
Constanza reminded me a lot of being in Ecuador in the Andes. It was so beautiful. I think JP and I will definitely go back there soon and stay in the same place again. Those of you who are planning to visit and want to hike that would definitely be some place we would take you.
I hope you all had a great halloween, miss you all and love you.