On day 3, Wednesday, we did not go to the volleyball game because it started at about 8:00 am and we would have had to get up at about 4:30 am. Venezuela played Russia and beat them in 3 games. We were very happy for them. Once we left the hotel, the first thing we wanted to do was go purchase our tickets to go home in the main terminal at Quitembo. Sometimes they sell out days ahead, so we were cutting it very very close. An aside: a friend here decided to go to Quito. He and his wife and two other women were taking this trip. They took a bus to Portoviejo the same night they were leaving to purchase tickets. They were at the terminal at about 9:00 pm and found the tickets were sold out and they said that they would take a later bus only to find out that they were sold out for that whole night, every half hour. Here they were, 3 women and one man in a big city bus terminal late at night. Now what? Luckily, they could take a cab back to Crucita and get home. Lesson: plan ahead even in Ecuador. Well we were leaving the next day, so that was not planning much ahead. We found out we had to take to the Metro (trolley) to the main terminal. It was about a 45 minute ride. We had to stand for about 20 minutes before finally getting a seat. This is my nightmare. I am 70 years old and trying to hold on while the bus jerks and weaves around as I try to figure out how I am supposed to distribute my weight to remain standing. I could have smacked a man near me, who was leaning with his back against the bus wall reading a newspaper not holding on. This was obviously not his first rodeo. Finally a seat became vacant near me and I elbowed everyone out to get it. (Pushy American.) Not really, believe me riding the bus is combat and everyone is in on it. Even getting on the bus is an art, so that you get a seat. It is very strategic. Since the buses come often, if you are near the end of a line, you just wait for the next bus. Now you are at the front of the line and you will get a seat. In the main terminal, we were able to purchase our tickets back to Portoviejo.
Scenes While Riding the Bus Through the Mountains
We were planning to go to the Equator, called Mitad Del Mudo, so Leo asked if there was a straight bus. They said yes and we searched the terminal for that buses stall to buy the tickets. Once we had the tickets, we had to find the place to stand to catch the bus. We found the place and there was a guy waiting they, so we verified that we were in the right place, which we were. After getting on the bus we sat there a bit before leaving. While we waited, a couple of policemen armed with over the shoulder rifles, came aboard obviously looking for something or someone. They came and left a few times, walking up and down the aisles. Finally they took off the guy we had talked to before the bus came. He must have not had a ticket, so they took him off. They didn’t do anything to him, because we saw him walking away alone as the bus passed by him. This bus trip was well over an hour and we were passing through mountains where you could look over the cliff and see the valley below. You know me and mountains, but this time I just took pictures and hoped for the best. We came to a bus terminal in one of the small towns and Leo had to ask what to do, since we thought we would be at the Equator. It seems the bus was not straight through and Leo went to the bus stall of the bus we had just been on and complained that the previous person said the bus goes straight to the equator. Sorry about that, take this bus to the equator. Sooo… we took another bus. After a little while, we realized that we were on the road to the military academy. We felt that we had taken the “scenic” route as opposed to the short route. Anyway, about another hour later, the ticket taker told us we were at the equator and we hopped off. A short walk on the other side of the street was the entrance to Mitad Del Mundo (My half of the world).
The park was quite beautiful and quaint. There were shops selling all sorts of things. I saw a painting I wanted for $180, but decided not to buy it. We looked at several shops until they became redundant. It was after lunch time by now, so we chose a place to eat. It was by the ATM machine which was broken and in the process of being fixed. They estimated 1/2 hour, so it was a good time to eat-the restaurant took a credit card. When we finished eating, the ATM was still not fixed. We went to check out the equator. We did the typical tourist thing: put on foot in the southern hemisphere and put one foot in the northern hemisphere. We took lots of pictures. We went to an area called artisans and looked through their shops. More typical things. We bought a mug for Leo, his coffee mug broke at home and an Ecuadorian flag. As we were leaving, we saw a replica of a bull fighting ring. Apparently, bull fighting only happens in Quito and it is televised. You have to buy tickets a year in advance because it so popular. (Don’t kill the messenger, Andrea and Pam.)
Pictures at the Equator
Now it was time to go back to our hotel. That meant 2 buses and 2 hours of riding the bus again. It was almost dark when we got back to Chile Street. Now for that famous climb. We huffed and puffed about 1/2 way up until we came to a cafe. We got latte and chocolate dessert. That was the best!
Then we continued our climb to the hotel. We skipped dinner that night since we already had dessert. We had an early night considering how tired we were from all that bus riding and walking at the equator. We enjoyed our day in spite of being so tired.