During my summers in New York City, the city I call my home, the earliest I wake up is noon. Here, in Quito, I and the 19 other teenagers with me woke up at 4:30 AM to be ready for breakfast at 5 AM. Groggy and sleep-deprived, we all ate, then proceeded to bring our much too heavy luggage out to the bus. We drove to the airport, struggling to keep our eyes open. Once we were all checked in, we spread out in the waiting room, some of us sleeping on the chairs, others choosing the floor instead (Anya and Alexis being extra cute all curled up). The flight was only 40 minutes, and I’m pretty sure we all took a power nap. From bus to canoe, we traveled to our first destination. Hector the Protector, our local guide, took us to his Monkey Island (quotations because we only actually saw two monkeys). We began with a short talk about the monkey reserve and then started a hike through the Amazon. This was the first time we got to be in the depths of the jungle, and it was exactly what I had hoped and expected it to be. While it was most definitely humid, sticky and buggy, it was also buggy, sticky, and humid. We were kidding! It was expansive, and its depth was something out of a movie. It reminded me that there were areas in the world that continue to be untouched by man. We ate lunch and then were given a lesson on blowing darts and throwing spears. The challenge was to hit an apple with the arrow, and only King Alec pulled through and hit the target (he was very proud of himself). We spotted a few more monkeys high up in the trees, obsessed over this funny bird that kept following all of us around and then returned to our boats. When we arrived at the Ecolodge, we are staying in currently, we were greeted by some of the friendliest people to ever walk to face of the earth. They gave us their local tea, cheese, and plantains. Our rooms are these adorable straw huts with bug nets pretending to be bed drapes like the bright blue, princess-like one I owned as a little girl. We dropped our stuff off at our rooms, then took a short walk around the Ecolodge, learning about the invasive snail species we’d be trying to get rid of for the next few days. We ate dinner together at one long table, then hung out for a little while before turning into bed. All in all, Day 3 was a SUCCESS.Mom, I’m wearing bug spray and sunscreen and taking my malaria pills. Don’t be too sad without me! I’m having an amazing time. Dad, I’m cracking everyone’s back (I’m still not interested in being a chiropractor though) just like the last trip! Please tell Angel I miss him. Love and miss you both, can’t wait for WiFi so you can meet all my new friends!!