I had ambitious plans today, including heading out to La Mittad del Mundo on the equator. This is a touristy spot that plays on the mystic powers of the equator, but has a lot of fun exhibits, a nearby Inca ruin site and on Sundays features lots of live music and dancers. I wanted to do this since all of the churches and religious sites in Quito would be packed full of worshippers, but fate intervened.
Okay, I won’t say fate intervened but I got distracted. I walked a few blocks from the hotel to find the trolle stop and came across the Plaza Santa Domingo where a presentation was being made. In conjunction with the city of Quito a Columbian musical dance group was performing. I guess it was “Water For Quito” day. I must say the music and dancing was mesmerizing and since I was about a foot taller on average than the locals I stood behind the small crowd (no pun intended) and took many photos. I also fell in lust with one of the dancers who kept “flirting” with me, and by flirting I mean she was within 50 feet and not repulsed. I doubt she even noticed me (albeit I was taller and whiter than most others in the crowd).
Suddenly the church bells rang and the church emptied out into the plaza. I relaized I had been watching the performers for over two hours and had likely missed my opportunity to catch a bus out with enough time to explore La Mittad del Mundo and get back before dark.
No worries, I walked over to the main square, Plaza Grande. I don’t know if today was a special event or if the plaza is normally so crowded, but I was glad to see at least one Policia for every fifty people because I was getting looks from some of the deviants… checking what I was carrying and if I was paying attention to my surroundings. I watched more performers and ate some queso y jamon empanadas for lunch near the San Francisco de Quito convent. What, you’re selling helado? Si!
I walked up a steep street headed for another cathedral and heard traditional music playing from inside a courtyard. It turned out to be a dance recital for a traditional dance school and they were amazing! After another hour I resumed my climb up to the cathedral which was a bit of a letdown once I arrived. I headed back down the street and realized I had applied enough sun creme to the top of my ears buy my forehead had sweat through the protection there. I suspect I will have a good burn on the top of my face and possibly endure some peeling in a few days.
After a few hours siesta at the hotel, I journeyed out for dinner. I fond a small South American-style pizza joint, and if I ever figure out how it differs from North American pizza I will let you know. I will say the pizza was good and filling, and the cerveza was very tasty
Time for a rant: I did not learn spanish in high school and my knowledge has been acquired through observation, Sesame Street and reading the Lonely Planet South American Phrasebook… plus my experience on my trip to Peru a few years ago. Stupid Americans, just because I can order and converse with the server doesn’t mean I want to translate for you when you order. Give it a try first, make mistakes and learn. Just because you recognized the logo on my ball cap does not mean we are friends. Also, if you’re a strict vegetarian visiting Quito plan ahead and learn how to ask for vegetarian dishes. Don’t get flustered when your dish arrives topped with beef and then give up and ask me to tell the server what you wanted. My spanish is no bueno, but even I can manage “sin carne.”
Now back in the room to hit the hay. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?