Well, it's tomorrow and I'm not terribly sick yet, but definitely feeling the head pressure and shortness of breath.Roisin did come back and we did see the church, no robberies on transit!The church was grand and majestic with impossibly steep and slippery ladders leading to the top tower, we had to cross a creaky wooden bridge to even access these, so it was by far the most treacherous church I can say I've seen.When we came back I spent the rest of the night hanging out in the terrace, the view from there is absolutely spectacular at night.The city’s hills rise in all directions full of sparkling city lights, and the aforementioned church glowed in multitudes of colours due to some well placed lighting at its base.For anyone wondering if it’s really that easy to meet people when travelling alone, the answer is a resounding yes, at this place anyways.
As the hostel serves decent dinners, loads of travellers sat around the table and if you want a conversation just simply turn to the person next to you and say “hi”.There was a variety of people to chose from: The eccentric talkative Swiss guy who has been on the road for 2 years and I suspect rarely sober in any of that time, the super nice just married couple on a honeymoon of sorts, the older Aussie couple with the loud and slightly overbearing wife whose shrill voice grew louder and more ever present with every glass of wine she polished off.I mentioned to someone that I wanted to see the Equator the next day, “Mitad del Mundo,” and he replied by pointing out someone else who had said the same, so in a truly out of character fashion I went up to this guy and asked if he wanted to go together.He was thrilled as he didn’t want to go alone either - Score one for me for taking the initiative!
I didn’t want to go into town afterwards however so I crashed out at around 11 when the terrace closed.
The "fake" equator
Despite an incredible lack of sleep combined with sensory overload, I awoke this morning at half 6, an hour and a half before my alarm, unable to fall back asleep.An English cabbie had warned me altitude was messing with his sleeping patterns as well so it could be this, or jus the fact I'm still running on an awful lot of adrenaline from just being here.
This morning after showering my first priority was signing up for a jungle tour the hostel is offering, 4 days and 3 nights hiking, rafting, animal spotting, even learning about the Shamanic rituals associated with ayahuasca, a highly hallucinogenic plant derivative I had read about in Breaking Open the Head (if you haven’t read this go buy it now, by Mark Mann).The tour operator said this tour doesn’t offer the drug, just the ritual, but as in the book the people drinking it had to wear diapers and have personal puke buckets and were off their heads for ages, that’s just fine with me…I'm not that hardcore I'm afraid!
I grew brave today after breakfast and decided to take a walk alone into OldTown to have a look around.
As a main drag runs one block from the hostel to the centre squares I figured it was doable even with my directional know-how, or lack thereof.I didn’t get lost, but I didn’t really enjoy myself to be honest.I was just too nervous about everyone around me, especially as two minutes from the hostel an old guy came up to me with his hand outstretched and actually tried to grab my arm, he left off easily enough when I said no, but still it's not a confidence builder.I've devised a plan to carry personals which I hope doesn’t backfire. If I tie my purse as to be stomach length and keep it under my jacket, it not only hides my things but also makes me look pregnant, which should deter the knife pokers who slash at packets.I could also however just be taken for someone with a purse under my jacket, so we’ll see how it goes.I'm really hoping the jungle tour doesn’t fall through, for my guide said 2 others were interested but not confirmed.
As for this afternoon, I'm headed to Mitad del Mundo in a few minutes, and I signed up to have dinner here again.I'm not feeling too guilty about not experiencing “Ecuador Food” as my purpose of this trip was not to enjoy the cities but alternatively the small towns, and once I'm in one I'll be much more willing to venture out for authenticity.
I saw the equator!A few of us caught the bus to Mitad del Mundo and did the tour of all the experiments with the water, the egg, etc that one really must do when at the equator.
There´s a leg in my soup!
There are 2 equators actually, the “real” and “fake”, the former measured w satellite GPS and the latter with the sun.The fake one is better for pictures as it has the monument, complete with the red line to signify the split.The experiments however only work on the GPS line.We had an adventure getting back as the bus we were on went 1st towards Quito, but soon after seemed to head back out again, so the 4 of us hopped off on some random street and hailed a cab for the hostel.I found this all rather intimidating but the English guy we were with said it’s pretty much par normal and highly advised taxis to sort out any location issues.That evening I had the pleasure of my 1st Ecuadorian piss up, when around 10 of us headed out to a nightclub for some Cervesas and dancing.
There seemed to be an awful lot of casual making out amongst my fellow travellers, myself excluded of course!We got back around , so I retired immediately to catch as much sleep as I could before my big jungle adventure.
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