Wednesday May 20th 2015
Today was our first and only full day in Quito, Ecuador. All of us were very excited after what amounted to several planes; a train and bus ride to the hotel last night. We arrived at 1:00 am Maine time but thanks to the Ecuadorians not adopting Day Light Savings Time it was only midnight here. A few short hours of sleep and we hit the ground running at 8 am. After a quick breakfast this morning we met our guide Eduardo and Marco who took us out of Quito towards the equator and northern hemisphere where we would be spending the day. Our ride was an adventure in and of itself. The area around Quito is literally carved into the mountain side; making for a ride full of twists and turns, ups and downs and narrow roadways. Our first stop of the day lead us to the equator, everyone had an opportunity to straddle, stand on and parade around the equatorial line marking 0°0’0”. The site included a compass similar to those found in ancient indigenous tribal areas, alluding to the rich historic traditions of the country. Later on in our journey we arrived in the town of Otavalo where we were able to venture through a local market full of Ecuadorian merchants selling anything from hats and paintings to jewelry and small trinkets. This gave us all an opportunity to barter for goods… some of us were better at that than others. We also had a chance to explore the food market and town square both of which were unique cultural experiences. Our exploration ended at a traditional indigenous house where we were served a traditional four course Ecuadorian meal. After our meal our host gave us a look into the cultural past of the indigenous Ecuadorian people. We then loaded back onto the bus and headed back to our hotel in Quito to prepare for our 4:30 am departure to the airport and 7 am Flight to the Galapagos. There we will follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and keep you all updated along the way (provided we can find wifi). CHAO for now!