A Travellerspoint blog

Napping on the Equator

Day Three

all seasons in one day 19 °C

Thursday, April 26, 2007
8:30 pm

Today we (Sarah, Martin and I) went to the Mitudad del Mundo, the equator, the center of the earth, lat 0 0 0 as denoted by a giant monument and a red line. Other than some annoying, pushy french tourists who didn't stay long, the place was deserted. So, since it was mostly sunny at the time, we decided to take a nap, lying right down along the equator. Right side northern hemisphere, left side southern hemisphere, there I slept. Though dark clouds loomed in the mountains beyond, the sun was hot and it was truly relaxing.

Breakfast at this cafeteria this morning was lots of fun. A big glass of some sort of juice (mango?), coffee, two eggs, and a toasty bun smothered with sesame seeds and filled with some sort of white, spongy, salty cheese spread inside. All for $1.50. When I left a tip of 25 c, she was so pleased. It was quite amusing.

Everyone here seems to be selling something. Little children, barely old enough to walk, hold out gum or candies and beseech you with giant, brown eyes, the mother watching nearby. Boys and men climb aboard the buses and try to sell you candy or trinkets. One lady, selling small paintings, followed us for a block, even after we said no.

Yesterday I finally found a grocery store (a surprising feat in this place) so I could find a few things to stash in my room. I bought two bottles of water, two cucumbers, toast crisps, blackberry jam, a bottle of wine, and a glass to drink it with. All for $5.35. I love this country! And things will only get cheaper the further away from Quito I get.

After the grocery store, I hopped in a cab (65 c) on my way back to the hostal. Suddenly, as we were cresting a bit of a hill and about to turn right onto another narrow one way street, a convoy of motorcycles proclaiming "el presidente", followed by a sleek black car appeared. And, waving out the rear window of the car, was the president of Ecuador! He looked like any middle-aged ecuadorian man, albeit very well dressed and waving like the Queen!
I excitedly asked the taxi driver: "¿el presidente? ¿el presidente?"
"Si, Si!", was his elated response.
I was completely thrilled.

I´ve been super busy since I got here, and in good health which I´m sure Mom will be happy to hear. Tomorrow I think I´m going to take it easy, do some writing, and just lie about. I have so much to write, swirling around my brain, but not enough time in a day to write it. This hostal is amazing. Everyone speaks English, and most of the people I meet seem to be either from Austrailia or the UK. Structurally, everything is pretty open, part of the hostal doesn´t have a roof, and rain patters down three stories. But "The Secret Garden" it is. Plants are everywhere, and the plethora of unsealed windows and an open roof gives the plants the light they need. There are tomatoes, calla lilies, and countless other plants everywhere. Stairs, each step a different height, lead between the three floors, and a curved iron staircase leads to the terrace upstairs. The bathroom nearest our dorm has green windows that open out over the plant-y, rain soaked courtyard, a nice view while you´re brushing your teeth. There´s murals and painting everywhere, and all the walls are painted crazy, lively colours. There really are no words to explain this place. Maybe some photos will do the trick. I´ll try to upload them tomorrow. Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about the whole place is the dorm room. As I was lying in bed reading last night (that headlamp is so useful!) the sexy, sexy aussie boy comes in and strips down to his boxers right there. Wipe drool, now! Yeah.. watching them wander around is pure torture. he hee

It´s only nine but I´m exhausted. Sarah and Martin want me to go out for food, but I think sleep sounds better.

Bye for now.

Posted by SJS 18:00 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

First day in Quito

semi-overcast 14 °C

I arrived at the Quito airport late because we had an almost two hour delay out of Houston. Who would have thought that severe storms would delay air traffic in Texas in April? The planes got stacked up on the runway as we waited our turn.

So I arrived in Quito late, in the middle of rain and fog, with no place to stay and no way to get there. And the airport was in the process of closing; we were the last plane.

I avoided the one guy who kept going up to me saying: "`Taxi? Taxi?" I instead headed for a taxi, with a sign and well marked (and therefore hopefully licenced) that had just pullled in. I figured if he hadn t been waiting there, he probably wasn t one of those guys who prey on the gringos.

He was super sweet to me, taking a look at the map in my travel book, and trying to make small talk even though I really didn t understand much beyond the talk about the weather, and is this my first time in Quito?

He charged me $10 to get to the hotel, more expensive than some cabs, not as bad as the $40 cabs at the airport I d been warned against. We headed south through the mist and fog, finally down a series of extremely narrow one way streets. "Secret Garden" was well marked, and the proprieter was friendly if not a bit sleepy. No single rooms left, so I got a dorm. $7 a night, not bad. And someone just left so I snagged his locker.

I crawled up the top bunk, trying not to wake the slumbering travellers. Even though I was tired, I couldn t fall asleep. My mind continued to race and I put on my Ipod, grateful for the familiar tunes. Finally, after many songs, I put it away and let the slow fingers of sleep claim me.


Now its morning and Ive met my roomies. Shortly, this girl from Vancouver- also named Sarah- and her friend from Holland- his name escapes me- and I are going out for breakfast in New Town. Apparently to one of those places where you can see the whole city on the balcony. Now that s breakfast! The altitude doesn t seem to be affecting me but we ll see I suppose.


ps- this keyboard is weird! There is a z where the y is supposed to be, and tons of funny characters. Its taken me forever to type this. Next... I ll write about where I m staying. Its pretty cool.


Posted by SJS 08:32 Archived in Ecuador Comments (3)

Almost on my way

sunny 15 °C

I'm all packed up after a few days with the cousins here. It's been fabulous.

I fly 7:09 am from Vancouver. Here's to my last night in Canada! Now where's my Yorkshire pudding, maple syrup, and poutine?



Posted by SJS 22:12 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

First Day in Whistler

sunny 12 °C
View Canada to South America on SJS's travel map.

Vancouver is amazing. For those who haven't been, its breathtaking. We flew in right beside UBC so I was able to check out the campus by air... right on the water, with the endowment lands behind it and mountains in the distance.

I arrived yesterday afternoon, after a four hour flight. I gained three hours in flight, which sounds great, but when everyone wants to go drinking at midnight it is 3 am at home and I was wrecked.

Matt and his Irish friend, who's name escapes me at the moment, came to the airport to pick me up. We went for dinner at the Red Robin, a second floor burger and cocktail place that was laid back and friendly. Only glass separated the table from the street below and downtown, the harbour, and the mountains beyond. Everywhere we went in Vancouver, it seemed you were only seconds away from another glimpse of the ocean, harbour, or the mountains. Every island is like a small mountain dropped into the sea, and rises sharply and tree covered from the depths.

The drive from Vancouver to Whistler, which winds along the coast, between the mountains and the bay, is nothing short of spectacular- especially for an east coast girl who's never seen real mountains. I can't wait to get out here and get kayaking... there's so many sheltered water and inland bays to explore.

Staying here with Matt reminds me of first year residence. He's in the staff housing, which is a long and low appartment complex full of young people. This morning, people who don't live here are coming in and out, lounging on the couch, listening to music and watching the tube. I've met at least four people from Peterborough; Matt's roomate and a bunch of his friends all went to Adam Scott. Small world.

Well, I'd better sign off now. I left the apartment to go wandering, which took me for a hike down the winding, switch-back road down the hill to the village and I should probably get back. My good old internet time at this cafe is running low as well.

Talk to you all soon!


Posted by SJS 13:36 Comments (1)

Picture Testing

Just wanted to see what pics will look like.


That's me kayaking Lake Ontario in Toronto. Love it!

Posted by SJS 21:38 Comments (0)

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