Ecuador - In the Center of the World

South America
March 14th 2007
Published: March 14th 2007
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Hey hey everyone!

Greetings from way way up in Ecuador. The last couple weeks have been spent taking in all we can in the highlands of North and Central Ecuador.

Our first stop was Otavalo, famous for its indigenous crafts and the resulting markets. We spent a day exploring the surrounding countryside watching how the indigenous people made reed mats, spun wool and weaved all sorts of clothing. One the following Saturday, pretty much half the town turns into a huge craft market to sell there hard work. This huge market originates in a central plaza and radiates outwards into all the surrounding streets, not to mention the food and animal markets that were in other locations. After lingering, browsing and bartering some, we decided to move on so we cruised down to Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

Ecuador is another large Latin American city similar to many we have already seen but we had lots of fun checking out the sights and the sounds of this town. It is nestled up in a mountain valley at almost 3000 meters so the weather was really wacky when we were there. Clouds were moving in and out and
Center of the Globe.Center of the Globe.Center of the Globe.

It was easy to get in, but hard to get out...
all around. Coolest thing we did by far was explore a 200 year old cathedral that is still under construction. I guess they need all the money they can to finish it, so for 2 bucks you could climb anywhere you wanted on this huge building including climbing right up to the spire at the top of the clock tower. Sweet! And the views were well worth it too. We also met up with some fellow Canadianse friends we met in Panama (Lincoln and Calena) and went on down to the center of the world so we could jump back and forth from each hemisphere. That got boring after a while so we went back into the city for some beers…

We ran into another friend (Ross) we also met in Panama and he convinced us to come explore this area called the Quilatoa Loop in the rural highlands south of Quito. We spent four days in a gorgeous area that was crowned with a huge crater lake! Check out the photos of this area as it was beautiful. For anyone who is passing through the area, the Black Sheep Hostel is WELL worth the money. A million dollar
This ones for JORDANThis ones for JORDANThis ones for JORDAN

Lamas, Frisby Golf and Senery...Really, what more can you ask for in Paradise?
view from the crapper and can you believe it, Frisbee golf! In Ecuador! One other thing worth mentioning is that we have now truly experienced the true meaning of taking the ¨milk run.¨ The day we left we decided to skip the 4am for the bus and wait for the milk truck as it passed by on its daily collection run. Two hours late, it finally showed up and then proceeded to pile on a new Guinness World Record for most weight into one half-ton truck (Toyota´s are one TOUGH truck):
- 31 locals
- 2 45gallon milk drums
- 7 40lbs propane cylinders
- 4 gringos and their big backpacks

Needless to say 2 1/2 hours later (and a whopping 20 km), we got there in true ´local style´! We had some sweet photos but we somehow lost them. 😞

From there we cruised down to Baños for a few days and checked out this cool little town nesteled under an active volcano. It is like a Ecuadorian Whistler - with every andventure sport under the sun being marketed there. We rented bikes one day and biked 60 km downhill out of the Andes into the edge of the Jungle to a town called Puyos. I would have to say you pass at least 15 beautiful waterfalls on the way down. Another day, Ben couldn´t resist renting his favourite dirtbike in the world (XR Power!) and cruised up and down and all around the surrounding mountains and countryside. After the mandatory soak in the numerous hotsprings around Baños (Baños means ´Baths´ in Spanish), it was off to Guyaquil to catch a flight out to….

The Galapagos Islands (coming soon to a screen near you).

Additional photos below
Photos: 36, Displayed: 24


Combing the wool for string makingCombing the wool for string making
Combing the wool for string making

This couple have been working together for over 50 years!
Making a Wool ScarfMaking a Wool Scarf
Making a Wool Scarf

This is how they sit for hours at a time. The leather lower back strap is over 100 years old, and still strong.
Ben strumming a mean tune.Ben strumming a mean tune.
Ben strumming a mean tune.

Ever seen this musical instrument before?¿
Oltivalo´s Animal MarketOltivalo´s Animal Market
Oltivalo´s Animal Market

It was a real shame we weren´t in the market for a new Cow...
Big PigBig Pig
Big Pig

This was the biggest and uglyest Pig we have ever seen.
¿Where´s Waldo?¿Where´s Waldo?
¿Where´s Waldo?

One point for the first person to find Ben! The people here are soo small!

Here is another way to keep out intruders, broken glass is found on the top of most walls.

Laundry Ecuadorian style... go to the creek and get´er done!
On a fine lineOn a fine line
On a fine line

Just chillin in the middle of the world...
Random photoRandom photo
Random photo

¿Everybody say CHEESE?
Crazyest ChurchCrazyest Church
Crazyest Church

They let you climb anywhere and everywhere... it was actually very dangerous at times.

15th March 2007

I want to ride a Llama
Wow! extreme frisbee golf. Did you get to ride the llama frome one hole to the other? Cheers, Dave
15th March 2007

15th March 2007

I say!
How jealous am I as it is minus 20 in Whitehorse today (March 14). Have totally enjoyed your awesome stories and photos. Thanks a million---from the Arctic Circle (well, almost). The Canada Games were a roaring success. You would have enjoyed them. We are all very proud. Love and warm Yukon hugs, Missy
15th March 2007

nice shots
Hey thanks for the update, looks as though the goodtimes are none stop. While I was in Panama Matt B and I checked out a carnival in Boquete. Pretty fun much like the dawson fest. We picked up some bad ass ecuadorian pauchos and ninga suits. One of which I rocked at a drum and bass party in whistler last night. Wish there were photos, but I looked like a wild wild west ecuadorian white ninga master. Always goodtimes. yeh yeah
16th March 2007

Churches, waterfalls and Disc Golf!
Greetings from Ko Phi Phi! I love the pics and being at teh middle of the world makes me want to seek out tha same spot over here! A little jealouse that you got to play disc golf, but if one of us is doing it, thats Wunderbar! By the way, from corey and I, stop being cheap...and buy a new hat, we can see the sweat stains from Thailand. Take care, and you two can finally stop wearing jackets ! Your Guide Jordan
18th March 2007

Reaching new heights, having a new center of balance, and learing a new instrument are all incredible accomplishments. To my suprise though I never knew that lamas could throw frisbees.................... to which your probable response Ben might be something along the comical lines of "hair farming is big down here in South America", followed up with an explanation of how you and Nastassia are planning an early retirement in the cropping season. Take care you two, hello Nastassia. Corey
21st March 2007

Miss You!
Hi Ben and Nas, What a treat to read all about your exploits. Your Grammy would have loved reading all about your travels. She was a great "arm-chair" traveller. Thanks so much for the postcards - what a thrill for you both. Uncle Jas, Auntie Ger and I had a great time skiing in Colorado - thought of you both and then again in Lake Placid. You will forget how to ski and snowboard! - ha! - just kidding! Continue to give 'er as your dad would say. Much love from you Auntie Moe

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