The Great Adventure of 2017 has begun!!! This time the Great Adventure brings me to Ecuador! I'm also traveling with my Sister and Nephew (Debbie and Adam) on this trip, so it's a shared great adventure. Most of the time I go on these trips by myself, but my Sister had this trip planned for my Nephew's spring break, so I decided to tag along with them.
This Great Adventure began on Saturday morning, March 18th. I flew out of Madison and had a connection in Atlanta. Since the trip to Africa last year, and a couple other trips, I have achieved status with Delta, so free upgrades and admission to the Sky Club. I took advantage of that with a 3 hour layover in Atlanta. Free booze and wi-fi, and comfy seats. I was happy. After a layover in Atlanta, I boarded my flight to Quito, Ecuador. Upgrade to first class!! Yeah!! I was winning on Saturday. I arrived in Quito at 10:30p.m., made my way through immigration, baggage and customs and met my ride to the hotel where I met up with Debbie and Adam. It was pretty late when I arrived, so I said hello to them and went to bed.
Yesterday, Sunday, we met up with a guide and driver and explored Quito. First stop was the equator. There is a fake equator and a real one. Apparently the French discovered the fake equator a very long time ago and in 1979, the Ecuadorian government built a monument, and then it was discovered that the true equator was a few hundred feet to the north, so the land owners built a museum and painted another line marking the true equator. We went to the real one, not the fake one. It was pretty cool. They gave interesting facts about indigenous people of the Amazon and the Andes, then it was time to check out the equator. After a few photos by the sign, the guide had us balance an egg on a nail. Apparently since there is no magnetic draw, it is easy to balance the raw egg on the head of a nail. I didn't try it, but Adam did. He wasn't able to do it, but other people on the tour were. Then it was time to walk the equator, with our eyes closed, heel to toe. I made it a few steps before I almost fell over. Now, my balance is pretty bad anyway, but even Debbie and Adam had a difficult time with it. Not sure what that's about, but it was fun. Then we stood about 5 feet North and South of the equator and clasped our hands together and raised them above our shoulders while someone else tried to pull your arms down, while you were resisting. North and South, it was impossible to pull arms down. Then we were to stand on the equator and try again. It was crazy! Everyone's arms were pulled down like nothing. I don't know if it's some sort of power of suggestion thing, but it was pretty cool and strange.
After the visit to the equator, we made our way to Old Town in Quito. Quito is a really beautiful city. It is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. It's also very high in altitude, I think about 9,000 feet above sea level. There is a newer part of the city with high rises and commercial buildings and then there is an older part with a ton of churches, the presidential palace, and different heritage sites and squares. Since it was Sunday, the Old Town was extremely busy. People there selling things and street food, and a lot of people in Quito spend their Sunday's in the squares enjoying music and food. It was perfect. I could've spent all day there just hanging out and watching people. We visited quite a few churches and squares, and the presidential palace. It was great!
After Old Town, our guide and driver dropped us off at a restaurant owned by a mother and daughter team that Debbie had been talking with on Facebook before we left. A friend of Debbie's, son, was born with hearing difficulties and had a surgery so he can hear now. Debbie's friend met the daughter, who lives in Quito, in L.A. who had surgery by the same surgeon as well. So she asked if we would meet up with her. So, we got to the restaurant they own and then we went for lunch at a beautiful place with traditional Ecuadorian food. It was heavy, but really delicious. After lunch with the mother and daughter, we got a taxi and made our way back to the hotel. We dropped some things off in our rooms and then we walked a few blocks to a handicraft market. Lots of people selling the same things, t-shirts, sweaters, blankets, jewelry, food, and handmade items. It was great to be in a market like that again. I love markets like that! After a few purchases, we went back to the hotel and I taught Adam how to play cribbage. Then dinner at the hotel because almost everything near our hotel was closed on Sundays. After dinner we played 3 games of Yahtzee. Yeah, I won all 3 games! Now, I'm just in my room editing photos and blogging.
Today, Monday, we are heading to the Amazon. We will take a short flight, then we will be taken on a 4 hour boat and canoe trip down river to an eco lodge in the rain forest. We will spend 3 nights in the Amazon and head back to Quito. I'm excited for this trip, but then I think about all the monkeys and snakes and I get creeped out. I hate monkeys. And snakes. Mostly monkeys though. They steal from you. I probably won't wear my hat because I don't want any of those monkeys stealing my shit.
I will try to blog while in the Amazon. The lodge says there is wi-fi, but I kind of find that hard to believe since we will be traveling to the middle of nowhere, only accessible by boat. But hey, maybe it will happen. So, until next time, thanks for reading!!! Hopefully I'll have some good news from the Amazon. Monkey and snake free...