More Quito

Today we stood on the equator. Out first stop was the middle of the world monument which was built by the French to celebrate the French and English expedition to prove the world was round and the equator was the center. Once proving it they named the land Ecuador meaning equal. When the country gained independence the kept the name.

A few miles down the road we went to the equator museum where we participated in demonstrations showing the effects of being in the north,south or exactly on the equator. On the equator your shadow diapers at the equinox, other wise it is either east or west of your body, depending on the season. The indigenous population used a sundial to tell them when to plant and when to harvest. The days on the equator are always the same length, 12 hours daylight and 12 night, there is no real season change except for wet and dry, you can always see the Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt, and the southern cross. We witness the true corollas effect with water and a drain, it actually changed by moving to the little sink a few feet away from the equator. We tried balancing eggs on a nail, only two people were able to successfully balance them. While trying to do the balance test typically given given by police to drunks we learned that your inner ear cannot compensate while on the equator. It was amazing that the effects of the equator can be felt a foot off of 00*.( bulletin, I ate breakfast with a doubter and he thinks it was all hokey)

It should be obvious by now that the person leading this tour loves,excellent food, good drinks and entertainment. Every place we go for a meal it is as if he were inviting you into his private home to serve you the best possible food. He loves a show of great ambience also. Lunch today was at a restaurant owned by two artists in an exclusive development on the edge off an old volcanic crater. Quito is surrounded by eleven volcanos. The dessert was poached (?) figs. This is second time we have had them and they could easily become a favorite.

Next stop, a cable car ride to the top of the city. The view was fantastic but the clouds hung so low that my pictures all look like I was stuck in a wad of white cotton candy.

Dinner on our own tonight with our new best friends Carol and Jim. Nothing fancy, just individual pizzas and wine in the hotel deli.

We watched the Michigan, Ohio state basketball game with Spanish commentators.


Our adventure the morning took us to the city center where we visited churches,all Catholic, and all dripping in fabulous art and gold leaf. Maggie is constantly reminding me about the greed of the church as well as the harsh ways they used to convert the natives to Catholicism. Ecuador at one time made Catholicism a requirement for citizenship.

Continuing on a theme we ate at another fabulous restaurant with figs for dessert
Tonight we have a festive city tour, a dinner with opera singer as the entertainment

Thursday we. Leave for the Galapagos where there will be no Internet connection. I will catch up on my seven hour lay over in Miami.



We left Cusco and had a long arduous journey to Quito. When we finally got through customs and loaded the bus we were all a little short on patiences. We still had a two hour journey to north of Quito which just seemed like a bridge too far. We finally made it to Hosteria Pinsaqui, an old hacienda that had been in the owner family for nearly three hundred years. It was Simon Bolivars favorite stop when travelling between Ecudor and Columbia. The room doors were all original with the old heavy brass keys. Each room had a wood stove for heat. The ambiance was restorative. Dinner was served in the large original dining hall. After dinner we returned to the room and surprise our wood stove had a fire and the bed had shot water bottle dressed in a little terry cloth robe. Bed was to inviting to resist.

In the morning we began the drive south back to Quito. Out first stop was a rose farm where we learned a out the production of roses. We visited the green houses that are planted with row after row of roses organised by color. The help begins each morning by cutting the roses that have tight buds. Unacceptable roses are put in a container and dumped in the trash. The trash pile was enough to make me weep, beautiful roses that just didn’t,t meet the standards set by the market. Cut roses are wrapped and moved by conveyor to be washed in soap, sorted again, packaged and then cut to the proper length. (The Russian market prefers an 18 inch while the US market looks for a 12 inch stem.) This farm ships 80,000 roses a day to Russia, US and Europe. All these roses are bred for looks and not fragrance.

Our next stop was the Otavalo Market, one of the largest indigenous markets in the world. Crafts, clothing, fresh foods and home goods.

Lunch was at a cultural center. Native soups, breads, chicken and Guiena pig were on the menu. One pass at a Guiena pig is enough for me. There was a local band and children dancers who entertained us.

We arrived at the hotel at about 630 and were off to another native dinner and more music.