South America: Ecuador

Last day of photos, I promise. I am starting to annoy myself with all the reminiscing. I feel like you’ve been sitting on my couch for weeks, eating stale popcorn and listening politely as I ramble and sort through slides from my latest vacation. Even I am falling asleep.
Tomorrow: we return to our previously scheduled cooking, crafting and domestic engineering programming, with a new athletic twist.

Today: Quito, the capital of Ecuador; the “middle of the world” — where the equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres; and Mindo, the cloudy forest.

Angel overlooking square

Quito is a pretty city and is warmer than La Paz or Lima. I felt safe wandering around, although we did stumble into a political rally where the police were just pulling out their gas masks. Thankfully, we stumbled away quickly enough. The older architecture in this city is fun to examine. Most buildings are quite detailed! I am fond of the large angel statue that looks over the city.

Indigenous woman, Quito

This indigenous woman was selling gum downtown. Isn’t her bright clothing beautiful?

Quito Basilica, 3

There are an impressive number of churches in Quito, including a basilica with amazing stained glass. I spent about 30 minutes going from window to window, admiring the stories told in this colorful medium.

Me, middle of the world

Thirty minutes south of Quito lies the “middle of the world,” or where the world is literally divided at 0 degrees latitude and 0 degrees longitude. There is an actual line that you can walk down (for a $4 entrance fee) and you wouldn’t believe how cool this line is. Did you know your natural balance is totally thrown off at the equator? This is where the force from the north and south poles collide and your natural equilibrium takes the toll. When trying to walk down the line, you get all wobbly, like you’ve had a couple gin and tonics for breakfast. We did several interesting science experiments on the line, discussing the earth’s natural pull. (balancing an egg on a nail, draining water without a whirlpool, etc.) It made me miss learning about science regularly.

Mindo, Ecuador

Mindo is a two-hour drive from Quito and is considered “cloudy forest.” It isn’t quite rainforest, but I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. We arrived at the national park and paid $3 to be shuttled across the tree tops to a neighboring mountain peak. Speaking of gin and tonics, now would be the perfect time. Not only would they help keep away the swarms of bugs, but you wouldn’t notice that you were performing a trapeze act above the rainforest canopy.

Us in the carrier

I’m smiling in this photo because I’m scared out of my mind. I’m about 500 feet in the air, in a tiny metal box on a cable that is being pushed across a giant valley below. The views were inspiring, but I wouldn’t do it again.

Lizard in the jungle

Some people see monkeys. I see little lizards and a pair of toucans. The birds were elegant, and strangely made me hungry for sugary cereal. I didn’t know what I had seen until they flew by. Alas, no photo. This guy, however, didn’t mind when I got my camera right in his face as he wolfed down a small bug.


More pretty flora and fauna.

Cacti on the equator

This beautiful cactus didn’t do anything to help my homesickness. I was ready to come back by the time we reached Ecuador. It is a lovely country, but not one I plan to visit again.
Next time I hit South America for work, I’m planning a week in Chile and a few days in Buenos Aires. I’ve always wanted to have an Eva Peron moment while actually in Argentina. Don’t cry for me…


14 Replies to “South America: Ecuador”

  1. That angel statue is HUGE! As is that woman’s fedora…

    The pictures are wonderful. I, for one, am enjoying the slide show. I may never get to see some of these places so I like seeing them through you.

    Beautiful waterfall… so nice.

  2. as usual, WOW. so while in the box, in the air, was that lady behind you riding along untethered? sounds dangerous. i showed hubby your photos and he asked about the black fedoras. why are they so popular? i didn’t know the answer. lovely butterfly. lovely shots! aaaaahhhh.

  3. I have loved reading about your travels. These pictures are fabulous! And how cool about the middle of the Earth. I had no idea!? Hope you’re having a great day 🙂

  4. Your travel saga has been enormously fun and I’ve learned a lot. Like Jessica, I’m fascinated with the “middle of the Earth.” Thank you so much for sharing your travels.

  5. gorgeous photos- I love the cloudy forest. How fascinating about the ‘centre line’ of the earth- I never knew that!
    And you’re doing a good job at NOT appearing too freaked out in that little metal box. Don’t know that I would be smiling!

  6. Great shot of the waterfall – it looks beautiful there. How come your “500 feet up in a metal box” smile is the same one that greets me when you pick me up at the airport 😉 Should I be worried?

    Loving the photos!

  7. Hey, we’re loving our vicarious tour of South America!
    No joke!
    Love the angel above the city and the beautiful stained glass, love the lady selling gum and the cute kid on her back, never knew about the balace/equator thing (that must have been cool!), the forest looks amazing, but you can keep the ride on the metal box on the cable! That would have really terrified me!!!!!!!!

  8. Hey, if we were all bored, would we keep coming back for more?

    I know it’s been said by others but I feel compelled to say it too: had no idea about the wobbly thing at the equator–that is so cool! There is a hill just outside of Rome that Ale showed me where if you put an object on the ground, like a plastic water bottle, it rolls uphill by itself. Same with the car if you put in neutral. No, we had not had gin and tonics! Promise!

  9. Hey kel,
    Looks like another great worldly adventure, and you made the best of it as usual… we’re all very proud!

    I hate to burst your bubble, but I think you were only at zero latitude. I believe longitudinal zero (Prime Meridian) passes through Greenwich, England (hence “Greenwich Mean Time”…).
    I’m surprised I’ve never heard about the whole balance issue at the equator. I wonder if a compass would work?

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