Wednesday, 23 September 2009

In Ecuador, on the equator, on the equinox!

Ewelina and I have been in Quito for a few days now, taking it easy, getting used to the altitude and trying to catch up on our digital chores; going through her photos from Cuba, writing and translating blog posts... and discovering that the internet here is too unreliable for us to easily update our photo album, or hang out on Facebook.

I have also written an entire GPS point blogging app for my phone, from scratch, much to Ewelina's exasperation.

Yesterday we decided it was time to stop this geekery, and went out sightseeing. We climbed up everything we could possibly climb in the Cathedral - the literal high point was at the top of one of the bell towers, when I stood on a tiny ledge at least 10 stories up, with the tower's metal cap at my back and nothing but air between me and the city far below.

I loved that church for not making the experience boringly safe, that was a real thrill. You just can't have experiences like that anymore in Europe or the U.S.

After some well deserved beers in the Cathedral's 3rd level cafe, we headed back into the old town, to explore the convent's downright creepy museum and climb its much more modest (but still lacking guardrails) bell-tower.

This was followed by a fancy meal and an evening of more nerding.

Today's trip was to Mitad del Mundo, a little town and park just North of Quito, dedicated to the equator. We skipped the theme park, instead following my phone's compass North and stumbling across the Inti-Ñan solar museum. There we saw a shrunken head, spiders and snakes in formaldehyde and saw many, many gimmicks related to the equator. We were particularly lucky to be here so close to yesterday's equinox - the solar watches worked from both sides.

And it is just cool to be in Ecuador, on the equator, on the equinox. Or close enough anyway.

It was a fun museum, although we failed to believe some of the gimmicks. The Coriolis effect demonstration in a basin of water was particularly sneaky. Also, my GPS didn't agree were at 0°0'0", and the explanations of the staff for the discrepancy were confused and confusing. So to fully satisfy ourselves, we walked a little further North until my GPS said 0.

Ewelina took pictures of me walking on our "real" equator and we headed back to Quito, hailing our bus from the side of the road like the locals do.

Tomorrow we get up early to go on a tour of part of the Quilotoa loop, organized by our hostel.

Should be fun!

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