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Published: March 31st 2011
The cloud city
Because of Quito´s elevation, it is often under heavy cloud cover.
Hello blog readers.
Quito was quite the contrast to the hot and humid rainforest! Situated a mile and a half above sea level in the Andean mountains, Quito´s climate can be quite gloomy and damp. Quito did make a nice stop to get our clothes cleaned though, because they sported a sweaty and cheesy smell due to fact that they had been damp for more than a month! There was also some fine dining to be had as well.
The Basilica in the old town was built over a century ago and we climbed right to the top of the bell tower to get an amazing view over the city of 1.7 million inhabitants. It was a fun climb too, no safety anywhere, as the metal steps spiralled upwards, with the odd step missing here and there. There were even a few ladders that hung on the outside of the building a hundred feet up in the air - it was great!
Most of the group from the rainforest were in Quito too so we had a farewell supper, a couple of drinks and said our goodbyes.
On the equinox we decided to go to the equator, which is just
Local kids (Quiteños)
These kids insisted that we had our photo taken together.
15km north of the Ecuadorian capital. There was a lot of music and festivities going on with many dancers from all over the country dressed in traditional clothing. Interesting though, because of the timing, we arrived at the equator in the summer but then crossed to the northern hemisphere to winter time, waited a bit until it changed to spring in the north, then took a few steps to the south to enter the autumn. So it is actually possible to experience all four seasons in a day, even though the temperature hovered at a steady 15 degrees or so the whole day (the equator in this part of the world is 2800m above sea level - hence the frigid temperature). However, the equator monument is in the wrong place, it's about 0.002 of a degree too far south! So we marched a few yards to the north in the hope of stumbling upon said line - and there it was, a monument and museum on the so-called 'real' equator! We had a quick look at the museum and watched the silly experiments that show you how the water in a sink apparently drains clockwise in the southern hemisphere and
Climbing the Basilica
Theresa braves the steps...
anticlockwise in the north (the coriolis affect). Which really it doesn´t by the way! Bigger things have a tendancy to do so though, things like weather systems. Cyclones in Australia always spin clockwise and the twisters that ravage Kansas and send Dorothy to the see the wizard twirl the other way. As entertaining as these experiments were, we were still not on the real equator, so we set off with Eric (our trusty companion) to search for the true, genuine, bona-fide divider of the hemispheres! Armed with a GPS, we searched for the real latitude 00°00'00"... Believe it or not, the real equator was on the edge of the highway with the white line of the road actually marking the middle of the world... Content with our findings, we headed back to the bottom half of the globe, where strangely, the bananas seem to curve clockwise?!
A few days later we crossed the equator again (twice) but this time it was on a boat, cruising comfortably between some of the Galapagos Islands in balmy weather.............!
The hemispherically challenged individuals - Dave and Theresa.
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