Mitad del Mundo, The Middle of the World, is an hour away from downtown Quito and I was headed there today but got caught in the every-afternoon rainfall and am giving up on the idea for now. Maybe tomorrow, if I don´t leave for Baños. With a do-it-yourself schedule, I can be flexible.
The Middle of The World happens to be the Equator which passes just north of Quito, Ecuador, one of the few highly-populated areas crossed by this line. Small beach villages or Amazon jungle stretches are the only other opportunities on this continent to straddle both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres. Sunday, (today) is when the locals go and have a good time at the Equator and I planned to be among them until heavy rain turned me around, as getting there requires two bus rides and lots of walking.
Life is not moving efficiently for me as I juggle a cold and wet outdoors, though I did spend many hours this morning poring over my Lonely Planet to decide what city to head for next. This is not as easy as it sounds because the decision will affect all other places visited throughout the country as one must consider highways and bus routes. Basically, there are three choices – the coastline, the Andean chain, and the jungle. I´m combining mountains and Amazonia.
Yesterday, I pretty much completed my exploration of Quito, stumbling across an interesting native parade, street dancing, fireworks and some sort of Holy Day celebration on the steps of the beautiful Catholic Basilica. After they left the area, I entered the truly lovely cathedral, which I appreciated much more because of the book “Pillars Of The Earth” just finished.
This close to the Equator and I´m bundled in double turtleneck sweaters and a waterproof jacket. Altitude does this, blowing our impressions of Equatorial temperatures all to bits. If I´m traveling tomorrow, I´ll be offline for awhile but will report in when I come to a stop.