February 17th, 2006: Quito, Ecuador to Salcedo, Ecuador
On the 17th we left Quito, and back tracked a little bit north so we could official say we had been to the middle of the earth. At 0 0 0 degrees latitude there is a giant monument with a globe on top and lines painted on the paths leading up to the monument which designate the latitude. We stood with one foot on each side of the lines, so we could tell people that we've been in both halves of the world at the same time. My dad had a fun time trying to synch his GPS with the latitude showing on the wall. It was a rather eventful stopover since there were a few busloads of children and one very memorable family visiting the site. An older lady from Ecuador that was visiting the site with he family walked up to me and started saying "ahhh!! MILAGROS!! UNA CHICA... MOTOCICLETA!!!" (miracle! a girl! motorcycle! was the gist of what she was saying) She shook my hand, and even gave me a big hug followed by a kiss on the cheek. She was so friendly and her entire family kept waving like crazy every time we looked back at them. Then, when a group of the school kids walked by my dad said "Buenos Dias" to them and suddenly all in unison the entire group responded with a very excited "BUENOS DIAS!!!!!!!!!!" followed by nervous giggles. It doesn't appear that they get a lot of tourists in Ecuador, so the kids were very excited to practice their English on us by saying "Hello!" and "Where are you from?" every chance they got. We were taking some pictures infront of the monument when one of the children noticed and said "photos!! PHOTOS!!" Suddenly all of the kids were pushing and shoving to get infront of the lens. I also stepped in the group for one of the pictures. All the children were gathering around and a few of them tried to hold my hand or grab onto my shirt for the picture. It was really cute, and I think "those two strange people on motorcycles" will give them a little something to talk about when they get back from their school trip. After we had seen all there was to see we headed back south through Quito again, towards Salcedo. The drive ridden with stinky smoky diesel buses and trucks. Some even had two or three mufflers to disperse the smoke in all directions. Further into the drive, once we were a little outside of the city it was a much more pleasant drive. We drove through some pretty high mountains, and even saw some snow capped peaks of the Andes. In Salcedo we found a very nice hotel called Hotel Jarfi. They were nice enough to lock our bikes up beside the hotel so that they would be safe ovenight. We spent a good part of the evening chatting with the owner and the man that worked in the restaurant. Later in the evening we took a walk around the center square of town, and I snapped a few pictures of the cathedral which looked lovely all lit up. Then we headed back to the hotel and talked a little more with the owner and his son. The little boy wanted to see the pictures of the cats and dogs on our computer. It was hilarious because my Spanish is still horrible so I had a lot of difficulty communicating with him. We resorted to facial gestures and giggling, instead, and he tried to teach me a few new words. I showed him how to scroll through the pictures on the computer, and later he made a very colourful picture in Paint. We had a great time, and the next day we took some pictures infront of the hotel with the owner, his son, the man that worked in the restaurant and his bike.