Where are we?

Mitad del Mundo

Dwayne and I have decided to get a little house and live out in the Andes for awhile πŸ˜‚
The picture above was done in the Equator monument at Mitad del Mundo. They have you stand infront of a green screen, you pic your background and put on a couple of clothing items they have to choose from and then they email you the picture. Funny pic!!

Wednesday Nov 13

Our drive from Otavalo to Mitad del Mundo took us thru the flower growing area. We saw many many greenhouses. Then we started seeing flowers for sale along the road - mostly roses - 12 for $1.50!!! Or 3 doz for $5! WOW and they were beautiful.

Then we got to the outskirts of Quito and only saw houses spread along all the mountain sides. We are going west first before heading into Quito.

Flower greenhouses
In the valley there are many greenhouses

That's actually a waterpark in the valley

Beautiful scenery here

Then we hit the Big City

Houses just spread over the mountain

West of Quito we drive to Mitad del Mundo.  This is an area that was built because of it being where the equator is or close to it.  It's a bit of a touristy spot but we enjoyed all the displays and information which was also in English.  We entered the Equator monument that was opened in 1992 and went to the top in an elevator. Great views from the top. But to get down we had to go via the stairs because on each of the 4 floors there were displays of the different peoples of Ecuador and also different science displays.  For example I found out I weigh a few pounds less on the equator then at north pole plus I weigh over 5000lbs on the sun!!! Think I'll stay on earth! LOL!!!  They also had a few llamas that we got to visit along with MANY little souvenir stores! We also got to try and balance an egg on a nail head right on the equator line - but neither one of us could do it.  But then neither could the girl at the display - so I guess that busts that myth!

We walked around the park for almost 2 hours before heading back to Vanna to find a spot nearby that we could park free for the night.

The equator monument at 0 0' 0" latitude (not really but it keeps the tourists coming LOL!!!)

Us having fun jumping up over the equator LOL!!!!

This represents the people living on the coast of Ecuador 

This is a Cosmic shaman - not sure the story on it but I liked the colourful feathers :) 

The typical Andes people - which llama leg coverings

Trying to balance an egg

View from the top of the monument

Awwwww 😊

Love how the clouds just drop into the valley behind 

Thursday Nov 14

Today we headed to the nearest big grocery store to stock up. Our first time buying groceries in Ecuador. The store we went into had a great selection of everything! The prices are very good.  While I was shopping Dwayne was doing some adjustments to the frame holding the box on the back of Vanna. He lifted it a little higher so that he could get to the air bags easier to fill them.  Once we put the groceries away we headed to a gas station to fill up the water tank and now heading to Mindo to go see tropical birds in the wild 😍  I read that there are also chocolate tours to see how it's made from bean to finished product but they charge $8pp - well you know how cheap I/we are - we'd rather spend $16 on chocolate treats then spend it to see how its made!! LOL!!!

We also have to stop at a Claro store so I can buy MORE data!! Cant believe how I can go thru 4.5GBs since Monday! Guess downloading my blog pictures takes lots of data 😭

We get to Mindo a couple of hours later arriving around 2:30. We drive towards where the walk is to go see the birds. We speak with the woman in charge and find out it's $6pp to walk thru the park.  And to stay the night and use the facilities at the hostel another $4pp. We decide we need a nice quiet spot to spend the night plus they have wifi here πŸ˜€ Unlimited use that's well worth the $8 to park - plus we can use the bathroom and shower. It's a very nice looking hostel. But those days are far behind us. Backpacking in Thailand for 2 months in 2013 and staying in different beds every night was enough to convince us we weren't backpackers. Hate getting up every morning with a backache! Once we both a motorhome to travel thru Europe and Morocco, we knew that was the only way to travel in different countries - if at all possible πŸ˜€ And Vanna is verrrrry comfortable!

So we park Vanna near the hostel change our clothes and shoes and head out. We walk along an unused road heading up but it is still used by farmers moving their cattle around so we have to watch where we step so not to step in a wet cowpie!!! LOL!! Hard to look up, walk AND not step in a cowpie!! Off this road there are 5 different trails that head into the jungle. This paths are about 4 feet wide with jungle on both sides that is really thick with palm trees, bamboo and other trees.  It's interesting to see a type of heliconia plant growing right on the branches of the trees. Beautiful orange flowers! Also along the road there are many bright orange impatiens growing. Even though in my pictures they dont look very bright πŸ˜” Think I have to look for a camera when we are in Quito. I've looked when we have been in the malls but can't find any stores that sell cameras. Everyone uses their cell phone!!

Anyways, we walk along 2 different trails - one of which is suppose to have capuchin monkeys, but they're off somewhere else, we don't see any. Which is ok because we got to see them up real close - top of our heads!! when we were in Costa Rica back in 2010. Then we head up the old road again to an area that is suppose to have toucans! This is what I really want to see 😊.  We start hearing funny chirping and it gets louder. As we are looking up we see the toucans!! They are high up in the trees, we can barely see their colourful beaks! But they don't look as big as the Fruit Loops Toucan LOL!! I wish we would have remembered to take the binoculars!! Guess we aren't avid birdwatchers. I later find out that these are Mountain toucans and are a smaller variety. I'm sure if we were here at 5am we would probably see the REAL toucan, but the chances of that happening are slim to none LOL!! I love birds but I also like my comfy bed! 😁

We head back to Vanna after a couple of hours of 'sweating like crazy' walking - well for me anyways, Dwayne hardly sweats! We're at 4000' so walking and breathing is not difficult. Other then it's all uphill and even though it's cloudy it is still pretty hot and humid at this altitude.

Once we get back to Vanna we've walked 6kms and climbed 50 storeys LOL!! I believe it, because I'm now heading to take a shower!!

Type of helicon growing on the tree branch

Walking along the cowpie road πŸ˜‚

Then along the paths thru the jungle

Lots of hanging vines in the jungle but I didnt see Tarzan or monkeys :(

There he is!! the mountain toucan - ok can you at least see his beak in the middle??

Tried to crop the picture in hopes of seeing the toucan better - but not. Just want to show that we did see them in the wild!

Impatiens in the wild

This is their actual color

These are called Shrimp plants - I tried growing them in Honduras but we are to close to the sea for their liking

We watched these ants cross the path - moving I guess because they were coming out of the bush across the path and into the bush on the other side. The big guy on the rock kept them in line. Fun watching ants!!

WARNING! Video of the ants πŸ˜‚

Back at the hostel

Dwayne trying to figure out where the on switch is LOL!!!!

SO MANY water hyacinths! I remember having to pay about $4-5 for one little plant back in the day when we had ponds

After supper we watched Netflix since we seldom have strong enough wifi to watch it or enough data!! We watch a bunch of episodes of The Kaminsky Method - with Micheal Douglas. This is a funny show but only for our age group!! LOL!!! We watched season 1 last winter and laughed alot. Glad they have season 2 now.

Friday Nov 15th
Yeah it's payday for Dwayne LOL!!!! More money to spend πŸ˜‚  We had a great quiet sleep, no motos  going by at 5am and our fan sucking in the stink of it's exhaust!  We'll head into Mindo and walk around to see what there is and maybe buy some chocolate πŸ˜‹

And this morning a capybara walked across the yard near us :0

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