Quito, Ecuador

15-19 July

4 nights in Quito. We met up with our friends (Rob’s old housemate and her husband) Serena and John. They’ve been travelling well over a year (read about their travels and work here at Five Point Five), and it was really lovely to catch up with them!

Photos here, or keep reading!

Together with Serena and John, we visited the Equator. There are 2 parks dedicated to the equator 40mins out of Quito. One is on the equator and the other is incorrect – it marks the equator 200m south of where it really is. The incorrect equator (affectionately known to us as the ‘fakequator’ costs 6 USD to enter and climb the tower which has an awkward museum display with plenty of papier mâché. We managed to find a cheap lunch menu there, but the whole park is rather tacky and bland. They even marked the fakequator with a YELLOW line. This is incorrect. Everyone knows the equator is really red.

The Fakequator. This is about 200m south of the true location.

After this we exited the park and walked about 100m to the north to find the newer, much more interesting park for the equator (the REAL equator!) Inti-Nan. Entry was 4 USD and included an excellent tour. They have some interesting and respectful displays about the indigenous people, and lots of fun things to try out on the actual equator itself. Some may be fake ‘phenomena’ but it was fun nonetheless. E.g. Balancing an egg on a nail is meant to be easier on the equator. Resisting someone pushing your arms down is meant to be harder on the equator. Maybe… The water swirling trick looked legitimate (water swirling down a drain opposite directions either side of the equator) but may not have been. We did handstands over the equator. Fun!

Handstands on the equator

I’d absolutely recommend the 2nd equator park to anyone. You could easily avoid the tacky original park!

Other things we did in Quito:
– Wander around the old town
– Had a hard time finding good in ye old town / San Blas area after dark! Very limited and well hidden options. La Mariscal area had more options, and is a bit touristy but decent.
– Took the cable car up to our highest altitude at this point in the trip: 4000m above sea level, about 1000m above the city. It was COLD and I found walking even a short distance to be hard! The view was stunning.

Quito from 4000m above sea level

– I had a stomach bug which Dr Dad though may have been giardia – this marred Quito for me a bit as I needed to be near a loo at all times! I got some over the counter antibiotics (yay South American lax prescription rules!) and started to get on the mend
– Spent ages in the post office packaging and sending my 7kg package (mostly fabric) home. Cost nearly $200 USD but it’ll be worth it! Went through a whole roll of masking tape at the request of the post office worker. Very secure package!

That’s about it for Quito! I was more charmed by Otavalo but Quito would have been great had I not been ill. It was a shame to be leaving Ecuador after only 5 nights but we managed to cram in a fair bit, and it was great catching up with Serena and John! Next up… flight to Lima, Peru!

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