October 26, 2007
Leigh had high ambitions for the day and took the bus back to Quito at 4:00 AM or something ridiculous like that. I didn't want to leave so early, so I opted to sleep in and grab the next transport out of town. The only stipulation was that the only way I'd be able to leave before nightfall would be to take the milk truck. I jumped in the back of the large pickup truck with about twenty of my best friends and a guy clinging to a huge barrel of milk. The road wasn't very smooth, so everyone held onto everyone else for support as we went around the sharp bends. Every few minutes, we'd stop at someone's house and they'd either buy a bit of milk from the guy with the barrel, or sell whatever milk they had to him. By the time we got to the next town, the jug was almost completely full and was presumably ready to be sold to a large company.
I had to wait a few hours in the scorching midday equatorial sun, but eventually I was able to get a bus all the way back to Quito. The Quilatoa area was beautiful with mountains, pine forests, and little villages dotting the landscape all the way. On the way back to Quito, I even got a nice look at Cotopaxi (5897 meters), the world's highest volcano and the place where some claim is furthest from the center of the Earth (most say its Chimborazo, which at 6310 meters is higher, but further from the equator than Cotopaxi). It was a good experience getting away from the city, even though it was only for a few days.