Trip Start Apr 20, 2008
74Trip End Aug 15, 2010
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On Sunday we went to explore the old town. We were supposed to go to our homestay but we werenīt sure what time. We attempted to ring an information number we had but got a lady who spoke no English. The man in the phone shop ended up ringing out homestay to ask for us
We have our own rooms with a double bed which makes quite a change from hostels. Itīs nice to have some privacy but not having had any for so long it feels quite bizarre. After arriving we had a late lunch with Graciella daughter, Anna and her three children. At first we were left sitting alone at the table with the kids and it was unbelievably awkward, having used up the only couple of questions we knew in Spanish we all just sat there in silece staing at each other! Anna was really goof though, she didnīt speak much English but somehow managed to make herself understood. After lunch Graciella and the two boys walked us down to show uswhere our school was. When we came back the table was full of cakes and pastries etc. for Carlosībirthday which was the next day. Communication was getting easier andthe mood was much lighter and it was all fun and games until Fernando shoved Daniellas face into the birthday cake!
Monday was day one of Spanish classes. The school is about a 20min walk from where weīre living and classes are from 8:30 until 12:30
We have breakfast and dinner at our homestay. The food is good and ample and we get freshly made juice with every meal. We have lunch out, the typical set lunch costs around $1.50 and is made up of soup, a rice and meat dish and a desert.
Tuesday we went to classes as usual and then we went to meet our friend Sonja. Sonja is the German girl we met on our tour in Yosemetie and ended up hiring a car with. She studies in Ecuador when she was younger and has an Ecuadorian boyfriend so she is here staying with him. We went with her and her boyfriend Andres so a bar and drank beers all afternoon, the sun even came out for a while! Everything is really cheep here, we had two jugs of beer and two mojitos for $10. We went home for dinner and then went out again. It seemed necessary as we discovered it was out one month anniversary of travelling! Just went to a couple of bars and a club, had the biggest shots I have ever seen in my life, at least three times the size of a normal shot and it took me three tries to get it all down!
Wednesday Jo swapped into a different class as our abilities are different as I have studies some Spanish before
Wednesday night I became very ill and spent the whole night vomiting. I have no idea what it was from but I felt awful. My body was still trying to vomit when there was absolutely nothing left in my stomache. As well as feeling might sick and tired the next day I also had incredibly sore stomache muscles and all my muscles in my back and neck felt like they had spasmed into hard little knots. My lessons on Thursday were not overly successful despite everybody being lovely and making me a huge pot of the local remedy for stomache upsets, oregano tea.. and my host mother feeding me powdered tablets of what I assume was aniseed and cinnamon..??
I spent all of Wednesday in bed while Jo was out at the pub watching the soccer we had considered getting tickets for. It was the Quito team against Argentina and surprisingly Equador won. Although I would asssume that because of the altitude that Quito had a huge advantage.
On Friday I was feeling much better which was lucky as we had organised a class excursion.. our class consisting of course of myself, Jo and our teacher Gustavo. We went to mitel de mundo, the centre of the world, otherwise known as the equator. There are however actually two sites dedicated to the existence of the equator, the first is the one that was discovered by French scientists a couple of hundred years ago
200m down the roadl ies the real equator line calculated with GPS and the site is also an outdoor indigenous museum. We were taken on a tour where we were told all about the phenomonens that occur on the equator. In particular the one concerning the way way water flushes down a toilet. We were shown a demonstration where a plain old rusty sink full of water was placed right on the equator line, when the pug was pulled the water funnelled equally from all sides and went straight down into through the plug hole. When placed in the southern hemisphere the water spiralled anti-clockwise down and in the northern hemisphere it was clockwise and the water spiralled faster apparently because the forces are stronger in the northern hemisphere because of the greater land mass. I was fascinated but slightly dubious having just read in my lonely planet that it is a hoax as experts say that the forces are not strong enough to have an effect on such small volumes of water
Some other demonstations included balancing a raw egg on a nail, supposedy easier because the forces are equal etc. Ones weight is less on the equator because it is the furtherest away from the centre of the earth and one is also weaker. Supposedly it is also harder to balance along a straight line with ones eyes shut on the equator, although I have to say I find this exercise challenging wherever I am!
The museum also contained a traditional indigenous tomb where bodies were buried in the faetal position in large pots. If a chief dies he would be buried along with his wife, servants, children (if they wish) and a bunch of guniea pigs, all alive of course but thankfully drugged. One such tomb was found near Quito with 47 bodies in it and only one person had actually died. The guniea pig has a special meaning for the indigenous people, they also eat them.. We were shown some replicas of traditional housing from various ethnic groups that exist along the amazon and were descibed in all too much detail the process of making shrunken heads. The museum contained one example of one such head from a small boy
There were also specimens of jungle creatues such as an anaconda and massive tarantulas much bigger than my hand!!! Eww... we returned to Quito around 2pm and went straight home to get ready to go away for the weekend. As I have mentioned Quito is cold and the weather is unpredictable with lots of rain. It is also quite polluted and I feel with each walk to school I have brought myself one step closer to lung cancer, for some reason the cars and buses seem to emit a whole lot more black disgusting lingering smoke than they do in Australia.