My plans for the weekend changed. I was unsure whether I could get a bus from Mindo to Otavalo so I decided to skip Mindo. We had a day off from work on Friday because of a holiday so I left for Mitad De Mundo at about 1 o clock. Mitad De Mundo is the Equator.
I took the trole for the first time, which is basically a huge bus that has its own lane in the street and is kind of like a subway. I ended up getting off at the wrong stop, and so it took a few extra minutes to catch another one. I got back on and met two girls and a guy from Oregon who are here in Ecuador for university. Together, we got off at the last stop and found a bus that took us there.
Upon arrival we got our pictures on the Equator and hung out. There was live music in the plaza and so I sat and watched for a few hours.
I also heard there was a huge crater nearby, and so I booked an $8 tour that took us there. We had to hike for a little bit up a hill to get to it after taking a short car ride.
I took a bus back to Quito at about 5 pm, and then headed to the Basilica. The Basilica is an incredible looking church which you can climb up to the top with views of the city. But it was closed so I will need to go back another time.
From there I took a taxi to Parque Carolina where I had planned to spend a few hours. However, it was getting dark and was further than I thought so I just had the taxi driver drop me off at a mall, where I got some dinner. I felt like I was in the US at that point being in a modern mall with familiar stores.
At about 7 pm, i took another taxi to the bus station to catch a three hour bus to Otavalo. Otavalo is famous for having the largest outdoor market in South America. The bus ride was fine except I missed the stop in Otavalo. A guy who worked on the bus stopped and let me out just outside of Otavalo. It was only a 15 minute walk into town, although it was about 10pm at this point. Once in town, I found a hostel for $7 a night, in a private room with cable tv.
I got up at 6 am the next morning, since I heard it is best to start early. After a quick breakfast, i walked outside of the restaurant and the market was all around me. I had a great time just browsing for the first five hours. There were so many neat crafts, an animal market, fruit market, etc. Everything and everyone was just so busy.
I also ran into the people from Oregon while I was walking around and so we made plans to meet up that night.
After buying 5 shrunken heads to bring back home and resell, I realized that my debit card was missing. I immediately called to put the card on hold and get a new one. This whole process took a few hours, and was pretty stressful since I did not remember the pin number for my other debit card. Eventually, i was able to get the pin number changed and then was good to go. No worries.
After sorting out that mess, i walked around for about 4 more hours and bought a ton of stuff. Lots of gifts that I hope you all like. For myself, I bought an old poster from the 1800´s of an Ecuadorian president, a first edition world war 2 book from 1942, and a nice jacket for $17.00.
I watched more movies that night, and left at 1 the next day back to Quito. While in Quito, i decided to check out a nearby park. The park was nice and I bought a hilarious painting for $35.00 that features dictators like Hugo Chavez and Godly men like…Jesus and Ghandi.
I also checked into a new hostel, Centro Del Mundo, where I have been staying all week. It’s more orientated towards the traveler that likes to party which I find myself becoming more and more each day.
On tuesday, I went back to work. The wireless works and I got my laptop fixed so I have internet access. I walked around Quito for a while to obtain new discounters for our discount list and to sell advertising space. I got a lot more discounters that day and also found some more internship opportunities for next summer.
On Wednesday, I met an interesting guy from my hostel who produces and markets films. I had actually seen clips of a documentary that he had made which was pretty neat. After talking for a while, we went out for a bit and eventually ended up at a dance club that was pretty dead.
Yesterday, I created and arranged a new airport pickup service for the club. I still need to sort out a few minor details but its pretty much good to go.
I had to stay until 9 last night because we had a presentation that went late. It was pretty interesting though. A Shaman from the Ecuadorian jungle came to talk about the struggle that his village faces against people trying to take oil from their land. He also brought in different plants and medicines and showed us how they work.
I was supposed to meet my friend from Wednesday at 8, and so by the time I got to the hostel he was gone. I did meet a few more people from NYC, England, Ireland, etc. and together we went out to a pub for a while. Afterward, we took a taxi to a club and i did not get home until 5 am.
I am at work now and am planning to go to the beach tonight on a 5 hour bus ride for the weekend.