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Archive for December 10th, 2009

Day 367 – 10th December 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on December 10, 2009

Thursday – Quito, Ecuador

I had a great night’s sleep, except I woke up about 1am with all the lights on, so the power was back up at last, I shut the lights off and crashed again 🙂 The breakfast was OK, omelette again but filling, and packed up ready to go. I headed south through town trying to find the small town of San Antonio but missed it by about 10kms, after going back I actually saw the signs and parked up ready to do some walking and looking for wooden things.

Well, the info was correct, the whole street up that hill was shops full of wood art and the shops usually had the carvers working in them as well. I spent about an hour and a half walking around and noticed that as I got closer to the main square at the top of the road, the shops were more modern, the prices increased with elevation as well but the quality was the same. These are basically what you see with lots of different variations 🙂

I liked the hummingbird slippery slide in the park on the way back down to the nicer shops, nice colours 🙂

I ended up buying a present which was robust enough to be packed and sent via mail, hopefully it will arrive intact 🙂 I then headed south for a short while, all the time I was looking at my GPS trying to find the equator, I ended up stopping for a feed at a place before continuing on and eventually found the place I wanted, it was hard to miss 🙂

Latitude 000, the middle of the world, I paid the dollar to go look at the big sundial, the local guide was having lunch so I was here by my lonesome. So, I took some photos and even straddled the line, why not eh! 🙂

The local Indian guide came back and gave me a talk on this particular area and why it is so special. If you have not guessed by now, the country I am in is called Ecuador, which is Spanish for Equator 🙂 The locals know that this region in the Andes is the only place on the equator which is stable, that is the horizon is unchanging, all the other countries on the equator are swamp, rain forest type land etc and very low lying. For that reason, they used the mountains as pointers for all the celestial events like solstices and equinoxes. They also believe the world should be looked at in a different way, we look at a globe with the equator around the middle and we call north up and south down. They stand on the line and face east and say north is left, south is right, so they draw the world map vertically, a real cool way of looking at things 😉

After I bought a couple of mementos of this region, he invited me to ride my bike down the pathway for a photo, so I did. Now, the pathway was cobblestones with a raised step between two wooden tree trunk sections, well the inevitable happened, as I hit the step, the left pannier clipped the left trunk and tipped me off, the first time down in this hemisphere on this continent 🙂

I actually broke the handguard mount this time on the rocks, but it was repairable, so I did that and got the photo I wanted 🙂

After this I took it slowly out of there and rode on south, I was very hot by now, the extra effort had made me sweat a bit with all the gear on. The ride south was not too bad, some fast twisties included and some slower tight ones as well. I eventually arrived in Quito around 4pm and checked out addresses for a hostel or something. This town is huge and I had no idea where to start, so I did the usual and bought a cab to take me to a hostel called the Secret Garden, run by an Aussie bloke and his Ecuardorian wife, it seemed like a nice place and was close to the stuff that I needed. The hostel was in a bitch of a place for bikes, cobblestone street on a steep slope and no bike parking within cooee! But, it had taken nearly an hour to get here, so I decided I would stay after I was told there is a car park up the road a few blocks away.

I grabbed a room on the ground floor, unpacked everything I thought I would need and parked the bike up the road. The chap that ran the place was not interested in bike parking but I pleaded with him and he let me park it out of the way under cover, next to the dogs bowl 🙂 After that I was soon up on the fifth floor on the balcony with a view of the city and a beer in my hand 🙂

This place seemed to be full of Aussies, fair enough, but there was a mixture of other nationalities as well. This was not my first hostel I had stayed in but certainly the busiest and it was a happening place. The food was cheap and nice, they served beer, great people, what more could you ask for?

The view was fantastic, and even though I hate big cities, this one did have some pluses in that respect. It did get cold though and everybody was bringing out their beanies and thermal gear, well, mine was still with my bike of course so I had to resort to internal heating 🙂

As it was Thursday night, they had a pub question game, we had teamed up, there were 6 in our team and we did not win. A pity because the prize was a bottle of rum 🙂 The questions were a bit too American oriented though, but who cares , we had fun 🙂 They kicked us out at 11pm but this never stopped a party in the past so why should that stop one now 😕 After being told to shut up a few times, the beers and a group of use, locked ourselves in one of the dorms and partied on, while trying to keep the noise down, that was like trying to stop an avalanche!!!

We eventually broke the party up around 1.30am because someone who was staying in the dorm wanted to sleep, fair enough I guess, but it was a great day and night anyway 🙂

Day – 95 miles and 152 km
Trip – 44,838 miles and 72,159 km



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