The past few days have been a whirlwind. Quito is actually a dangerous city. Our first day Brad and I were exploring the city and decided to check out this statue on this hill. As we walked up some stairs, several locals warned us that it was dangerous if we continued. Brad said not to worry as they were just messing with us...I was feeling weary though (but didn´t want to overreact). We continued to walk and an older woman looked me in the eye and said ¨peligroso¨(dangerous) and then took her hand and acted as though she was slitting her neck. That is when I remembered reading in the guide book about some walk that was extremely sketchy because many gringos were robbed....come to find out, this was the exact walk. I told Brad I wasn´t going any further and he was glad I was with him or else he would have kept going.
Fortunetaly, we safely left Quito a day later and headed to Mitad el Mundo (the middle of the world). This is the town where the equator line runs through. There are 2 lines in the town that we visited. The first one was the line established by the French. The second line, 200 meters away, was established by the indigineous people of Ecuador many many years before the French. After the invention of GPS, it was confirmed that the line that the indigineous people established was actually the correct measurment. It is amazing that by studying the sun and seasons, they were able to determine the exact line of the equator well before any technology.
At the last minute Brad and I decided to meet up with some of his friends in a town called Mindo. However, we ended up missing the bus to Mindo bc it left early, so we had to hitch a ride to the next bus stop. There were 6 gringos in the back of this dudes truck, speeding through Quito and trying to catch the Mindo bus....it must have been a site, but we eventually caught the bus and made it to our destination.
Mindo is a very small town located in a cloud forest. It is way more relaxing and tranquil then Quito. I have decided I like the small towns much better then the big cities. Mindo is an adventure town. We all went zip lining through the forest canopies, rafting down the freezing rivers, hiking through waterfalls, and tasting a lot of great foods. The locals are very kind and seem to enjoy life. We met a gringo named Zac who has been in South America for 2 years doing the peace core. He was very helpful in introducing us to the town and giving us pointers. Zac also ran an organic restuarant where we ate most of our meals. Fried Yucca, organic coffee and amazing brownie desserts....mmmm it was yummy! Our hostel that we all stayed was like a treehouse overlooking a gushing river. The noise of the rain and river put me to sleep everynight. One afternoon I went shopping with a girl in our group and I managed to talk in broken spanish to buy a hunk of cow, veggies, and cheese. We grilled out on the river that night and feasted while we drank beer and exchanged stories. It was a wonderful evening.
We catch a bus at 4am to head out to the coast. Brad wants to spearfish and I want to start taking language classes. I think I will check out some surfing lessons as well.
So far I am enjoying the freedom of traveling. I have only been gone for 5 days and have already experienced a lot....I think I can get used to this :)