My hips don't lie!

Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Sunday, December 3, 2006

Our introduction to Ecuador was somewhat mixed, as 1 hour out of Quito we found ourselves in a rather decent bank of traffic, and managed to garner (somehow! -another new accent to come to terms with!) that we'd be there until 3 the next morning. Some pilgrims were apparently taking the virgin for a walk. So anyway, we were bundled off the bus, and into a taxi by some (8!) lovely locals of whom we understood perhaps every 8th word, but it became apparent that they were taking us to another town, and that it was a splendid idea for us to be there! Sure, i guess... Another one of those "I wonder where i am, where I'm going, should i be worried, etc" moments.. (Incidentally, we also discovered that the town where they took us was at exactly 0 degrees latitude unlike Mitad del Mundo - the "official version". For those who are interested, experiments were inconclusive, but it appeared that water did, in fact flush straight down, without a whirlpool in either direction..)

Despite the unscheduled stop, we made it to Quito in time to begin 2 weeks of intensive Spanish school (Where i was immediately mistaken for Johnny Depp - what can i say?). Hard work, but it seems to have paid dividends, as i can now sometimes follow locals speaking, rather than relying on the excessive hand signals that seem the norm around here. (Thanks Tanya!) Ecotrackers (the school) turned out to be a pretty interesting spot with some rather eccentric lads running the show, but some great fellow-students, and a fun set-up. Highlight of spanish school would have to be my describing the Nativity story to a Nun, in spanish. She loved it all, until at the arrival of the wise men, "el borro dice <Hola, mi amigos!!>" She kinda stormed off in disgust. Me Mal.

On a similar education theme, i was somehow coerced into enrolling into salsa lessons! (To quote Stewart, "I'm not sure how, i may have been drunk") However, these turned out to be a real highlight, with the result now that i'm tearing up dance floors all over Quito (and in a rather better style than that those of you who remember Christchurch days will remember..) Shakira would be proud! -Oh, and what could have been the icing the cake, i narrowly missed out on the Quito concert of Shakira's world tour! After the amount she's dominated airwaves on this trip it really would have been something, if only i didn't discover that she was performing a day too late!

Anyway, after a travel agent debacle, involving an hour-long fight with the travel agent in spanish (Translated transcript:

JH: Well in that case, you're a... a... (forgotten the word in spanish)...

TA: Liar?

JH: Yes, that's it! You're a liar! )

we`re now heading off to the Galapagos for 8 days.. Bring on the boobies! (I'm interested in both blue and red-footed varieties - purely scientific interest, of course!)..

PS- Another highlight- actually being hit by a bus in Quito.. Strolling in front of an idling bus when the driver decided he didn't like my style (apparently) and floored it into my shoulder! Fair enough, i guess... 
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