Quito Colonial Chatter Mitad del Mes newsletter brings you the latest news and additions to Quito-Colonial website.

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Around Quito

Pico y Placa program - pico for peak and placa for license plate - was installed to ease traffic. Will it work? For awhile maybe. Permanently, as it's now declared - no way.

The good, the bad and the ugly:

> Some will share rides.

> Some will bike.

> Taxis should "fare" better.

> Air quality should improve.

> The trolley - even with one after another - overfills.

> Pickpockets love cramped trolleys.

> There's no capacity limit on public transportation.

Bumper to bumper traffic brought this solution... started because of detours from south tunnel construction sites.

I walk every chance I get.

Great Restaurants

Always on the lookout for great restaurants, I've discovered two more - one on Venezuela and the other a little out of the way that features exceptional fanesca. El Criollo has disfigured theirs. I couldn't finish the last one I ate there.

Come back next newsletter for the exact names and addresses.

Places of Interest

Getting to Mitad del Mundo becomes an adventure all its own. How well you enjoy it once you get there depends on how much you expect and how much of a snob you may or may not be.

I've read derogatory remarks made by tourists who think like a "cheesy" tourist, and I've read raves made by those who appreciated the experience.

Of course, it's touristy at the monument. Isn't it that way all around the globe in landmark places?

For $5 you can check it all out and spend just a bit more to eat. You might try El Karting. You can't beat those prices. Plus, at their little post office you can get your postcard postmarked, "Mitad del Mundo."

About 200 yards away, the equator museum Inti-Nan (Path of the Sun) exhibits hands-on proof that the whiners debate, but the rest of us enjoy.

How to get there on your own --

Hop on a metro bus going north from Colonial Quito or from La Mariscal. Ask the bus driver to tell you when and where to change to the Mitad del Mundo bus. He'll probably direct you to stay on all the way to Ofelia Transfer Station.

Then you can hop on the Mitad del Mundo bus or taxi from there. A taxi from the colonial center will cost upwards from $12, depending on how heavy the traffic is... the meter keeps running.

If you prefer, the Mitad del Mundo bus can be boarded from anywhere along Avenida Americas. You can walk up easily from the colonial center or La Mariscal... or get the trolley, get off at the Santa Clara stop and browse the shops as you go up Santa Clara to Avenida Americas.

The Mitad del Mundo bus drops you off at the roundabout - a very short distance from the entrance where you pay $2, go in and enjoy. 6PM is closing time. Some say to just see it once. I don't listen. I happen to like the simple entertainment on weekends.

After all, it is a historic site marking where the hemispheres unite, even though the accurate equator sits a few yards away. Go enjoy that too, if you so desire.

Pictures straddling the line impress others from either or both sites.