Many people reading this probably are probably aware that I ran the Boston Marathon in April, and may have even donated to the cause. Running was not a common activity of mine before training for it, but it became a hobby that I found helped me clear my mind and relax. After getting settled into my apartment and figuring out my other moving needs, I’ve been trying to go on runs to get a better feel for the neighborhood and other parts of the city. Despite the hills and altitude (which I am going to blame instead of my laziness), I managed to get through some forest and elevation to make it to Bellavista Park. It’s a little off the normal path, and provided some great views of the neighborhood I was living and working in. Also there was a dog park, and I will always enjoy a trip to a dog park.
The area I am living at close to a neighborhood named La Floresta. To quickly describe it, it’s the neighborhood that has the “Keep (Insert city/neighborhood name) Weird” label. It’s got some trendy restaurants, interesting street art and a mix of classically beautiful homes. There was a free tour going on Saturday afternoon, and that’s a price I can always swing. Emerson from Quito Street Tour has some great stories about how the community in La Floresta has worked to preserve the arts and history of the neighborhood. One of the foundations of the area is the classic farmer’s market, which apparently has some of the highest quality organic fruits and vegetables in Quito. While it was not open that Saturday, rumor has it that you can get four avocados for a dollar….which seems like such a better deal than a dollar for a spoonful at Chipotle.
The highlight of my week was my trip to Mitad Del Mundo, the center of the world where the Equator splits the hemisphere. It’s easy to make the trip in less than an hour by car, and one can catch an Uber there for $10. The trip gave me some time to see Ecuadorian countryside, as well as practice my Spanish while hearing some other city recommendations from the driver. Upon arriving, it is easy to spot the monument that commemorates the exact location of the Equator where the earth’s longitude and latitude are both at zero. It’s also a great spot to stand with your feet over the Equator line for a picture in both hemispheres.
There’s a mini science museum with small experiments inside the monument to show some of the phenomena that come with the location. Gravity is slightly weaker, and people weigh around 1% less. Since it is flatter, an egg can balance on a flat surface. One debunked myth is the flow of water when flushing, which the museum has an exhibit dedicated to. Flow is determined by design and not Corilosis Force, consider that myth busted. One fun fact I didn’t see in the museum that they likely avoid highlighting, is that the marked line is off by 240 meters. Scientist discovered the true location once GPS was invented, which really emphasizes, ‘how did we ever find anything without Google Maps’?
There is a small ‘city’ of shops, cafes and other museums within the Mitad del Mundo area, and I was definitely in need of some food. I came across a restaurant that had a man playing Michael Jackson songs on a Pan’s flute-like instrument, so I knew I had found the right place. Inside, I tried a yaguarlocro soup and some Hornado. The Yaguarlocro was simply described ‘traditional dish’ on the menu, what I didnt know this before ordering is that this soup comes with a side of fried lamb blood. Interesting…and not too bad. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite thing, but I enjoyed the soup. My main course of Horando was an amazing selection; it is a well-seasoned bit of roasted pork that comes with sides galore.
I wrapped this trip up with a challenge, and took a gamble on myself to see if I could figure out how to take the bus back to Quito. It was a nice test for my Spanish, which while not great I feel it has graduated to survival status. Thanks for reading. #VidaLaVic.