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Standing on the Equator

Written on: Thursday September 6th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Authors: Kevin

Our alarm was set for seven, which gave us plenty of time to get ready to meet our new friends at their hostel. Arriving fifteen minutes early doesn't happen that often for us, but gave us enough time to head across the street and order a couple of fresh fruit juices. Julie and I sat down I tried to place our order to the waitress. "Una batidos con papaya por mi y una heuavos de naranja por Julie." Very confused the waitress asked us if we wanted two each or just two for Julie. Thinking that my accent must be what is throwing her off I repeat the order. Only as she walks away, does Julie mention to me that I ordered her two egg oranges... Hello Gringo! Luckly I was able to correct my mistake with her and ordered a jugo de naranja instead.

We soon met up with our Montreal companions and headed out to discover the interesting world of budget bus travel. Bus rides across town range from 15-40 cents, which is much cheaper than taking a taxi, but learning where and when to jump on and off, can cause you to waste a day trying to get somewhere. Okay waste of a day is a bit harsh, in fact we learned and saw a lot about the city and how to get around. Our goal was to find a hostel close to the bus station for our two new friends, then to head south across town, and through the Andes to el Mitad del Mundo, the equator line. I'm sitting here, trying to count how many buses we took today, and thinking its a number close to ten. If it weren't for the kind locals helping us get to our destination, we may have been still out there. This gentle lady overheard that we were trying to get to the equator monument and guided us to the correct bus. While in line an older man started a conversation with us about the weather and where we were from. As we found out Quito has several "sister cities" around the world, one being Toronto. This man's brother lives in Toronto, so he could relate to where we come from. He was not only pleasant to talk to, but also very helpful in pointing out the various sites long the ride as well as when to get off the bus. When he exited his stop, he turned around and waved back to us. It's a testament to say how friendly the locals can be.

A few stops later, we got off at the Mitad del Mundo site. It's a park with a monument dedicated to the equator line and demarks the northern and southern hemispheres. The site has many shops selling local art, native clothes, ice cream, restaurants, a play area for children, a planterium, and the equator line monument with a museum dedicated indigenous culture of Ecuador. We were able to stand in both the north and south and experienced the winter and summer seasons at the same time. It was great fun! At the top of the monument there was a look-out where we got a 360 degree view of the Andean mountains surrounding us. It was so beautiful and since we got the site to ourselves mostly, very quiet. I swear I could almost hear the wind blowing he clouds off the top of the mountains. 

After an hour, we boarded another bus and headed back to Quito. Funny, the ride seemed to go by faster  on the way back. We disembarked at our stop, said good-bye to the girls, made tentative plans for tomorrow to visit the Teleferiqo and the Old City, and walked back to our hostel for a quick supper and an early bedtime.

We are feeling a bit better and starting to acclimatize to the altitude but still suffering from the occasional headache and upset tummy. Julie is having a stuffy nose and burning eyes due to the pollution but we are adapting to the city and in the next couple of days are expecting to feel 100% better.  

 

From Denise Almquist on Sep 8th, 2007

Dear Julie; Looking forward to reading about your trip. I envy you. Bon Voyage!. DEnise

From Laura and Andrew on Sep 12th, 2007

Wow! What else can we say. It looks amazing. Love the updates, the pictures and we wish we were at the equator with you.

From Anne & Jody on Sep 15th, 2007

Ok, I'm still giggling about the "two egg oranges". Love this blog!! Have fun guys ...