During my second week in Ecuador, I tried to pack in everything I could before heading onto my next destination.
Apparently my week began with my first lie-in since being in Ecuador. I slept in until 9am (apparently that was quite something!). After Spanish Class (which I moaned about a lot that day, due it being full of verbs) I then headed to Papaya Net to meet up with some fellow travellers, and joined them for 99 cent cocktails in a bar nearby, Mongo’s.
The next day, I ventured out to La Mitad Del Mundo which from what I remember (and wrote) was one of my favourite days whilst in Ecuador. We started off at La Mitad Del Mundo and took the usual, equator straddling pictures, as you do. There was a small museum you could wander around and a tower to climb. There were some pretty impressive views from the top, so it is worth a trip. As we were leaving the museum, we discovered that we had spent a good couple of hours at the fake equator. Oops.
Apparently the real equator site was a few minutes walk up the road. Just as we decided to try to find the actual equator, we were stopped by a couple of Australian travellers, who asked if we would take their picture. Of course we obliged and just as I was about to take their picture, they said “we warn you now, this is going to be an ass picture”, I didn’t know what to say to this, so I just nervously giggled (typical reaction) and put the camera to my face. As I looked down the lens I soon realised what they meant. They had both pulled down their pants either side of the equator. Awkward.
We wandered up the road for around 5 minutes until we stumbled upon Museo De Sitio Intinan. The actual site of the equator. We set about taking part in the various experiments and activities available, including balancing an egg on a nail (you get a certificate if you manage this – naturally, I got a certificate!), walking the equator line with your eyes shut (very hard to balance!) and seeing how water drains either side of the equator (clockwise/anticlockwise draining) and directly on the equator (it goes straight down the plug hole).
They also had some fascinating insights into life in the Amazon Rainforest. Including a real specimen of a shrunken head.It was fascinating to learn why this ritual was carried out. Apparently it is believed that the spirit lives in a mans head, and therefore to preserve the same as a shrunken head was a sign of power or luck. I also had a go at using a blow pipe, which was a lot harder than it looked.
After a fun filled day at the equator, I headed back to Quito for dinner at Pims Panecillo by the famous statue Virgen de Quito. The food was delicious, and the views across Quito below were incredible. I can highly recommend.
Whilst in Quito, I took part in a cooking class. This involved going to the market to pick up all the ingredients required and then preparing some food. We made some potato and cheese pancakes with salad, avocado and chorizo. Yum.
After the cooking class, we headed to Papaya Net (no surprises there) and celebrated our culinary achievements. We then headed to a salsa club called Tequila Sunrise, and danced the night away. After dancing on bars (as the locals do) into the early hours of the morning, I headed back home. My journal entry at this stage made me laugh on reading it again:
‘I am currently stuck in my room because the dogs seems to be guarding my door and attacks me whenever I try to leave. I don’t think the dog recognizes me. ‘
From what I remember of the dog, it was small but scary. It had a tendency to bite toes, hard. Whenever we ate at the table, we all sat on our feet to avoid the constant dog bites! Hence why I was reluctant to take the dog on, if I had, I may have been a toe or two down now!
I spent my final full day in Quito exploring the famous markets of Otavalo. The row upon row of craft stalls was amazing. I bought so much stuff. I got handmade rugs, jumpers, hats, coasters, all sorts. I loved exploring the temporary streets created by the rows of stalls. All the crafts were so colourful, it made for quite a picture (unfortunately I no longer have this picture, but the image is still just as vivid in my mind).
After two weeks of fun and madness in Quito, I was sad to be leaving but excited for my next destination, the Galapagos Islands.