Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday evening some of us in my room were talking and it turns out there was to be an outing to La Mitad del Mundo. The hostel's tour agency had a tour that takes us to the cheesy museum, to the actual equatorial monument, and to Crater Town... a farming community built up right inside an old volcanic crater.
So yesterday morning the group of us gathered downstairs, waiting for the van that would be our transportation for the morning. Originally 5 people, the group grew to 9. Five Brits, an Irish woman, a German, a guy from Iceland, and me. The drive up to only took about half an hour or so, and we were chatting away with each other and talking about our various adventures. The day looked and felt cold and dreary, so I layered up before we left and made sure my poncho was attached to my camera case.
The museum was definitely for tourists, but it was still a lot of fun! We had a guide take us around and saw a bunch of very cool things. My favorite was the mural depicting the recipe for a shrunken head! After that he showed us a couple of actual real shrunken heads. They were creepy as fuck! He requested we refrain from taking photos, so I don't have pictures of the heads themselves. But dude, if anybody ever asks me in the future if I've ever seen a shrunken head I can say yes!
One of the draws of this museum is when they take you to the equator "line" and show you all sorts of tricks. Balancing an egg on its end was one that I managed to accomplish. There are also various resistance tricks, and water going down the drain. We laughed a lot and had a great time.
From there we piled back into the van and our driver took us up to what we called Crater Town. The official name, though, is La Reserva Geobotánica del Cráter del Pululahua. It's a geobotanical community built into a volcanic crater. SO pretty, as you can see by the picture! Our driver only gave us 10 minutes here, and I wish I'd had more time.
I didn't realize at this point that we were supposed to have three stops, and our driver only took us to two of them. Later that evening the girl from Carpe Diem found me and refunded me half my money, since we missed out on part of the tour. I like unexpected money!
After we got back to the hostel, Egill (guy from Iceland) and I took off in search of lunch and futbol shirts. We found a little place for lunch, and I couldn't tell you what I ate, just that it was OH SO DELICIOUS and so filling and there was too much for me to eat it all. And it was only $1.75. When buying the shirt though I learned that they only come in one size. Which was a bit too small for me. I got one anyway, because when else am I going to have a chance to buy an Ecuador national futbol team shirt? (I picked that over Liga because it was prettier). And also, I am losing weight like crazy! The pants I bought last week are already slipping off my hips. So the shirt will fit me eventually.
Tom and Helen, a British couple I'd made friends with, warned us that the area we were walking in is where Tom got shit dumped on him the other day. It's a tactic used to rob you of your belongings. Someone above dumps a pail of shit on you, and when you stop to clean yourself you get "helped" by "nice passerbys"> who proceed to rob you while you are distracted. Tom said he'd heard of this, but never expected it to actually happen to him. So when it did they just kept walking, aware that they were being followed, and came straight to the hostel. So I was extra vigilant while on my walk, and Egill and I ran into no problems at all.
I wish I had brought my camera with me on the walk, though. We saw the most hilariously ugly paint job on a building we've ever seen, and words can't describe it. I also saw a music theater with beautiful architecture. So once I am feeling better I'll return and get some photographs. Maybe even bring my sketchbook!
Spent the rest of the day hanging out in the hostel. Learned a new card game that in English is called "Shit head." At one point after dinner we had 9 people playing, and were using three decks of cards. It's one of those social games where you have to play a card higher than the card on top, and if you can't you have to take the pile. We played for a couple of hours and then the group separated to go off and do various things, and I ended up playing rummy with a pair of American guys who had just arrived.
I took a very bad tumble down the stairs when heading down to bed after we finished our card game. I suspect falling down the stairs was due to a variety of things. I'd had a couple of drinks. I was carrying my journal in one hand, and was dealing with keeping my shawl on with the other. And that particular staircase is just not an easy one. I am very lucky I didn't injure myself more seriously. Just battered and bruised.
One of the girls who volunteers here helped me in my room in getting undressed and into my PJs and up into my top bunk. She also wrapped my pinkie for me (I suspect it is sprained) and made sure I had an ibuprofen and my bottle of water.
Man, what a day, right?