22 June 2009

Quito Funtimes Explorations

I'm still in Quito and I found free WiFi (unheard of!), so I get to use my own computer and a keyboard whose layout I am familiar with. Huzzah.

What have I done since we arrived? Let's see. Friday, Dara and I slept in because we needed it. After the confusion of Wednesday and Thursday, a late Friday morning was more than we could have asked for. We took it easy, walked around the neighborhood of our hostel, and got a very cheap and gigantic seafood dinner. Mine was a simple fish fillet with rice and fries, and Dara's was this monstrous plate of rice and oysters and clams and shrimp and who knows what else... which turned out to be something she'd be paying dearly for the rest of the night.

Saturday several students, Dara and I decided to go to the Mitad del Mundo, or "Middle of the World," a huge stone monument and town built for the equator... but built about 250 meters away from the real thing. We took the 40-cent bus up there, and as soon as we got off it started pouring down rain. Absolutely pouring. We were unprepared and quickly found ourselves soaked to the bone. We found our way into the town (finding out later w were supposed to pay an entrance fee?), took shelter under some eaves and once the rain slowed down we went and saw the immense misplaced monument. It was nice. Apparently, if you pay to go into the museum, they have an exhibit that proves that water goes down the drain in the opposite direction on either side of the equator. First of all, that's not the real equator. Second, it has been proven that the thing that determines the direction of spin on toilet flushes is the direction it is sent into the toilet bowl. Bogus.

We stuck around the town for a bit, watching indigenous dancers and listening to some singers and buying small souvenirs and sweaters from the shops, and then hopped a bus back to Quito. While we rode a bus from the same company as we had taken to leave the city, our inbound bus did not stop at the same station we left from. I realized this and then noticed we were in the old city and decided it might be cool for the students to walk through there for a bit on the way back to our hostels, see the big churches and such. Unfortunately, we ended up in a seedy part of the old city, and wlked very quietly with our hands in our pockets. Almost immediately upon leaving the bus, one student's sandl broke, but we found a very nice old man who we couldn't understand a single word from to mend it. We eventually found taxis home before it got dark and made it back unscathed and unrobbed.

Aside from that, lots of relaxation. I did a full day of picking up students from the airport, finding rooms for them, feeding them and making them comfortable in this new country, they all went up to the project this afternoon after we found an art museum at the Catholic University. That campus seriously only has one entrance/exit, and lots of trickster paths that lead into walls or padlocked doors with nobody to open them. We escaped eventually.

Dara's flight out is Wednesday, after that I head up to the project and join my fellow archaeologists. It's good to have her here, though, I'm doing some touristy things around Quito that I hadn't done before that really needed to happen.

I'll post again when there's something to post about, hope everyone's doing well.

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