nine months of the year travelling through the interior is impossible, torrential rains flooding
the jungles and swelling the numerous rivers.
A railroad to connect Quito with the Colombian border was started once, but was abandoned.
walked in our own shadows at midday, the climate was delightfully cool and bracing and the
nights even cold.
During the second day's journey from the capital north we crossed the line. A French sci-
entist once marked the equator with a monument and a stone slab with an inscription, but it
was destroyed and part of it was taken away by a rich man and is now lying far away as a
souvenir on his estate. Today nothing marks the equator, but thanks to my maps I was able,
more or less, to realise when we stepped over into the northern hemisphere.
had covered over 4,500 miles, and when I had a smoke that evening, sitting there watching
the horses enjoy their fodder, my memory wandered back along the long and difficult trail.
The cigarette had gone out long before I realised it, and when the last daylight faded away
behind the Cayambe that towered up into the sky quite near us, and the moon began to give
the mountain a ghostly appearance with the cold bluish light that was reflected off the virgin
snows above, I wrapped myself up in my blankets, proud and well satisfied.
Our trail towards the Colombian border lay past the beautiful lagoon of San Pablo where
we met many drunken Indians who were coming away from a fiesta. They were all wearing
large white hats, trousers of the same colour, and red ponchos, and came along, shouting,
laughing, and fighting, but none molested us.
A very steep and seemingly interminable trail took us from the cool regions deep down
into the hot Chota valley. Down here we were wedged in a canyon between high mountains.
The heat there was terrific, and swarms of mosquitoes attacked us. A few miserable negroes
live down there, their naked children playing in the dust where a few pigs, resembling starved
dogs, are basking.
Fortunately we were soon on the other side of the river, and again started a long uphill
climbuntilwereachedthe paramo ,asthecold,damphighregionsarecalled.Here,asinsome
parts of Bolivia, wild cattle exist, and woe to the traveller who is unfortunate enough to meet
My only experience of wild cattle was in Bolivia, where an Indian hailed me from the top
of a tree. A herd of these beasts had attacked him, and he had been lucky to have been able to