November 28, 2003

0°14'S 78°30'W (Quito, Equador)

At 22km under the equator, I've just crossed over into the southern hemisphere. At 2800 meters (3000 where I'm staying) a flight of stairs will wind you. I've made small day trips out to the surrounding areas, the most interesting of which was up to the equator. A large monument established by a French scientific expedition here marks the equator - sort of. As it turns out, they were off by 200 meters. Hey, easy enough to do, but the recent discovery of 1000 year-old monuments precisely on the equator is causing some discomfort in astrological circles. The ancient monuments also pinpoint solar travel on the solstices and equinoxes. Discovery of precise astrological patterns woven into ancient tapestry is freaking out a few scientists too. The geometric angles in the patterns represent values such as the tilt of the earth precisely. I purchased a very interesting multimedia CD about the ancient monuments from an independent research team here. Contact me if you're interested.

Over at the real equator, a small museum has some cool experiments set up. You can watch draining water swirl in different directions - or not at all - a few meters on either side of the equator, or get your kicks trying to balance an egg on the head of a nail - quite easy to do directly over the equator. If that's not enough for you, you can weigh yourself here too. You weigh about a kilo less here due to centrifugal force.

I've been dealt a bit of a setback here in Quito. I had hoped to buy a motorcycle here for roaming around South America - but that's not to be. As a foreigner, the red tape needed to buy a motorcycle then take it out of the country is formidable. Add to that the hassle at border crossings, and the fact that I'd have virtually no hope of being able to resell it in another country, and I decided to forget the idea. Too bad.

December 6 marks the founding of Quito, and the celebrations during the surrounding week are supposed to be great. While I won't be here to see all of it, I'll catch the first bit tomorrow morning at my first bullfight!

All and all, Quito is a pleasant city with pleasant people and a pleasant climate. I'll be moving on tomorrow.

Posted by dhuska at November 28, 2003 06:01 PM

I am interested in hearing more of your adventures. Also, after reading your epsoide about using a motorcyle how difficult would it be to buy property in Equador

Posted by: Frank Thomas at March 7, 2004 07:07 PM