Videos from Ecuador – Quito and the Galápagos islands

Ecuador – Quito from sofia armenteros on Vimeo.

Views of Quito – Some tests about being in the middle of the world – Homeparty with some reggeaton dance – Playing Jenca with my host and his friends..

Galapagos – Santa Cruz from sofia armenteros on Vimeo.

First video from the Galápagos, the island of Santa Cruz, las grietas, snorkeling, land tortoises..

Galapagos – the other islands from Sofia Engleson on Vimeo.

Second video from the Galápagos, visiting the islands of Bartolomé, Santiago, Isabela and San Cristobal. Snorkeling with penguins, turtles, sea lions, visiting volcanos, tunnels etc..

Being in the middle of the world!

So I woke up at 7 this morning and had some breakfast and then started my journey to Mitad Del Mundo. It’s a small village around 35 km north of Quito, and it’s exactly in the middle of the world, where the equator is, latitude of 0.0.0.0!

I went to take the metrobus to the station la Ofelia, where there are buses that goes to Mitad del mundo.
Apparently, there was a marathon that day, so the metrobus was closed. Instead I took the trole (yes, there are metrobus, trole and eco via, which are all the same but from different companies, so they have different names, and they are pararell but on different streets) to the terminal Y and from there a bus to the ofelia and from the ofelia the other bus to the mitad del mundo. It wasn’t difficult, but not so easy. Even knowing were to jump of from the bus is difficult here since they don’t say it out loud so you have to ask the locals. But tourists find their way here, I guess with organized tours. I paid 75 cents to get there since I had to take 3 different transportations (every one costs 25 cents).

The museum of Intiñan, not to easy to see from the outside!

The museum of Intiñan, not to easy to see from the outside!

I went directly to the intiñan solar museum, it’s where the real center of the world is. The entrance fee is 4 USD and you get a guided tour there in the “museum”. They show you some typical animals, life, clothing etc from different parts of Ecuador and from the indigenous tribe, but the most funny part is about being exactly in the middle of the world.

There are experiments, like to balance and egg on a nail, which is easier here in the middle then in the north or the south. Also just to walk on the line of the equator with your eyes closed and arms strengthen out is almost impossible! So difficult compared if you are just one meter on either side of the line. Also exactly here in the middle, if you have a sink where you put water, and then you open the cork, the water just falls straight down, without any spinning. But if you do it on the south, the water spins towards the clock, and the north, with the clock, and that’s just a couple of meters from each other. So cool!

Totems from all over the world, at least south america, that worship the sun. :) Recognize anyone??

Totems from all over the world, at least south america, that worship the sun. :) Recognize anyone??

Me and Maximiliano at the latitud of 00.00.00!

Me and Maximiliano at the latitud of 00.00.00!

Yaaay! I managed to balance the egg on the nail! :)

Yaaay! I managed to balance the egg on the nail! :)

Another thing is that here at the equator line, they don’t have different weather stations, it’s always the same weather, and there are no differences in the hours of sun during the year, the sun always rises at 6 in the morning and down at 6 at night.

I met up with Maximiliano, a couchsurfer that lives in Mitad del mundo. We went to the “city” and monument of Mitad del Mundo (entrance fee 2 USD and 3 USD to climb up to the monument). This is a big area with restaurants and stores built around the equator-line, and it’s painted in the ground where the line goes, what’s south and north etc… BUT – with the use of global position system technology it has been determined that the actual equator is 240 metres north to the monument area – which is at the museum intiñan. Haha. So this is totally a bluff! But they are actually planning on doing a new monument now on the real line.. we’ll see!

In front of the monument of the middle of the world, but the false one! 400 metres wrong.. haha.

In front of the monument of the middle of the world, but the false one! 400 metres wrong.. haha.

The false middle of the world! Picture taken from the monument.

The false middle of the world! Picture taken from the monument.

Yummy Paila Ice cream!

Yummy Paila Ice cream!

Haha. We had some coffee, and I had a tree tomato smoothie – it’s a fruit from here, so it’s not a tomato! Haha. We also had some ice creams typical from here, Paila, and they were so yummie!

Maximiliano had to swing by his home because he had some guys over to fix his internet (he had been without internet for 4 days). After it was fixed, we danced a little bit of salsa and he showed me the basics steps in cumbia and reggeton too. Haha. Can you imagine, me dancing in the middle of the day like that! Yep… it’s getting better! Also he put some music over on a memory so I will now be able to listen to the differences between salsa, cumbia, reggeaton and merengue. :)

After that, we took the car to the teleferiqo, which Maximiano also never had visited, haha. The telefériqo is a ride from the city center to the east side of the Pichincha volcano. And it’s beautiful!!! You have a view of all Quito from there, and the surrounding mountains and volcanos are magical. We were about 3830 metres above sea level, just were the clouds were!  Because of the altitude and the wind, it’s much cooler up here, but not that extreme as they had warned me for, haha.

Happy 3800 meters above Quito :)

Happy 3800 meters above Quito :)

Found some Lamas chilling in the mountains.

Found some Lamas chilling in the mountains.

View from the mountain... beautiful!

View from the mountain… beautiful!

After our ride we went to a mall and had some pasta for late lunch/early dinner, then he drove me home we said goodbye. What a day! I had a great time!  I’m so lucky he met me up there and joined me the whole day. I love couchsurfing.  : )

I was really tired when I got home, but no time for sleeping! I had a shower and then me and Bogar went over to his brothers apartment who lives just around the corner, they are neighbours J Since I bought this good coffee but Bogar didn’t have a coffee pot, they invited us over to have it there. And the coffee was sooo good! Haha.
Gimena and Anita from yesterday were there too, so sweet and funny girls! We talked about the differences in Spanish, so now I have a list of Ecuador/quito-spanish I will upload soon. :) The girls left and Carlos who also lives in the apartment arrived, we talked yesterday at the party and he lived in Sweden for 6 months about 10 years ago, weird!

We listened to La oreja de van gogh, drank coffee (at least I did) and played Jenga and then a card game called something with eight.  ;) Haha. Perfect last day! I had lots of fun and I’m glad I didn’t loose (it was expected since it was my first time, haha, but no, bogar lost all the times, haha).

Playing Jenga :) Love it!

Playing Jenga :) Love it!

Oh. I really like Bogar and his friends. I have really really enjoyed their company and I would really like to spend more time with them and get to know them all better. If I was living in this city, this is the kind of people I would like to hang out with.

I’m leaving Quito with the feeling of not enough time again. Damn it. I have to come back!

 

I LOVE QUITO!

Haha. I know.. I fall in love in everything. 

This is my last day in Quito, and I’m so sad. Damn me who had to buy my flight tickets so much ahead!! I love this city and I would have loved to stay a little longer…

Since I didn’t have so many days here and there was a lot to do, I haven’t had time to write any posts! Sorry.. now it’s late and I have to wake up in 6 hours, but I will do this post now so I don’t forget my impressions. It’s going to be long!!

Quito is a colonial town in the middle of the mountains. It’s around 2800 metres above sea level, so the weather is quite cold here. During the days it’s around 25 degrees but at night it can be around 10 degrees. But I don’t find it as cold as San Cristobal in Mexico. The cities are similar because of the clime and the mountains, but the people aren’t the same. San Cris is more of a hippie place and this is a capital city. And it’s so clean here! Really beautiful. And the air is so fresh!

View over the hill and the beautiful houses.

View over the hill and the beautiful houses.

People here are very friendly and calm! Really relaxed. What strikes me the most is that everyone here dress very well and are very beautiful. Generally, I feel bad when I say this, but Mexicans aren’t that good-looking. I find everyone here good-looking (almost). Also, besides some young boys around the age of 8-10 who works in the center cleaning shoes, I haven’t seen so many more poor people. They don’t come and beg you for money or to buy things here. Very relaxed.

I arrived here on Friday. There is a new airport here, the old one was in town, and the new one is about one and a half hour away. The funny thing is that they haven’t really managed to have any good connections, so you have to either take a bus to the old airport and from there the bus to town, or take another bus to a terminal and from there change to a trolley. I took the last one, and along the way we had problems with traffic and were stuck around 40 minutes, haha. It costed 2 dollars. On the “airport bus” I met a guy, Hermal, who was going sort of the same way as I was, so he helped me at the terminal of Rio Coca to change to the Eco Via (like a trolley, 25 cents) who took me to the place where my host lives. We spoke along the way and it turns out that he is also on couchsurfing!! Haha, so fun.  Also, a tip is: do not take the eco via with a big backpack on your back! It’s sort of impossible to get out when it’s crowded. Thankfully people are very helpful here and they all helped me to push my way out and to scream to let me out, haha. : )

My host Bogar, he laughs so much that his head got blurry, haha. Behind him is his own designed furniture, cool huh!

My host Bogar, he laughs so much that his head got blurry, haha. Behind him is his own designed furniture, cool huh!

Got home around 18, or to my host Bogar. He lives in the center, close to the Mariscal, in a new and  fresh apartment, very artistic and clean. He is super super sweet, laughing all the time. I felt so welcome! He made the bed, lended me blankets, and two towels! Such a luxury for a backpacker to feel some good towels instead of the thin travel-towel. Haha.
He also let me try Pan de yuca, a bread made of yuca, a root typical from here. We had the thought of going out to dance salsa, but I was really tired and we went out for a walk around the mariscal area. This area is considered the center of the entertainment with a lots and lots of pubs and discos, I grabbed some food and then we had an early night home.

I slept soooo good! It’s cold at night, but the house is warm.. Still I had lots of blankets and I slept like a baby. I was so tired.. and I can say this was one of the best nights sleep I had during my trip haha.

Next day we went out to buy some breakfast and then I went to the historical center to go to a couchsurfing meeting that was going for a walk around there.

I bought the greatest coffee here, one of the first coffee shops in Quito, still using old grinds...oh!

I bought the greatest coffee here, one of the first coffee shops in Quito, still using old grinds…oh!

If you only need 1 egg, you can buy it here if you want... haha.

If you only need 1 egg, you can buy it here if you want… haha.

Typical food from ecuador; quimbolitos, humitas and other stuff.. mmmm!

Typical food from ecuador; quimbolitos, humitas and other stuff.. mmmm!

I took the trolley into the historical center, and two people are standing next to me talking about some meeting to the Otavalo market today. I had just read a post about that on couchsurfing, so I listen a little bit more and then ask them if they are from couchsurfing, and yes! They were also going to this meeting. The world is little! So I had help to find my place to the meeting since Gabriela is from Quito.

Having some ice cream and coffee at a great café. I tried two new tastes, Taxo and Maracuya. MMm!

Having some ice cream and coffee at a great café. I tried two new tastes, Taxo and Maracuya. MMm!

We were 2 spanish, me and Francisco, one Australian girl, Nancy, and four Ecuadorian, Maxi, Erick, Gabriela and Danna. We walked around the town for like 6 hours. The historical center here is one of the best preserved centers in americas. It was also the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978!

We visited Plaza Grande, the church of San Francisco, the street la Ronda, The basilica, 2 different museums (free), and so on. And Quito is so beautiful! Narrow streets uphill and downhills everywhere surrounded by big mountains. Is magical.

Lots of doves at the Plaza de San Francisco.

Lots of doves at the Plaza de San Francisco.

Panorama of historic center of Quito

Panorama of historic center of Quito

Panorama from the basilica.

Panorama from the basilica.

The gang in the basilica :)

The gang in the basilica :) Me, Danna, Nancy and Erick

I came back home around 18, hanged out with Bogar, and then we went to a birthday party at bogars friends house close to the historical center. And wow!!! Such an experience. I’m amazed about how good they all dance, they have it in their body! I’m so damn jealous. I’m like a statue!

Bogar had said to me before that no couchsurfer leaves before they have tried salsa, and when he invited me, I got like all sweaty and tense and red and cramped and panic… I always get like this when people ask me to dance with them here, and I started to think why the hell am I reacting like this? I know it’s because I can’t dance this, and I don’t want people to see how bad I am. But why should I care if I embarrass myself or what people think of my dancing? So… I took a deep breath, and got up on the floor! And I learned the basics of salsa and merengue! And it was fun! But soooo difficult!!! Haha. Yet I actually got some compliments that I was a lot better than other Europeans or americans that try salsa for the first time ;) Haha.

And oh, all of Bogars friends are so nice and sweat! But the dancing.. damn it, it’s so sensual! The reggeton I mean.. I got a little bit familiar with it on youtube in mexico, haha, but I hadn’t seen it like this… it looks exactly like 2-3 am in the morning in Sweden when the discos are closing and the ones that have hooked up for the night are dancing erotic and warming up each other for the night…. The difference here is that it’s totally normal, the boyfriend dances with another girl, the girlfriend with another boy, or girls with girls, even boys with boys (well, these people are really good friends, haha).. and no harm! It’s just for fun, they all laugh, it’s a dance, not something sexual.

Dancing reggeton :)

Dancing reggeton :)

I, who didn’t understand the meaning of the music of reggeaton at all, found it totally…. Monotone and really bad, have started to like it a lot! Now when I listen to the music, I see the dance, and totally get it! Weird!

Oh, another thing I found fine here, is that here at the party, they had like this bucket with Mojito, who everybody drinks from. Then when it’s finished, they gather in some dollars from everyone, and go to the store to buy more.. and so on. Not as egoistic as in Sweden so to say. Everybody gets as drunk as everyone else, haha. Also, they start really early!! Mainly it’s illegal to buy or drink alcohol here after 12 am, so you can’t buy alcohol, neither in the stores or at the discos! But of course they know the loopholes and which stores appear to be close but aren’t… haha. : )

Ecuatorian home party. Mojito!

Ecuatorian home party. Mojito!

Anyhow. Since I was going up around 7 am, we had an early night. Still I had lots of fun! I’m so glad I had the chance to experience a typical Ecuadorian home party! :)