After spending one sleepless night with the volcán erupting we ran away to the jungle for two nights and anticipated returning to a more peaceful Baños. Once back and talking to more people we realized this thing could erupt for weeks or months, probably without hurting anyone. We had the opportunity to housesit on the other side of town, in an area “protected” (supposedly) from the volcano. Since we weren’t ready to give up on Baños just yet, we took the offer to stay for 12 more days. Eruption or no eruption, we committed to staying until the 13th. All the work entails is taking care of the crazy German Shepherd and turning the lights on and off. However, we weren’t needed immediately after our return, so that meant two more awful nights in a tent on the slopes of The BEAST. Every night right around dusk, Tungurahua works itself into a frenzy and by the time the sky is dark you can witness the power of nature. BOOM with the bass as the ground shakes and the windows rattle and shake, then seconds or minutes before the next BOOM and the ground shakes again. The sky begins to clear and you see flaming balls of molten rocks as big as your house thrown over 1000 feet in the air. Then you feel the thump as the lava lands on the side of the mountain. Repeat over and over: BOOM rumble BOOM rumble thump thump BOOM thump thump thump rumble rumble. This continues until after midnight when it stays quieter until you are finally asleep, then wakes you before dawn with a CRACK rumble BOOM thump thump and you scream “Why are we here and when can we leave?!?”
Once the sun came up on Friday (5 days into the eruption) I picked some tea and noticed the leaves were covered in ash. Later when we walked to town we noticed that our eyes felt dry and irritated and a general haziness had crept up in the night. Still all the locals went about their day as normal and laughed to hear us talk about how scared we were. That night was more of the same, relentless and stressful. We had to get off the side of the hill!
So we survived our last two nights sleeping out and made our way to our new temporary home. We settled in and it was, as we had hoped, much quieter. The very top of the peak is still visible but the floor hardly ever even shakes here. With the rumbles minimized and the added safety of being out of the lava flow zone (so they say), we began to relax for the first time since returning to Baños. The glow is still there at night, ash still falls from the sky sometimes, and occasionally we are woken by explosions in the night, but we are so much calmer. We were even eventually able to get some sleep!
As of 17:30 Sunday, December 4th, 2011, the Volcán Tungurahua is still erupting as strong as ever with a continuous rumble and several larger reports throughout the day. Recently there has been a small amount of ash rain and the sun has been hidden behind the volcanic cloud. We continue trying to stay calm in our new, safer, house, although we are still vigilantly listening for the evacuation siren and at times wondering why we agreed to stay.
Do you think we’re crazy for staying? Should we abandon the dog and book it out of town?
One day in San Agustín, we walked from the Maya Hostal 2.5 kilometers to the Parque Arqueologico just outside of town. After being in the town for almost a week it was strange to actually find the restaurants listed in our Lonely Planet guidebook. They are the over priced places selling the same rice and fried plantains that are all over town, they are just on the tourist path to the park. After reaching the park, we entered for about $5 each for the basic package–walk around and explain it to yourself. Famous ancient statues are layed out over a series of trails through some thick forest. There are about 50 different statues of various heights and depictions. Some have angry faces with crazy hats and most of them with different things in their hands.
The statues are in Parque Arqueologico, San Agustin, Colombia are in very good shape for being between one and two thousand years old. There is also lots of awesome plantlife along the way.
The path was actually not that easy. We broke a hard sweat climbing up hill in the humid weather and were soon wondering why we decided to walk the long way around. But we had to see everything of course. Eventually there was even a dog that followed us for part of the trail, posing for Carrie’s pictures. Once the rain started to come in we hurried home. We were ready to hit the streets in town for some cheap emanadas and maybe a Poker (the best Colombian beer) or two.
Enjoy this post about Parque Arqueologico in San Agustin, Colombia Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.
Play the video to listen to Zach and I on 103.5/104.5 Live No Excuses Radio! This was on this morning, Sunday September 25, between 8-9am. HUGE THANKS to Lex and Dan!
But until then….
Our flight leaves on October 27, and now our fundraising deadline is fast approaching! We set a lofty goal of raising $5000 and we still have a long way to go! We are currently only a few hundred dollars away from the $1000 mark, and every little bit helps! The film is happening no matter how much money we raise, but the more we get, the better the quality will be! Here are a few things your donation will be used for:
TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE!!!! (to protect the film from being scrapped due to unforeseeable health issues)
SHOTGUN MICROPHONE (for great sound quality!)
EXTRA HARDDRIVES (for backing up footage)
EXTRA MEMORY CARD (for storing pictures and video)
LONG LIFE CAMERA BATTERIES (to keep us rolling in places where there’s no power!)
Don’t leave us without medical coverage. We can’t do this on our own. Let’s make these last 8 days count and help us get the equipment we need to create something amazing. Every dollar will be greatly appreciated and there are some great perks for helping us out. We appreciate your help so much!
The link to donate is www.indiegogo.com/laaventuraproject
Feel free to leave comments with any and all questions; we’d love to answer them!
You can also help by following @AventuraProject on Twitter, “Liking” La Aventura Project on Facebook, and posting this event to your wall for others to see!
It recently came to my attention that despite all the blogging we’ve done, the main goals of our trip/documentary are still kind of unclear. That’s a problem! Despite the fact that our trip is largely unplanned as far as day-to-day specifics, we need to have a solid overall purpose. So I forced myself to sit down and write out the three main elements of our project. I hope this helps you understand the project more! Here they are:
1. Volunteering: WWOOFing is something that we are all very excited about. I know it is agricultural volunteering vs. working mainly with people, BUT many of these farms are benefiting local communities in awesome ways (e.g. teaching sustainable agriculture to villagers, starting income-generating activities in their areas, and helping prevent environmental degradation (which is a HUGE problem in south america)). WWOOFing is going to provide us an opportunity to help on organic farms, learn all about their methods so we can spread our knowledge, and get to know the local people. As far as volunteering in orphanages and other places, we DEFINITELY plan to do that. But from everything I’ve read, the easiest way is to just GO and find places that accept help once we’re there. Many organizations that organize volunteers like this charge a huge overhead (which doesn’t go back to the community) and are merely cookie-cutter volunteer tourism which is very questionable as far as actual impact and sustainability. I feel like these trips are a great way to start volunteering, but that I am past that now that I have more knowledge of global development. We will have a more authentic experience by having our couchsurfing hosts and the locals we meet help us find smaller places we can volunteer (there are TONS of opportunities beyond those few that are big/rich enough to have an online presence in the U.S.). So a huge part of our trip and the documentary will be about volunteering.
2. Learning: In all my trips and volunteer experiences I have learned so much more than I have taught or contributed. I have learned more than in my entire college career through traveling. It is amazing. We are going to learn a new language, new cultures, see new sights, learn how to survive in developing countries, learn new skills, learn about farming, etc. etc. That’s why the trailer emphasizes our desire to learn more than the volunteering aspect. I feel now that’s it’s actually naive and pretentious to assume that we will HELP SO MUCH and do SO MUCH GOOD, when in reality we will be the ones gaining so much knowledge. The documentary will emphasize the power of travel as education and encourage others to travel.
3. Self-discovery through travel: Do you remember your early 20s? I don’t think it’s uncommon at our age to be slightly unsure of yourself, not sure of what path you want to take, questioning the status quo and struggling to realize WHO YOU ARE. Is that a bunch of psychobabble or do you remember feeling like that? Well, we think that travel is a great way to experience the world and help define who you are and what you want to do in life. As Melissa says in the trailer “The 3 of us really want to DO something; we don’t feel satisfied with the idea of graduating college and starting a career in America right away.” So if we don’t feel satisfied doing that and we have the opportunity to do something different, why wouldn’t we? I count my blessings every day that I am in a position with no debt and nothing holding me here and that I am ABLE to do this. I think God wants us to follow our dreams, rather than stick with what “most people” do just because it is normal. We expect to learn a lot about ourselves and the documentary will tell the story of our psychological journeys of self-discovery, as well as our physical journey.
I know that these goals still sound a little vague, but it’s impossible to really plan such a long adventure down to the details! We are so excited to see what happens as we go with these goals in mind!
We finally have our fundraising page live! Please support our documentary! Click the link to help fund us and get some amazing perks! Thank you all so much!!!!