I'm here...in the rain..but here!

Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
Trip End Feb 03, 2012

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, January 20, 2012

I awake to an overcast day and raining, sometimes quite heavy. After a buffet breakfast, we all gather for a quick introduction to each other and from our guide Mr. G. Interesting stats: 13 in our group, of which 3 are men. Two are here with their wives. Of the 10 women, 4 are named Jean and 2 Juanita. This might be very interesting! (I find out later I'm the youngest in the group- they are some well traveled senior citizens!)

We start with tour driving across town, passing a park with colorful humming bird statues. Very pretty! We head up to El Panecillo hill (small bread roll- guess that's a good name for a hill) to the our Lady of Quito statue. It's a great view of the city-if only it wasn't raining! I am able to just see the colorful buildings and roofs below me.

Then we head down to the old town center at Independence Square. A very typical old Spanish colonial layout for the city- big square with official buildings and churches. We tour San Francisco Church and convent as well as the La Compania Church. Then on to Centro Cultural, art center and library that was once a college. We lunch in an old hotel off one of the squares,Cafe Plaza Grande. Our desert is rather unusual- delivered by a guy in costume as though for inquisition- or KKK- but in blue. The bowl of ice cream floats above some dry ice, giving off a large, steamy cloud. Pretty unusual all right!

After lunch, we walk up narrow streets to meet the bus. Eduardo drives for an hour south past the historical equator marker to the Museo Intinan, an indigenous center that has now been identified as the true equator. There are some exhibits of indigenous peoples lifestyle, including shrunken heads, mixed in with demo's of equator effects, such as Coriolis effect.

We drive back to hotel, but get stuck in traffic near the end so we run the last block through a downpour- just a tad wet.

Quickly to room for drop off, cleanup, then down to the business center for a 1.5 hr presentation covering the history of Ecuador by Diego Quiroga. He seems to have covered a couple million years of history in a very short time!

We have a great steak at Cook's restaurant in the hotel then back to the room to divide luggage between what's staying and what's going on to Sacha lodge. I've brought along a roll-up nylon duffle bag to use with the "what's going" s stuff.
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