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Published: June 20th 2010
Mitad del Mundo
We decided after speaking to a scottish girl (Claire) the night before whilst playing shithead, that with us being so close to the equator we should visit. Even though it was only $10 in a taxi to get there from our hostel (about £3.50 each) we decided to brave the buses at 25c each you can't go wrong or can you?
The first mistake we made was getting on the bus and saying Norte (which just means north) instead of saying the bus terminal we needed to get to. We were on the bus about an hour and a half until the collection guy (a little Ecuadorian guy that hung out of fhe bus shouting norte, norte) came up to us and in Spanish said something along the lines of where the hell are you going?!? We replied Ofelia at which he laughed and told us to get off and cross over. 4 buses later across the road asking for Ofelia in the middle of nowhere we decided to get a taxi. When we got in we said diezer which I think means 10 and at the time we thought was expensive considering we had sat on
a bus for nearly 2 hours from Sumwhere it cost 10 dollars to get to in the first place. It took us about 30 minutes to get to Mitado del Mundo (the equator) and when we got there the taxi man locked his doors and asked for 20 dollars because neither me or Hollie knew any Spanish to argue we had to pay him, I then continued to slam both doors so he knew how pissed off I was!
I thought that because of the taxi driver my day would be spoilt but the sight of Llamas cheered me up. I was initially disappointed with the equator because it was $3 each to get in then another $2 each to get into the museum. The first $3 just paid for a photo opportunity next to a monument and alot of tourist shops NOT IMPRESSED! But luckily we had been told from Claire there was a very interesting museum (not normally my thing) next door to the monument castle thing. It was $3 and well worth it we had a guide that told us all about the history of Ecuador, tribes, animals, religion and showed us how water drains differently on
different sides of the equator and how you lose strength by standing exactly on the equator.
We noticed in the monument castle thing there was a restaurant that was full of local people and a friend told me before I left try and ear where the locals eat, so that is exactly what we did. I was very tempted to get Cuy (guinea pig) but at $18 it was abit pricey and I'm sure I will get the opportunity again.
We finished up at the local restaurant after getting some directions from a very friendly Colombian waiter and braved the buses again. We got on 3 different buses and managed to get from Mitad del Mundo to Otavalo we were very proud of ourselves. When getting off the bus we knew the only safe way to get to our hostel at this time of night (8pm) was by taxi and this time a nice taxi driver only charged us a dollar. The hostel was nice with a double bed, en suite and a friendly Irish owner. Otavalo
We woke up at 7am in Otavalo for the market as we had heard that the animal market was a
must see!We walked through the streets as hundreds of locals passed us on their way to the market. When we arrived at the animal market it wasn't good, if you like seeing dozens of chicks in small cages or the same with puppies or fully grown chickens killed in front of you, you may like it but we didn't stay at the animal market long.Otavalo is named a market town and you don't appreciate why until you visit on a Saturday. We entered the market at the fruit section and it took us 25 minutes to walk through, you could go left to the meat market which didnt smell too good and didn't look like it ended. Right was our direction into the craft Market which sold jewellery, native instruments (such as the Charango an Ecuadorian version of the Ukelele) and stone figures made locally. I normally love these sections of the market and would probably have bought a Charango but it seemed too much like hard work carrying it round for 18 months.We spent most of our day looking through the rows and rows of Ponchos, jumpers and weird knitted head masks, Hollie finally taking my advice and getting
a multicoloured hoody. With an hour and a half left before the England game we decided to walk to a waterfall we had read about on Hollies iPod touch, which said was only 30 minutes away. 50 minutes later we arrived at the waterfall and it was beautiful with wooden bridges connecting both sides of the river all the way to the small village at the bottom. I made an error in my time differences and we ended up only spending 30 minutes there so we could get back the England game only to find we had an hour to spare when we got back to the market. We decided to grab our bag from the hostel then head back and watch the game while eating.
ENGLAND 1 - USA 1
After the game we caught a bus back to Quito and arrived in the middle of a local football derby, there was alot of police and a water tank (like France 98) but we didn't see no trouble. We struggled but finally caught the right metro bus to our hostel and went to bed to wait for our long awaited GALAPAGOS trip. I couldn't wait
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