Middle of the World

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Adventure Hostel

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Last day in Ecuador, Last Day in South America, Last Day in the Southern Hemisphere! Too many lasts!!

We found a fantastic breakfast place next to our hostel. Its called "Cafe Colibri" which fits nicely as there was actually a humming bird (colibri in Spanish) flying around the tree in the terrace. What brought a smile to our face is that the place is owned by a German and not only did he had german styled breakfasts (muesli, fruit, yoghurt, brown bread, etc) but he also offers typical german food, and Munich breakfast (2 white sausages and beer!). It was very tempting but Marcos resisted...

Just so we knew how it felt being in the Northern Hemisphere again, today we travelled to the "Mitad del Mundo" (Middle of the World) which is the geographical point 23 kms north of Quito where the Equator line passes and divides the World into North and South.

Our trip to the place opened our eyes into how a non-first world country city can have a very well organised public transport system. There are 3 main bus routes cutting along the city of Quito, and they have their own lanes where no other vehicle can go into. Additionally they have a few transport hubs in different places of the city where people quickly change buses without paying or showing tickets - one ticket is valid for everything. However we didnt travel around in rush hour...so it could be very different.

What we did discover the "Quito Sweet Transfer Theory". We noticed that every other bus stop either a blind person or a beggar comes on board and asks for money in exchange. We bought 5 sweets in exchange for 25 cents. We happily gave the sweets to young kids also begging. On the bus back the kids were selling the sweets. So our conclusion is that no one will ever eat those sweets and that they maintain a sub-economy of 1,000 people...United Nations should make a serious study of this!

Anyway, with regards to the Middle of the World...its more a symbolic place with a huge line down the middle and a large monument - rather like Greenwich observatory in London. But its a great place of a few photographs and they have built a small ecuadorian themed village next to it with plenty of shops and restaurants for gringos.

This evening will be calm. We are going to watch the quarter finals of the Copa Libertadores in a local pub. Its the version of the European Champions League and it should be interesting given a Quito team is playing and argentinian one (Marcos will watch while Veronika reads probably...:-)

Then we will have to select one last dinner in the Southern Hemisphere. It is difficult in Quito as it is so gringo influenced that there is all sorts (Indian, USA, Spanish, Italian, etc). We might just go for the local ecuatorian classics.

On other news, the Chaiten volcano erupted a couple of days ago and it seems to be gettting worse. The funny part is that Chile evacuated the town of Chaiten and surrounding in less than 24 hours once the activity started. All the chilean authorities congratulated themselves for such a smooth operation and good preparation. The day after the eruption President Michelle Bachelet flew down and inspected the area.

On the other side of the Andes (Argentina) which is also being heavily affected by ashes and high danger if the volcano erupts strongly, everyone is running around waving their arms in the air and probably blaming Chile for their bad luck. Rumour has it that President Cristina Fernandez is still searching for Chaiten on the map...we are sure that is not true!

Link in English: http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-1314939,00.html?f=rss

Nothing else for now. Tomorrow we catch an early 7am flight to Panama with COPA airlines. We should be having coffee at Panama city around 9am (1.45 hrs flight).

Cheerio until then!
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