For some reason there are no bus companies which cross the Ecuadorian/Colombian border, meaning that people are required to walk across and then get onto transport on the other side. Its pretty straightforward and crossing into Ecuador we spotted another kiwi/german couple that we had met at our hostel in Pasto the night before, so we all shared a cab to Tulcan, the closest town. Both Dafid and I had problems with our passports not scanning at the border, I think to do with the fact that we both have really new passports and Colombia's system cant deal with them, as I had the same trouble coming into Colombia. 

Arriving in Tulcan we spotted a bus just about to leave for Quito and loaded our bags on. The conductor told us we had 5 minutes before it left and said that Dafid's girlfriend had time to go to the bathroom, except before she came back the bus started to drive away. Dafid ended up having to jump in front of the bus to make them stop as there was no way there were going to wait!

Its pretty normal on central/south american buses for bad action movies to be played but the bus driver decided that the completely inappropriate Final Destination 5 would be a good choice. The opening scene of the movie involves a bus crashing of a bridge and everyone on board dying.  I'm not a fan of horror films at the best of times and we were lucky enough to be sitting underneath the speaker which was being played at full volume meaning we got to hear every bit of bone crunching and skull smashing which was going on. I spent quite a bit of time with my fingers in my ears!

When we finally arrived in Quito we got a cab to our hostel. We had arrived as the sun was setting and the bus station is a good 30 minutes away from 'old town' where we were staying. We had heard warnings about Quito's public transport at night time and since we weren't quite sure what our directions were decided a cab would be the safest. We only had to pay $8 which seemed pretty good, although I'm sure we were overcharged as he wouldn't put the meter on. But $8 for half an hour taxi ride still seemed like a good deal so we didn't fight it. 
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We're here
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Cool volcanoe out the window of the bus
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Pretty countryside
It turned out that Asal, our friend from the bus in Ecuador, was heading to the same hostel as us, and since we haddn't been able to book online and she was heading straight there while we visited Sanctuario Los Lajas we asked her to make a reservation for us at Community Hostel. Community Hostel is located right in the middle of the 'Old town' and was a great place to stay - super comfy beds and pillows, although it was a bit frustrating that there was only 2 bathrooms which meant there was always a wait. Not annoying enough to not make us stay there again but still frustrating when you were busting for a pee!

Checking in and it turned out we were in the same dorm as Asal and her Aussie mate Paul. Ty was still feeling pretty average so after some terrible chicken for dinner from a rip off KFC style place we had a quiet one and headed for bed. The next morning we joined Paul and Asal for a trip up the teleferico (cable car) on the side of Volcan Pichincha. The cable car is pretty steep and takes you from Quito, which is at 2950m above sea level to 4050m, something I didn't learn until after we visited, which makes me feel better about the fact that I noticed the altitude change. There is an awesome view out over the city from the top. The city is a sprawling metropolis and I was surprised to learn that there are only just under 2 million people living there as it seemed like it would be much more. 

Heading back down I was glad that it wasn't any windier than it was, as the car was swaying a bit in the breeze, making me a bit nervous. Ty and Paul's conversation about what would happen if the cable broke making me feel so much more at ease about it all! haha
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Over the equator
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Smooch!
Back at the bottom of the cable car we decided that we had enough time left to head out to Mitad del Mundo - the middle of the world (ie: the zero point at the equator). We didn't quite realise how far away it was and so were shocked by the taxi's fare quote of $35 deciding we would catch public transport instead as Jesus and Jakoba had told us we could get there for less than $5 return. 

We caught a cab to the closest bus/tram station and hopped on. We knew we had to get to 'Ofelia' - the end of the line and then get on another bus which had 'Mitad del Mundo' written on it. What we didn't realise was that almost all of the buses that go from the Ofelia station have 'Mitad del Mundo' on the back and we very nearly ended up heading in the wrong direction, having to yell at the driver to let us off when we realised our mistake. After another half an hour on the (right) bus we arrived at the centre of the world. As it was a Monday the site was reasonably deserted making it easy for us to take silly equator photos without lots of photo bombers in the background. Ty was really keen on flushing the toilet on both sides of the line but was disappointed to find that there is only one bathroom on the site haha. Paul was determined that the whole clockwise/anticlockwise flushing thing was a myth and that being on one side of the line vs the other wouldn't make a difference so close together so we had a bit of good natured debate about that. We visited the median line in Greenwich, England, so it was kinda cool to be visiting the middle here in Ecuador.

The following morning we had a lazy lie in before wandering around the old town looking at the beautiful buildings and then walked up to the new town to look for a Panama Hat for Tyro, although after a bit more research we discovered they actually come from Cuenca, a town in Southern Ecuador which we are planning on visiting anyway so we will wait until then to buy one. Ecuador was playing Argentina in the football that evening in a World Cup qualifier match so we joined lots of the locals in one of the town squares to watch. Ty thought it was really interesting that the Ecuadorian's don't seem to 'bleed' football like their central/south american counterparts as we didnt see very many taxi's displaying their teams flags or vendors hawking shirts on the street corners which had been everywhere in the days leading up to the Colombia match a couple of weeks before when we were in Cartegena. 

Next stop: Banos
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Concentration face!
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Yay!
 





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