February 17, 2010
February 21, 2010
Wow. Beautiful Roads. Nothing like great scenery to help you forget the hollowness in your stomach after a proper and thorough emptying of it. This will would weird, but I feel “clean” (if weak from lack of sleep and unnatural stomach exercises). I even ate breakfast, although that was premature. Whatever my body did not like, it’s gone, and I am better.
MITAD DEL MUNDO I
Ricardo, who I met on his KTM 950 on the way to Cali, Colombia, sent his motorcycle friend, Luis Felipe, to meet me at the ‘Mitad del Mundo’ (Middle of the World) monument near Coyame. I arrive first and start taking the required tourist pics.
Along comes a northbound Norwegian bicyclist…he’s a bit chatty and we yack in English.
Luis Felipe comes along and we yak in Spanish. Luis Felipe (LF) is a ham, and a good sport. He is also a very good rider on his 1100 V Strom Suzuki.
Luis Felipe invited me to stay at his house with him. We hit it off well, I have my own room and bathroom, a kitchen, secure parking for the bike, good company, keys to the castle and free Wifi. I end up staying a week.
MITAD DEL MUNDO II
A few days later we meet up with Ricardo and the three of us ride to the Mitad del Mundo monument in Quito, which is very touristy , but a nice place to commemorate my ride south, the crossing of the hemispheres, and my “official” entry to the second half of my trip.
In Colombia I began seeing a culinary specialty, CUY. The problem for most North Americans is that a cuy was one of our first family pets: a GUINEA PIG!
Um, no thanks.
In the middle of the complex there is an exhibition of tradition music and dance. We watch for a while.
Pretty costumes, and not totally unlike what I’ve seen in the mountains where I have been shy to take pics of people.
We find a great upstairs table at the window across from the music and dancing. Ricardo orders up a plate of ‘traditional’ Ecuadorian food. (Thank Goodness there’s no cuy!)
So now we get to the touristy portion of the day: PICTURES! Mitad del Mundo! Middle of the World.
Here’s our creative photographer. He is so good he gets asked by several more tourists to take their pics…
ha! I just noticed his motorcycle boots:
ah. The quintessential shrunken heads. If only they had ones with pink hair, I might have bought one…
MITAD DEL MUNDO III
So off we go for a nice little ride, and I get too see some of the nicer, smaller villages around Quito
And Ricardo brings me to this quaint small town, where the “old” Mitad del Mundo resides. This was where everyone came before they decided to build a tourist mega-complex commemorating the Equator. I like this one best. There are kids playing in the park, families strolling, old men playng cards, children riding bikes. I like the tranquilo atmosphere.
Plus, I like that I can ride ride up to the monument and Suzi gets in the photo 🙂 …
Some kids had these fun carts in the square…
Well, OK. Seems ALL the monuments are a little off the Equator.
We then ride to a volcanic crater. The clouds have closed in, and yes, somewhere, down there, there is something to see.