to South America and beyond


center of the world

after checking-in at hostal centro del mundo, i traveled to the real center of the world. i´ve spent the first couple days with 3 fun irish folks i met in the hostel, and today we all decided to go out to mitad del mundo. mitad del mundo is about an hour north of quito and sits directly on the equator. or the supposed equator, i should say, because the line drawn at mitad del mundo is actually about 7 seconds of a degree off. i´m still not clear whether they just didn´t have the technology in 1736 for a precise calculation, or if they just needed a large, flat space to build a monument. the real equator is 200 meters away in a ravine. sadly, i did not go there.

the monument on the (almost) equator

view from the top
a view down the center. the S and N mark the northern and southern hemispheres.

sitting in both hemispheres (of course)

straddling the equator

after going up in the monument, we saw a playground and thought, "when do you get a chance to go down a slide at the center of the world?" so we did. the rest of the day was filled with these types of activities (e.g. "hey look, i´m eating rice at the center of the world", etc.).

well, it´s been a long day at the center of everything, so now it´s back to the fake centro del mundu for "rum and coke" night. i know, it´s terribly western, but should be great fun.



i have arrived in quito, ecuador! after several conversations with transportation people and my fellow hostel tenants i have learned one thing only: my spanish is ridiculously bad. pero esta bien because i will only get better with practice. most interactions get resolved, with a little multi-modal communication, but es mas dificil! what a day of communication breakdown for the future speech-language pathologist! my one perfectly successful conversation went like this: me: "cuales tipos de jugo tiene?", flight attendant: lists types, me: "naranjado por favor." hey, it´s a step.

my current living situation is la hostal centro del mundu in la mariscal, which is a part of quito. i´m sharing a dorm-style room with four other people, all super-friendly. my first order of business was to take a nap after not sleeping through my overnight flight (fun). i´m still going on only about 2 hours of sleep, so today will not be a wild and crazy adventure in quito. tomorrow is another story.



now i'm ready to travel. at least as far as the CDC is concerned. in the last two days i've received two travel health consultations, 4 vaccinations, 2 prescriptions and 1200 pamphlets. overkill? maybe. and yet i got the feeling they would have sent me away in a plastic bubble if i had given consent.


some may say i'm a dreamer

i had a dream about my arrival in ecuador last night. i was picked up at the airport and whisked away to the capital by some fellow americans, of the undesirable sort. they took me to a hostel that bore an uncanny resemblence to a frat house and immediately started yelling 'woo!' i knew i was in trouble. the rest of the evening passed with shot-taking and obnoxiousness, once again, not unlike a frat party. what a nightmare.

and i'm not even on anti-malaria meds yet.

anyway, life is one big ball of transition right now. people are moving away, some are moving into my house, it's nuts. okay, not some, just chaitee. chaitee has decided to stay in seattle for the time being and is taking my room while i'm gone. hooray! i'm still putting my stuff in storage, but at least i'll have a place to come back to in january. january seems so far away and yet somehow, not far enough.