A journey to Middle Earth

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September 3rd 2018
Published: September 3rd 2018
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After a leisurely start, I felt like my body clock was at last synchronised with the local time zone. The headache -altitude? Jet lag? Pisco sours? - had gone too.

Our adventure today was to the Mitad dal Mundo - the equator, only a 35min drive from our hotel. The drivers here are good, no dramas like you find in Asia or France! Our first stop was the Intinan Museum which was far more interactive than most museums. We saw a range of sun gods, including one who looks like Yoda and learnt about some of the local tribes and customs. Then we got to the equator and played games - walking a straight line (fail), arm wrestling the young female guide (fail), balancing an egg on a nail head - success and I have the certificate to prove it. and of course the water going straight down a drain. The amazing thing is, you only need to move a metre away from the equator line and things return to normal.

Next we headed up to Pululahua volcano (3,300m -yes I will mention altitude a lot, it is a talking point here!). The crater is 9km in circumference and there is a sizeable farming community living in it.We didn’t circumnavigate it or walk down to the crater. Unfortunately there was not enough time. The whole countryside is really dry and quite barren although people seem to eke out a living somehow. The currency is the US dollar but things are cheap - beautiful shawls for $10, postcards 4 for $1. Food and drink, however, not so much. More like New Zealand prices.

Final stop of the tour was the Mitad dal Mundo centre itself, the highest point on the equator. There were various interesting little museums about the equator, Ecuador and its people. The main attraction is the tower which we climbed by elevator and looked out over the world.

Our driver dropped us at the gondola (or TeleferiQo) back in Quito. It rises about 800m over a 2.2km so we were at 3,945m at the top. The view showed how huge and sprawling the city is and we could see more volcanoes in the distance, some with snow on top. After a wander around, a hot chocolate and some sort of weird fig and cheese treat we descended and got a taxi home to recharge before dinner.

Tomorrow we explore the city. For now, dinner - maybe guinea pig....

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4th September 2018

I have always imagined the equator everywhere would be like Equatorial Africa! How incredibly different! Looks amazing! I couldn’t eat the Guinea pig tho!!

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