Last of my Ecuadorian days (Day 399)

Hey Blog Readers, I trust all is well with you.  I have just wrapped up a month in Ecuador.  Good times indeed.  As usual, I have added a photo album to the rest of my pictures from around the planet.  Enjoy.  Here are a few yet-unmentioned random thoughts from Ecuador:

– Near Quito lies a tourist attraction called La Mitad del Mundo (“The Middle of the World”).  Good story here.  This place is a huge, touristy, complex which claims to be at the equator.  They built a huge monument, drew a big yellow line in the ground, constructed museums, restaurants, shops, a planetarium, the whole nine yards.  They spared no expense.

But, in 1996, some guys came around with GPS and found that the actual equator was about 200 metres outside the complex!  Whoops!  So, there is another little museum outside this mammoth complex which claims to have the real equator line.

To be honest, I can´t be certain which equator line is correct, but I will go with the GPS one, those satellites have a good view of everything way up there.

– I had a funny linguistic situation my first bus ride in Ecuador.  I was with a French guy and an American girl who both speak Spanish, French, and English.  We started chatting in Spanish, which I speak poorly.  To increase my conversational potential, I tried to switch the conversation to French, but found I couldn’t make the French come out of my mouth because I had Spanish on the brain.  (If you recall, when I was learning Spanish, I couldn’t speak it because French kept coming out… now I want to speak French and the Spanish is causing me problems… I can´t win.)  Frustrated, I just let it go, stopped trying to control which language I used, and let the words come out in whatever language they chose.  I ended up saying sentences with English, French, and Spanish words in them, which seems ridiculous, but everybody understood just fine, and nobody minded.  Awesome.  My friend Andrea calls this combination of French, Spanish, and English “Frenspanglish”.  I speak fluent Frenspanglish :)

– Some people get bowel problems when they travel and eat the local food.  I am now at a point where I get intestinal difficulties if I DON´T eat local food.  In the locals´restaurants in Ecuador they serve set meals, typically comprising of a soup, rice, a meat, and a drink, for $1.50.  The soup, drink, and meat can be anything, you don´t get to choose, you just eat what they bring you. (I think they serve whatever they are trying to get rid off.)  Anyway, since these meals are good, cheap, and where the locals eat.  They are what I have been surviving on for the last month.  My body is tuned into this local food.  Well, the other day I went to a tourist restaurant and ate some fancy, rich, Western food, like we have back home.  The food was fantastic, but my body couldn’t handle it.  I spent the night on the toilet — I´m going back to the South American food.

– A quick story for my mountain biking friends back in Whistler:  I spent an epic day biking down the side of Mount Cotopaxi.  We biked from 4500m down to 3200m.  A huge descent.  No single track here, but the 1300m of descent and beautiful landscape kept things fun.

Anyway, I have high-stepped it down to Cuzco, Peru.  I skipped over Northern Peru, which was a bit tragic, but I have been up there before.  (If you are really bored, peruse this blog which describes my short trip to Peru in 2006 where I trekked the Cordillera Blancas, partied, danced on tables, and became a Peruvian ski legend… maybe a small exaggeration).  I am happy to be Cuzco, lots of cool stuff here.  I’ll tell you all about it.

Cheers on the eve of my 400th day as a Traveller,

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