Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Straddled The Equator!

Thursday morning, April 7, the final 6 students had some time to kill because our original 8:30 AM flight was rescheduled to 6:30 PM and everyone else had already had their plane flights. SO WE WENT TO THE EQUATOR. I don't know why I was so excited about this activity, but ever since I found out I was going to Ecuador, the country named for the fact that it is located on the equator, I wanted to go. And now I can say I did. We did a group tour that was arranged by our hotel and we rented a van to drive us around for the day. The driver/guide was actually from the Galapagos so we had a lot of fun talking to him about what we did and saw. The entrance fee to the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the Earth, funny translation) was $2 and inside was a little touristy with shops and cafes. The entire place actually had a line marking the equator running through it.
 In case you were wondering- It was my right foot which entered the northern hemisphere for the first time in three months. And no, it did not feel any different.
I waited a long time for this picture

and I was soooo happy

 One of my favorite parts of Mitad del Mundo is the llamas that are running around. The whole area is fenced in and there are several llamas and alpacas running around eating and chasing each other. In the shops they sell things made of the wool (is it still called wool if it isn't a sheep? I feel like my cousin Jennifer would know this.)

An alpaca munching grass on the equator

straddling the equator

We were definitely taking it slow that day due to the altitude. The first time in Quito, I didn't really notice the difference, but this time it was killing me. I would walk up the stairs and be out of breath. I woke up in the morning and started panting to get enough oxygen and my head hurt. Any more complaints?
Our guide then suggested we go look at this crater in which people live and farm because the topography of the area makes it have a lot of rain. Since it is an active volcano, they also have a warm water spring. The place was called Pululahua and provided the most gorgeous view.

Pululahua caldera

The final 6 students
We then went to an area that was supposed to be ruins from a native Ecuadorian group that was pushed out by the Incas. I'm not exactly sure if I bought that story because the rock walls looked kinda recent and there was a fire pit with recent charcoal, but it provided another nice view.
I didn't realize how mountainous Ecuador really was and I'm glad I got to spend my last few days there getting a taste of the country outside of the Galapagos. It truly is a beautiful area. As you can see from the pictures, it got progressively cloudier and foggyer (is this a word?) throughout the morning and by the time we got to our last stop, Teleferiqo, it was raining. We were supposed to take a gondola ride up to the top of the mountain right in the middle of Quito, but we opted out since the top of the mountain was in a cloud and we were all asleep in the van anyways. What we did do was go back to the hotel and go out to eat. We indulged in these amazing Moroccan gyro type chicken burritos that we thought cost 40 cents each, later to find out they cost $1.50 each. Oops.  Either way it was an awesome way to end an awesome trip to Ecuador.
The aftermath of the chicken gyros feast- I think we at 14 in total


  1. Wool only comes from sheep. Fiber from alpaca is, well, alpaca.

  2. Hahaha Hannah- you crack me up! Sarah is right, although sometimes alpaca fiber is also referred to as fleece. It is lanolin-free, so is an alternative to wool for those who are allergic.... And I only had to look some of that up in Wikipedia! :) Safe travels and many more adventures in Espana!