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.