Wednesday night and I am in beautiful Quito, Ecuador, the highest altitude capital in the world. Exploring this city today has been amazing. The city and people of Ecuador are truly remarkable.
And I have once again teamed up with my Canadian friends, Robert and S. However, it is with some regret that I now will leave Rene, Gil and Omer, the great people with whom I have been riding the past two days. I truly enjoyed their knowledge, companionship and enthusiasm. However, they are going to spend several days here in Quito and I must head southward to Peru.
Yesterday, within an hour of leaving Ibarra, we were at the Equator where we stopped for over one hour. Frolicing and having a great time, we also took a number of photographs which I hope to get posted soon. Photographs of me straddling the equator, of Omer jumping over the equator, of Gil laying on the equator and of Rene jumping, straddling and laying on the equator. Finally, we mounted up and were off to Quito, where we arrived to terrible rush hour traffic.
Despite the traffic, Omer and Gil navigated the busy streets and soon we were at our hostal where we spent only one night. It simply was too noisy. This morning Robert, S and I reunited and I have moved over to the hostal in which they were staying, Casa Helbling, a a great hostal, with good facilities. Did I say hot water, you bet!
Tomorrow we are heading south toward the border with Peru. Peru is a good twelve or thirteen hours from Quito, so we have decided to make it a two day ride. But first let me tell you about the past two days.
The ride from Ibarra to Quito is a beautiful ride, through the magnificent Andes. High, sometimes over 10,000 feet above sea level, it is also cold. Here I am sitting on the equator and needing a sweater. Today was spent in Quito, in Old Town, beautiful, colonial with strikingly beautiful churches and government buildings. Late this afternoon, Robert, S and I found ourselves in the midst of a peaceful demonstration in front of the President's mansion. While the police were out in full riot gear, and in force, they were actually quite friendly to the demonstrators.
Peaceful and orderly demonstrations for or against government policies, with absolutely no retribution from the government. True democracy at work!
I am advised that for the next several days we will be riding in very high Andes and that the temperatures will be cold. Tomorrow morning, for the first time on this adventure, I will dress for cold weather riding, and me sitting on the equator!