We arrived in Quito in the late afternoon having come from the Galapagos Islands via Guayaquil. We had been recommended somewhere to stay by the Hell's Angels on the Galapagos. They mentioned it was reasonably priced, in a safe area and had Wi-Fi. Upon landing we hopped in a taxi and headed for the hostel. On arrival we were told the price was twice what we were expecting, they had charged the Hell's Angels per person even though they all had double rooms. After a short while negotiating we got the price we expected and happily moved in to what was a very nice room for a couple of nights. The advantage of the Wi-Fi was that we were able to use Skype to contact American Airlines as the issues with our flights had still not been resolved. We tried AA as soon as we arrived and got the same stone wall response that although the change was their fault we had to pay nearly $300 each. I decided to escalate the matter to a superior manager but due to a hurricane watch where the offices were I had to wait until the next day to call. With the day escaping us we decided to head out and try and find a reasonable eatery. We took a taxi to a large shopping mall where we wandered around for a while without finding anything that peaked our fancy. We left the mall and over the road we saw a self styled 'English' pub, without any other options we decided to give it a go and were pleasantly surprised. Inside they were showing one of the local football teams competing in the South American version of the champions league. The menu was a mix of local dishes and a variety of international dishes, no bangers and mash or fish and chips though. We headed back to our hostel for a good sleep after the previous few exhausting days. Whilst the room was really nice it was situated right next to reception, all night we could hear the night security guard and receptionist chatting away so we didn't quite get the rest we expected. There was an advantage to waking up early the next day; it was another opportunity to speak to American Airlines. This time the superior manager again was not available so I took her email address instead and sent her a blow by blow account of all the problems we had encountered. After firing of my email we decided that we would head for the equator. We wandered down to the main road in and out of Quito and found a lovely little cafe for a late breakfast/early lunch. After our brunch we boarded a bus which took us out past the airport to a large bus terminal where we had to change buses. The entire journey to the equator complex took little over an hour and was relatively stress free. We walked in to the complex where we bought tickets for standard entry and for a museum. We walked through the complex until we came across the tower that pointed out the compass points and painted below it was the line of the equator. After a few snaps and a wander around the grounds we entered the tower which housed the museum. The museum was fairly interesting but was dedicated more to Ecuadorian life and the equator itself. The tower did have an impressive lookout platform where you could see far in to the surrounding mountains. After our time at the equator we headed for a museum which was based on the real equator. The equator line we had been looking at is about 200m of the correct line but considering it was pinpointed by the French some 200years ago it is rather impressive how close they got. Even more impressive is that fact the people living in the Quito area had been aware for several more hundred years that they were living at the centre of the earth due to their interest in celestial patterns, indeed Quito itself translates as centre of the earth. The real equator had been pinpointed using GPS technology in the early 1990's. On this line was a much more quirky museum that mixed information about Ecuadorian animals and indigenous people with fun experiments designed to show the effects of the equator. The first exhibition was based around the animals which can be found in Ecuador, unfortunately for me it included a rather large Boa Constrictor in formaldehyde. We were then taught about the process and reasons for the traditional shrunken heads. While a rather disgusting process it was a great honour to be bestowed on someone. After this exhibition we were taken in to a traditional house built by a rather violent indigenous tribe, inside were examples of the weaponry they use including their hunting spear and their much shorter dagger type implement for close combat with other tribes. Following on from this building we were taken to a house where Ecuador's former oldest woman lived, inside where some of her personal artefacts as well as 3 or 4 Guinea Pigs which I imagine where soon for the slaughter as Guinea Pigs are cooked on a spit as the national dish. We were then taken to two sundials that sat directly on the equator. The first sundial was interesting as during the equinox it would have no shadow whatsoever as the sun would be directly above it. The second dial was more similar to a clock showing accurately the time of day, it was however off time by my watch. The guide explained that the sundial was more accurate (despite my protesting that mine was set to GMT) as it took in to account the fact that days are just shy of 24hours, hence our need for leap years. After this the tour became a little more quirky, starting with the experiment of trying to balance an egg on the head of the nail. The tour guide went up first and completed the task successfully; with no hesitation I stepped up and balanced the egg too. Sue was next to go and whilst successful her egg didn't balance long enough for her to have a photo taken with it. Still it counted and we were both given a certificate to commemorate our lives most significant achievement. It is possible to perform this experiment anywhere in the world but it is made easier at the equator as the yolk sits directly in the bottom of the egg. After this little bit of fun our guide decided to reinforce the belief that water travels a different way down the plug hole depending on which hemisphere you are in. With a few leaves in the water to show the direction of flow she first took the sink to the southern hemisphere where it circled in one direction and then to the northern hemisphere where is circled in the other. Directly on the equator line the water dropped straight down the plug hole. After this experiment the tour came to a close at the obligatory souvenir stool where we witnessed a man weaving material in a traditional method. Sue bought herself a bag and a woolly hat in preparation for the cooler whether we would experience later in South America. After the museum we traced our steps back to our hostel where we checked for a response to the email - nothing! That evening we headed in to the old town of Quito where we grabbed sa simple dinner before heading back home. The next day we were heading for Bańos.