Day 19: Crossing Boundaries
Day 19 and we wished Otavalo, Acoma, and our new friends at APAK a bittersweet goodbye. Next time we sleep we will be in Puembo.
First stop: Condor Park.
Everyone was psyched to see the condors and raptors. We pulled up to the gates and some people could see glimpses of the birds in the tree tops peaking above the fence… but Condor Park is closed on Wednesdays, so we got back in the bus and continued on our way.
Next we got hot chocolate and bizcocho at a prime spot down the road in Cayambe. It was a nice chance to slow down and enjoy not being on the road. The hot chocolate was rich and the bizcocho (dipped in dulce de lèche) was crisp, sweet, buttery perfection.
After that we visited THE ACTUAL EQUATOR LINE (pic above) and jumped between Northern and Southern Hemispheres while getting a lecture on the scientifically supported idea that we should view the world geocentrically and tbh sideways. Learn more at quitsato.org it’s a very compelling read. We also gleaned that the people of the Quitu-Cara culture many many years ago predicted this equatorial line correctly using only the stars and people are still finding ruins marking the way. This line was found to be correct in 2005 when GPS was used to accurately find the equator. Amazingly the Quitu-Cara line is more accurate than the one calculated years later in 1736 by the French Geodesic Mission.
Across the road we headed to Balcón 2 Hemisferios for lunch and ate wonderful food by a very talented chef. Dessert was served: a fluffy mousse followed by a visit to a fluffy sheep! We were all maybe a little too amazed by him and he was definitely spooked by all of us, but it was magical. Too bad we know he was being saved for the chef’s dad’s birthday dinner later this week ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The rest of the afternoon was a long ride to Puembo during which most slept- I followed a rainbow. Did you know you can only see a rainbow when facing away from the sun ?? True fact. And I tested it a lot on that long ride.
Toward arrival time we found ourselves on a sunlit mountain highway with cool wind in our hair and the smell of Cuy rising up through the air, when up ahead in the distance, we saw the town of Puembo. Our heads heavy, our sights dim, we had to stop for the night.
There they stood in the doorway, offering us jugo or soda, we were thinking to ourselves this could be heaven or this could be Acoma. Then they took our passports and they showed us the way. There were voices down the corridor, thought I heard them say
Welcome to the Rincón de Puembo
such a lovely place