ECUADOR—THE MIDDLE OF THE WORLD


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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center
January 26th 2012
Published: January 27th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Our first and only time in Ecuador was in 1973 when Kevin and I were on our honeymoon. Our flight stopped in Quito en route to Buenos Aires, so we really haven’t seen much of this small country. After crossing the equator, for which Ecuador is named, we arrived in Manta on a rainy Sunday morning. Regent planned an overnight excursion to Quito for all of the “rounders.” Because of the rain and fog, the airport was closed in the small port city. But after several hours wait, we were able to board our charter flight to the capitol city perched high in the Andes Mountains. At 9300' elevation, Quito is surrounded by some very active volcanoes and is located in a lush valley. The city, which runs the length of the valley, is 35 miles long and about 4 miles wide. On the way to the hotel I noticed that there was a big bottle of oxygen on our bus. Many people get altitude sickness here. We certainly could feel the effects of this elevation in a city more than a mile high. Walking up a couple flights of stairs became a major effort. Because of the large number of
EQUATOR CROSSING PARTYEQUATOR CROSSING PARTYEQUATOR CROSSING PARTY

Messy, but fun!
Asian immigrants, both Ecuador and Peru are known for their good Chinese restaurants. So that is what we did for lunch…”Chifa.”

That night we went to the San Francisco Monastery to tour the choir and museum at the largest religious complex in South America. The old colonial town is dotted with churches. In just one church there is over four tons of gold decoration. Just imagine the amount of gold the Conquistadors must have shipped back to Spain. Cocktails were served in the open air courtyard before we toured the museum which has the most important collection of religious art in Latin America. The theme of most of the art work focuses on the bloodier aspects of Christ's passion like the crown of thorns, lashing and stigmata.

A very fancy dinner was served in the refectory accompanied by the lovely music of a small ensemble.

The next day we went to the Middle of the World. In 1736 a group of French scientists came to Ecuador and spent nine years scientifically verifying the roundness of the Earth. In doing so they had to establish the exact location of the equator which divides the earth into Northern and Southern Hemispheres. This was all done with very basic equipment. After all they didn’t have a GPS to tell them to turn left or right. It was only since the invention of the Global Positioning System that they learned the true Equatorial Line is located 1000’ south of where the scientists originally marked the spot. We were shown the Coriolis Effects where south of the equator water draining out of a sink will swirl clockwise and the opposite occurs on the north side of the line due to the rotation of the earth. It is amazing since the line is only several inches wide. In the 1990s a sacred indigenous site was discovered where “… one end of the wall lies directly on the equatorial line, another line creates a 23.5 degree angle to the equator, the same degree as the Earth’s axis, and two others point to the sun’s rise on the solstice in December and towards the sun’s set on the solstice in June, indicating that the indigenous people had incredible equatorial and solar calculations.” Another interesting thing about standing directly on the line is that you weigh about 2lbs less.

After everyone bought the Panama
CELE & STUARTCELE & STUARTCELE & STUART

Dining at the beautiful monastery.
hats which are really from Ecuador, we went to the airport and flew to Guayaquil to rejoin the Mariner. We were greeted at the ship by the band and ship’s staff and crew clapping and waving to us. It is always nice to be welcomed home so warmly! Guayaquil is located on the Guayus River--about a four hour cruise from the ocean. As we left Guayaquil and were cruising down the river we encountered swarms of teensy little bugs that attached themselves to our legs. We jumped in the pool to get rid of the critters. Fortunately they weren't mosquitoes but they caused lots of itching. Now we are headed to the desert-like ports of coastal Peru.


Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


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 COURTYARD OF THE MONASTERY COURTYARD OF THE MONASTERY
COURTYARD OF THE MONASTERY

Lovely place for a cocktail party.
MONASTERY BANQUETMONASTERY BANQUET
MONASTERY BANQUET

All the "Rounders" were feted.
SUSAN & DAVIDSUSAN & DAVID
SUSAN & DAVID

Off on tour.
GUINEA PIGSGUINEA PIGS
GUINEA PIGS

Not pets, but a South American delicacy.
TV CHEF ANDREW ZIMMERNTV CHEF ANDREW ZIMMERN
TV CHEF ANDREW ZIMMERN

Enjoying the local cuisine
CORIOLIS EFFECT WORKINGCORIOLIS EFFECT WORKING
CORIOLIS EFFECT WORKING

Round and round upside down.
AL FRESCO DINING AT SUNSETAL FRESCO DINING AT SUNSET
AL FRESCO DINING AT SUNSET

Pacific Ocean view from La Veranda


27th January 2012

looks like fun!
hello from Carmel. We are really enjoying the fabulous weather in our area and would have been sad to miss it. This is what we expected when we moved here and it has been infrequent. Lots of parties and celebrations this past week as my bff Ann and I share the same birthday. It was her 70th so many bottles of wine and champagne were enjoyed. She had asked me what I had done on my 70th and it brought back wonderful memories of being on the World Cruise 2 years ago and eating in Prime 7 with you and the Chipmans and Tweedie and Mac. I would really enjoy lobster and filet right now. I was delighted to run into the Griggs at Safeway yesterday and met Sydney. What a beautiful baby and Catherine and Ken look so happy. If you buy anything for the baby, buy it a little large. Her parents say she is growing up fast. Such a happy baby,,,,,one that you just want to pinch the cheeks! We have been doing lots of bridge and decided to go to Walnut Creek today for a 2 day workshop with a bridge pro. After the ATT we will go to a tournament in Santa Clara to try out our new knowledge. Brintons closed sunday without any notice..Pierre Deux on Ocean, several in the Crossroads, a bike shop in monterey,,,,justins i think..actually it was difficult to find a good restaurant or two for our guests during the ATT week.Maybe i will have to cook! Cibo in Carmel is the new fav of our friends...really tasty. I am hosting a party for girls night out to see Joan Rivers at the Sunset on the 10th of Feb. It is during the golf tournament so everyone will be busy. Glad you are having fun and we will keep in touch. love to you both, annette and doug
28th January 2012

Coriolis Effect
So great to read your wonderful description of Quito. Jack and I spent several days there before and after the Galapagos, and just adored the city. Thanks for bringing back a nice memory. Here's to The Middle of the Earth and beyond!
6th March 2012

What a great picture - one leg on either side of the world
That church picture was remarkable and as were the others pictures. You two much be almost overwhelmed by the history of what you are walking/driving/flying through. So beautiful. Carol and i have plans to fly to the British Isles and visit Wales. Scotland, Ireland, and then travel to Paris for a few nights and then return home. We both have traveled Europe but not together. My Great (4 x's) Grandfather was Knighted in Wales and Carol's Grandmothers last name was Corker - we need to visit that part of the world. The Ecuador location 0-0-0- is very funny - what a treat to read your blogs. I'm just now catching up as I rest my weary body this morning, reading your blogs again and responding - Carol almost ended Up in the hospital last week when I returned from Florida and I was a wreck after four days of caring for her. Thank God she's okay. I'm sitting here with the lines tied to the dock, frustrated!! Alan (& Ms. Carol)

Tot: 0.325s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 35; qc: 117; dbt: 0.1109s; 117; m:apollo w:www (50.28.60.10); sld: 2; ; mem: 6.7mb