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Quito

Middle of the world.

semi-overcast

So Quito, capital of Ecuador. Quite a nice place, lots of old buildings- in fact pretty much all the buildings in the old town are old. So its quite nice to wander round, lots of churches and museums.

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One church had some huge gothic towers which you could climb, involving climbing planks through the roof and lots of rickety ladders- but the view was amazing.

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We also visited some wierd convent with loads of pictures of Jesus getting killed and having sheep drink his blood. Bit weird. The problem with the old town is that everything shuts at 7ish. Everything. So no city nightlife that you might expect from a capital city. Apparently the new town is a lot more happening, but its also a lot more dangerous, so weve only been in the daytime.
One thing we did do was visit the Mital del Mundo, or middle of the world- where theres a huge monument marking the middle of the world, and a big line marking the equator. The funny thing is that they went to all the effort of making all this stuff without measuring it up properly, and the actual equator (marked with GPS) is 200 meters down the road. It was still nice to take pictures though, and the monument is supposed to mark the site of where some french blokes came to map out the entire world, so it was good anyway.

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However, a little way down the road on the site of the real equator is this awesome museum with shrunken heads and ethnology displays-

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Hillariously hundreds of years ago, the Incas managed to work out the accurate site of the equator, and built a temple on it- but scientists didnt believe them and went and built their monuments in the wrong place. Whos laughing now eh? At the museum there were also tons of fun experiments you can do on the equator, including balancing an egg on a nail (you get a certificate if you can do this- we have two), not being able to balance properly, and strength tests (you are much weaker on the line). Apparently this all has something to do with coriolis effect that pushes the gravitational force in and down. Or something like that.

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We also got to watch water going clockwise down the drain in the southern hemisphere, anticlockwise in the northern, and straight down on the equator. Apparently scientists reckon that this is a load of crap, but we saw it happen so I don´t believe them.

Its been nice to wander round the city and relax for a few days. Although we keep getting disturbed in the night by fights errupting from the bar below our hostel. One night it was particularly bad and the fragrant smell of mace wafted in to our room from the police trying to get things under control, was probably our own fault for rubber necking out the window. The police don´t take no shit here!

Posted by St Martins 14:21 Archived in Ecuador Tagged tourist_sites

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