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Published: November 2nd 2019
Ok. My regular readers will know that I usually go for catchy titles, usually alliteration if possible. You'll also know that not many words start with Q. If you know that the Capitol of Ecuador is phonetically 'key-too', and that it sits right on latitude 00.00.00, and the world is definitely not flat, (check the physics) then you'll get the gist. But more of that later if you're still awake. Arrived 2 nights ago after tiring 22 hours of travelling. Spent yesterday on a wee trek through cloud forest just north of equator. Our hotel is just inside Southern Hemisphere. Saw literally about a dozen different species of hummingbirds, tanagers, kingfisher, vulture, but alas no Toucan (though heard it). Saw Armadillo scrapes but no Armadillo as they're nocturnal, so sod that for a game of coconuts. Our Guide, Luis, was a mine of information and what he didn't know about the local flora and fauna wasn't worth knowing. He also gave me a valuable local insight into Ecuadorian climate, history, politics, religions, social services, health services, cultures, etc, much of which differed considerably from the travel guidebooks and limited press we can access in the uk. Thankfully all the riots and
civil unrest appears to have settled, although my impression from Luis is that it is a very fragile peace with the deep seated cultural divisions behind it, going to be extremely difficult to manage. And I thought I'd left all that back at home! Today we took a guided walk of the old city, which is beautiful in a quant, Latin American sort of way. In many ways similar to other cities we have seen in Peru, but also very unique. It is an enormous ribbon of urbanisation, some 50k long north-south but only 5k east-west. Sitting between several active volcanoes (the last of which erupted only 20 years ago, it is the most volcanically threatened city on earth. And also the highest capital city on earth, if you don't count Bolivia's La Paz as a capital (some claim that to be Sucre). Anyway, we then visited the equator 'museum' where they do the wee tourist experiments and explain the science Now I pride myself on knowing a wee bit about physics, planetary rotations, inclinations, orbits, Gravity, centrifugal forces and all that sort of stuff, and that the earth is not perfectly round but squashed a bit like a burger.
So the distance from the core to surface is greatest at the equator. So if I'd thought more about it I'd have realised that Gravity was going to be bit less here than, say, Portmahomack, or the poles, but I was genuinely surprised to learn it was as much as 1 kg lighter on the line. So give up all those useless fad diets, and come on down....this one really works. Of course you have to stay here or it all piles back on...and who knows, maybe not even in the same place! Maybe lose 1kg off your bum and when you go home it ends up on your nose. But an even greater eye opener (might not be able to open my eyes with a 1 kg honk underneath them), was the loss of energy you experience literally right on the line. Standing only 1mtr to either north or south, holding your arms in front of you with hands clenched, it took all the strength of someone else's hand / arm to push it downwards. Now, stand exactly on the line and it could be done with just two fingers! I wouldn't have believed just a few feet could
have made that much difference. Incredible. I won't sleep tonight trying to work out the physics of that one. If it's power of suggestion then it's very well done. I'll need to look that one up later! Meeting our fellow travellers tonight to discuss itinerary for next few days. Looks like only 11 of us so should be good. Will go out for a meal in town with them tonight and maybe have a wine or two. Or a pisco sour. So will maybe sleep after all. Hasta Luego
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