Saturday 28th June. We arrived back in Quito last night and were determined to eat outside of our hotel, for at least one of our nights in Quito. We set of for the New Town or, Mariscal Sucre area. We dined at an upstairs café/restaurant called ‘Altrio’ in the Plaza El Quinde, a square full of Latino life with craft markets and musicians competing for our attention. The meal was served by ‘muy sympatico camareros’…for my Spanish classmates! The food, I have to admit, was the best that I have ever dined on…even better than Ravesis’…a big statement coming from me! We made it back to the hotel by about 10.30pm but, sleeping was always going to be a challenge with the noise coming from the surrounding streets. Saturday night is clearly ‘festiva’night in this area. Ps: Our hotel, The Dann Carlton, was a ‘muy agradable’ hotel. Sunday 29th June: Last day in Quito Today was quite warm as we headed out to La Mitad del Mundo, 22km north of Quito. This translates to ‘The middle of the world’, Quito’s biggest claim to fame, for it is here that one can straddle a foot either side of the Equator. One of the girls from our Galapagos tour, Kathryn, joined us for this excursion. Kathryn is a Process Engineer from England and backpacking around South America for 6 weeks before heading back home to start a new role. Tom had commented earlier whilst on the Galapagos boat how nice it would have been if Kathryn could be his sister! So, together we visited the Museo Solar Inti Nan, supposedly the site of the true equator. We were able to stand with one foot either side of the equator and, also to view some key demonstrations. One of these was the demonstration of water draining clockwise south of the equator, counter clockwise to the north and draining straight down when positioned over the equator. Truly amazing stuff! The Lonely Planet says this is all ‘smoke and mirrors stuff’ but, it seemed legitimate to all of us. We also observed that it was harder to walk a straight line with eyes closed along the equatorial line. This museum was also a replica village typical of the ancient indigenous Quiteno people, complete with shrunken heads and lethal blow dart weapons! Another interesting display included the ‘solar chronometer’ that shows conventional time and the seasons by using the sun rays slanted across a slab of carved rock. This drive out of Quito, along with what we have seen through the rest of Ecuador, confirmed at least one thing for me. The ‘Besser brick’ (spelling???) industry must be a thriving one here. The whole of Ecuador seems to be comprised of humble square structures lining the streets. Some of these are rendered, one or two may be whitewashed but most are untreated, incomplete and a number appear simply abandoned. It’s as if the place is trying to say ‘look we tried but, it was just too hard’. I feel the place has some commitment issues. I think the place would benefit if someone could come up with an affordable, pre-painted besser brick product. Anyway, enough of my rambling. We left the equator and then headed back to the hotel to collect our bags and to make our way on to Lima, Peru. Kathryn was off to a hostel and deciding whether to spend more time in Quito, as she had originally planned, or whether to escape south down towards Peru. Most of our amigos on this trip shared our thoughts on Quito…a nice place to visit for a day or two but, only once! Adios amigos!