Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Journey to the center of the Earth!

After leaving the beautiful Laguna de Quilotoa we headed to Quito, Ecuador´s capital. It is less beautiful and way more shady. Everyone we spoke to before heading to Quito told us a story about how they or someone in their hostel got robbed. We almost got robbed but couldn´t understand what the guy was saying in Spanish so I just responded with a ¨No Gracias Amigo¨and we kept on walking. He walked along side us for a minute but I just kept telling him ¨No comprende and No Gracias Amigo¨and he finally stopped following us. Hopefully he wasn´t threatning our lives in Spanish. I guess it paid not to speak the language for once.

We mainly went there so we could see the Equator, or Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World).
The Equator is about an hour outside of Quito by bus. We first went to the sight of where the French originally measured the Equator in 1736. They actually were about 200 meters off. We paid three dollars to enter this touristy village full of shops and food stands. There is also a large monument erected there which is impressive, except for the fact that its in the wrong place.

We then walked out the gate and 30 seconds up the road to another Equatoral theme park where the real Equator, as measured by US Military GPS, lies. If you get a chance to visit, skip the first park and come straight here. Well actually go to both, its only $3. But the outdoor museum-like area where the real Equator lies was actually fun and informative.

There is only so much you can say about an imiginary line in the ground so they also spend time telling you about the Ecuadorian Amazon and some of the more unique tribes that still live there today. The first was the Wuaorani tribe which has very little contact with the outside world and all walk around naked. The men actually wear a string around their waist to keep it from flopping around.

We also learned about a tribe that shrinks the heads of their enemies when they kill them, but also of their chiefs when they die. They do this to their chiefs because they believe the head retains the persons knowledge. They shrink their enemies heads and display them on sticks as a warning to other enemies. I always thought this was some sort of gimick but they explained how they do it. They remove the skull from the head but leave all the cartiledge in the nose and ears to retain their shape. They then boil it in a pot with 30 different herbs that are found in the jungle and only known to this tribe. Click on the pic below and notice the crazy amount of detail the shrunken heads retain.

Some fun facts we learned about the Equator:
  • Towns along the Equator experience a constant 12 hour day and night all year long

  • You weigh slightly less on the Equator (only 3% or so)

  • Water drains staight down on the Equator whereas it drains counterclockwise in the North and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere (or the other way around, can´t remember)

  • Its difficult to walk in a straight line with your eyes closed and arms held out with your thumbs pointing upwards on the Equator (although I think this is difficult most anywhere)

  • I once owned the biggest guns in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere

Our next stop is the long awaited and much anticipated country of COLOMBIA!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Incredible!! You truly are the dancing king and queen of the world!!! I still want to come and play!! I don't mind settling for princess status..So you can never return so I have time to save the money :) x x x x x x