Published: August 9th 2007June 26th 2007
An interesting couple of days just passed...
Firstly i´m happy to say that I´m off to the Galapagos tomorrow for 6 days in total, the first two days on the main island, then picking up a liveaboard (luxury class!!) tour for the last four days. Needless to say this is costing me an arm and a leg, in fact an arm and two legs more like!!
Secondly, I sort of got over my illness yesterday enough to go for what turned out to be a fun day out to Mitad del Mundo, the ´middle of the world´ 20km north of Quito. Well it was all very touristy, but i got to straddle the equator and the photo to prove it. I didn´t notice any strange effects as I did it and I forgot to go to the bathroom and find out what way round the water drains down the sink, darn!! After that I took another bus (another 15cents) up to the crater rim (called Pululahua) just up the road. Alas by that time in the day the clouds had come in and I got only the merest glimpse of the bottom of the crater (where people happily live),
so started trudging down. Only a few metres down the road, a lime green VW camper van stopped and some spanish was garbled at me... after a second hearing I realised they were offering me a lift back to Quito. Well I figured no-one in a VW campervan would be out to rob anyone, so I gladly accepted.
So in the end I spend all afternoon, firstly at a nice seafood restaurant (i went for deep fried prawns, as risk free as possible) and into a chilly evening (Quiteños always carry a jumper i learnt!) at a bar in the centre of town with the occupants, three Quiteños, all cousins. The guy was incredibly funny, and had my spanish been up to it, i´m sure í´d have appreciated it even more. As it turns out, he also happens to be a Salsa teacher, so I have a standing invite to join them all at a Salsateca when I get back from the Galapagos.
So there´s a nice positive story, and here comes the other side of Quito (a side which I´m sure a number of tourists experience). As I was wandering back from the agency where I booked
my Galapagos tour minding my own business in the sun, quite suddenly a guy taps me on the back and says, "look, you´ve got crap all down the back of your trousers". And sure enough I did, gross, and for one horrible moment I envisaged that my diarrhoea had somehow got the better of me in a loose moment. Of course it hadn´t (phew), god knows what the substance was (i´ll be boil washing the trousers no fear [i've since heard that mustard is commonly used]). But as he says this he gets out some tissues and starts wiping my leg, then, the start of the clever bit, he continues "Look it´s on your bag too". I take off my rucksack and sure enough there's more there. The good samaritan takes it upon himself to start wiping my rucksack down, and before I know it my bags been placed (alarm bells starting to ring at this point) in a corner against the wall with him in between me and it, and then there´s another ´good samaritan´ on the scene, and he´s proffering more toilet paper at me, I take it with thanks, then think I´ve got some in my bag,
I´ll just get it out. As I reach for the bag, it´s mysteriously moved further along the road by the original offender, and the 2nd is pointing at the sky to tell me where this mysterious goo substance is coming from. I´m distracted by this, but only for a second - in this time I´m vaguely aware that another person has stopped and placed another rucksack next to mine, and I´m thinking ´weird´. At this point I grab for my bag, suddenly it´s clear to me whats going on. Before I know it, all the good samaritans are gone. I´m there with my bag (thankfully unopened), a handful of toilet tissue, and goo down the back of my trousers. Be warned!
There are more photos below