So, where were we?
The center of the world, I think, or, El Mitad Del Mundo, as the Ecuadorians say.
We trekked out on Sunday to the creepy South American tourist attraction that is Ecuador’s tribute to the equator. Except apparently, according to my Lonely Parent, it’s not even actually on the equator. Details, details – they still have a nifty line.
It even runs right down the center of the performance platform, where we watched some traditional Ecuadorian dances while chomping down on empanadas and banana batidos – milkshake-like concoctions worth every pound I gained during the trip.
Unsurprisingly, I was particularly struck by the deep-fried rice and beef stuffed empanada we ordered, and the dancers wearing the rainbow of big, swirling dresses.
We cabbed it out to El Mitad Del Mundo but decided to test our luck with the bus system for the ride back. And this was where South America started proving itself to be so much easier than India. Like, in India, I managed to get myself into trouble just by boarding my own personal car (which had a habit of rolling down hills sans driver and getting itself into accidents.) In Ecuador, we shrugged our shoulders, said what the hell, and hopped on a random bus – and it miraculously took us exactly where we wanted to go, despite the fact that my Spanish has apparently disintegrated to the point where I may actually be more fluent in Hindi. (Note: I don’t speak Hindi.)
It may have taken a while, the bus crawling up the narrow, steep streets of the cities seemingly on a route to nowhere, but suddenly, our destination of choice appeared: the statue of the winged virgin that keeps watch over Quito, high up the hillside. El Panacillo, they call her. She’s pretty creepy; but also, kind of awesome.
And she comes with a great view.
Next up: the fun stuff – our three-day trip to Banos, complete with waterfalls, actual physical activity and an evening of horror that ended with the assurance “no es una tarantula!” Stay tuned.