Monday, 31 December 2012

The middle of the Earth

Today has been a fun day as we took a taxi to the equator (both the right and the wrong one).  It was so interesting...did you know that the Inca's had already determined the correct location of the equator and had built a number of temples along it???  One wonders how the Europeans got it so wrong in the end and even erected a monument and a church along the "equator" line, to stand forever as a testament to their error in calculations...
An aboriginal museum, located on the true equator, was a hands on experience with a guide explaining the customs of some of the aboriginals in the Amazon Basin indigenous to Ecuador.  She took us to the equator line and we performed a number of "experiments" to prove that we were indeed at the equator...this included balancing an egg on a nail (we saw this performed, but could not do it ourselves)...we saw the water test performed, where the water flowed counter-clockwise in the north and clockwise in the south...and we also found that certain things could not be done on the equator (like holding ones arms up against the pressure of someone pulling them down) was fascinating indeed.
The egg, balancing on a nail...only possible apparently at the equator itself
The red line is the true equator
We followed this up with a visit to the famous and foreboding monument....which is some 200 meters away from the actual was not half as interesting...but it was much grander...we visited the church on the site which has the markings of the "equator" running through it...all in all it was fun.

The Monument of the Equator, 200 meters away from the Equator itself!

Perhaps equally remarkable was our first stop...which was an outlook over an old volcano Caldera which is now farmed by the aboriginals.  The view was spectacular...
As to wildlife...we saw some birds, including a humming bird sitting in its nest, two llamas were engaged in the usual springtime activity, and guinea pigs were in captivity and also available as a meal...
Llamas celebrating spring
To all who may be reading this blog...hope that tonight's new years celebrations are fun and that you have a wonderful and prosperous new year.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

High in Quito

We have arrived in Quito is a huge city between mountains...surrounded by volcanoes.   It is very high in altitude...about 2800 metres so acclimatizing has been challenging for me while Paul has had only slight symptoms.  We decided for some unfathomable reason to take a cable car up another 1400 metres to take in the view...
After a stop at the statue of the Virgin Mary I had to take my spinning head back to the hotel for a rest...
Looking forward to a walk around the old Town tomorrow.
The city of Quito is huge, stretching down the length of a high valley
The Virgin Mary overlooks the city with a serpent she has conquered at her feet
The clouds were beautiful, some filling a mountain top to the right

Friday, 28 December 2012

The new adventure begins

After planning for six months, our trip to South America has fianlly started.  Here we are at the airport at 0700 waiting at the gate for a 1000 flight.  This after difficulties at check in (our tickets were not registered or something)...and a long security stop...Miami...