We headed out and had breakfast at 7.15am, then set off to see the truck for the first time, which is called Gus. All the Dragoman trucks have names and have been fixed up for their specifications. Dragoman started when a couple of guys worked for a company where they would drive trucks to Africa for them. The company that ran this went bust so these two guys contacted the other company in Africa and said well drive it down for you as they were obviously now out of work. On the way they offered travellers a lift on the way for a small fee and this is how Dragoman begin many years ago. When you look at it obviously was a truck but they have built in a back locker to store your backpack safely, seats inside, couple of tables, a kind of fridge, then the cabbie at the front which is the drivers area only. Inside they also have notice boards for info on where you are going, they have crates of books you can read (the library) and underneath the truck are compartments that hold food, chairs tables etc to set up for breakfast and lunch on the road. After about two and an hour hours we reach the Equator or ´the middle of the earth´ as they call it. We paid a dollar for the honour to stand in the centre where they give an explanation of it all. It was a lot of information to take in, so I have literature on it but in a round about way they said because of where it is placed in comparison to other places that you can visit the equator in the world, this one is special as you have a full view of the key stars which tells of the seasons, time, date, etc unlike the others. Also they explained because of the way the stars and the equator is positioned, the way we look at the world apparently does not make sense. We should be looking at it as if it was on its side, therefore New Zealand would be the top of the world, as you can imagine Donna was very happy about that being a Kiwi! After get photos done we headed to Otavalo, the market town where you can buy all sorts of traditional clothing, jewellery and food. We arrived around midday and dumped our bags into our rooms of the Hostel Valle Del Amanecer which was lovely. The rooms and bathrooms were basic but the courtyard was gorgeous. Lots of plants, flowers and trees, including an avocado tree with about 4 hammocks you could chill out in.We headed to the market, which was at its full capacity being a Saturday and wandered round trying to find things we thought we might need for our trek to Macchu Picchu as we didn't think we had enough warm clothes. I bought an alpaca zip through for me, my Mum and my niece, some woven trousers for me and my niece, that are like wearing pyjama bottoms, so comfortable, and some knitted hats for me and my niece. I also bought a Papaya the size of my head, it was amazing and delicious, took me about 2 days to eat it all!We had some lunch in a place that also had a lovely courtyard and listen to some local musicians then headed back to the hostel for a rest before hitting the supermarket. On the truck you are allocated different jobs to make it fair, which includes emptying the bin, sweeping out the truck, looking after the library, setting up for meals e.g. getting out chairs, table and taking it in turns to make meals when on the road. I was in group 2 with Ian, it was group 1 to shop today but I joined them to get some nibbles then back to the hostel.
After showers and packing our day packs for the jungle tomorrow, we all met up and went for a drink to a really nice small bar) restaurant called Buena Vista on Plaza de Ponchos which was where the market was earlier in the day, looked completely different. Then we went for a meal near to where we had lunch and were served by what looked like a 14year old and an 8 year old which I found disturbing, you do get a lot of children working as such a young age. Andy ordered a fruit salad pizza purely for curiosity reason but apparently was very nice! On the way back there were lots of groups of young men hanging out or driving round but no women which was strange. There were also lots of packs of dogs running about the streets but we didn't see a single cat, very odd.