This past weekend was filled with more adventures and a heart continuously growing in gratitude – it was a delicious (metaphor!) weekend!
On Friday we visited Mitad del Mundo City (Middle of the World) which a small park that has a monument on the equator line, museums (about the indigenous communities of Ecuador, science behind the Equator line etc), souvenir shops and a small petting farm.The Yellow Line is the ‘Equator’, although it’s a few degrees out from the official equator which is located in the nearby mountains nevertheless it makes for a good photo opportunity. Theoretically in the photo below, I had one foot in the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere at the same time, very kewl!
On Saturday we went on a full day train journey which we booked earlier in the week. It was with Tren Ecuador and it went from Quito (beginning in the South – keep this mind as I discuss the South further down) to Machachi, then El Boliche (where we had lunch and visited a small farm) and returned to Quito, we started the journey at 8am and returned at 5.30pm. It was a great day with great company, excellent service, hospitable tour guides. I would recommend it as a fun day out, especially if you love beautiful scenery like I do!
Cost: $55 including lunch (main and dessert), a cheese empañada, a little gift (I got a cute woven llama keyring) and a farm visit (where I rode a horse (lol!), petted some llamas amongst other animals.
Being blessed with the opportunities and money to travel wherever I want to is definitely a huge factor of my life for which I am so, so grateful and especially on days when I feel overwhelmed or down, I do my best to remind myself of everything that I already have and have worked hard to achieve.
The train journey begins in the South of Quito which is less developed than the North of Quito. Visually the south of Quito is characterised by half finished concrete houses, rubbish on the road and sprawling graffiti, it’s often described as ‘poor, ‘dangerous’ and ‘less developed’ but I struggle to only accept that without thinking about the layers that cause that stigma to be attached.
So, as I have mentioned before I live in Cumbayá just outside of Quito which is quite an affulent area (super grateful to live here) but as I’m black and Nigerian and from London (lol, many layers) I often think about the various factors such as race, culture, ethnicity and religion in society and how they interplay and shape us as people living in these complex societies. The South looks like a different world to Cumbayá, literally, but, many of the people who live there are black, Indian, from a lower social economic background so to me, it’s no surprise the labels it is given. Particularly being here, it’s easy to become frustrated by the socio-economic nature of post colonial countries in general especially when I really think about the economic situation of Ecuador from my perspective as a British Nigerian Londoner, also especially when I think about the nuanced discussions I’ve had about race, white privilege, colonisation and all that lovely stuff (:/) But what I’ve realised is that being grateful for what I have, being compassionate towards others, having a posture of understanding rather than judgement is the best repsonse and actually the most productive response to these complex issues. I think that conversation about these topics can be productive in certain contexts but I think, universally, compassion and lack of judgement is freeing for both individuals and actually transcends many ‘social boundaries’. Thats the end of my spiel, but I wanted to share as it has particularly been in my thoughts this past week. Hope it helps you if you’re also thinking about these topics!
Until next time,
From an infinitely expanding grateful heart,