Ps This should not still be talking about Cienfuegos in Cuba. I am now in Quito
I arrived here inQuito yesterday afternoon and it was lashing rain and very cold.
Sounds familiar? I was in Quito on my own as Eoin wanted to go to Panama and I decided not to as I did not have the yellow fever vaccination. Its not recommended for anyone over sixty so that rules me out. So here I was in Quito in the cold and rain as I said for 5 days before I had company again. I blessed the little Spanish I had as I navigated the local area. Its quite safe in this area but everybody warned me against going in to the city centre. The sun came out the next so my mood was much lighter, my stomach had stopped complaining ( I still have my rescue kit in my back pack. A packet of Immodium, some sachets of Dioralite, a roll of toilet paper, soap and a clean pair of knickers) although the Altitude sickness had started making me breathless.
I booked a taxi to take me to the most interesting thing in the area. An interpretation centre directly on the equator. It was fascinating. The equator is a very definite fine line. They showed us this by having a basin of water on a stand over the equator. When they pulled the plug the water went straight down. When they moved the basin a few feet to the north the water left the basin in an anticlockwise cirection and when moved a few feet to the south it left in a clockwise direction. They put a few small leaves in the water so you could see the effect clearly. They showed that you are not so strong when standing on the equator by having a couple try this. One person held his hands tightly together and the other tried to pull them apart in the 2 areas. It was impossible to keep your hands together directly on the equator. Cyclones go one way onin one hemisphere and the other in the other hemisphere. There are nevera any cycloned here but they have a lot of volcanos. Its all to do with gravity and energy. We saw a very narrow stone sun dial. The sun was shining on the north side and we were told the sun would shine on the other side for the other half of the year. Enough about the equator. You are also 2 kilos lighter there. There must be some way you could use that.
I watched the world cup final in an Irish Bar in the area( yes I managed to find that quickly enough) and it was surreal as there was a tremendous thunder storm directly overhead for most of the match. The locals seemed very happy that Spain won despite their history. The weather seems to be like this. Bright sunny in the morning then enormous storms in the afternoon and seldon too hot. One sunny day at lunch time l glanced down and there was absolutely no shadow.
When Eoin finally arrived very tired and cranky he told me that Panama was unbearably hot and muggy. The hostel he stayed in had no air con. and he awas tormented with mosquitos so I made a v ery wise decision. We spent the next few dwys walking the whole of the city centre which is an Enesco site. There are 5 or 6 beautiful squares one after the other surrounded by magnificent buildings some now turned into museums and churches to beat the band. The have 5 or 6 churches bvilt in 1500,s that are extraordinary. We have nothing as grand in Ireland and all the interiors have beautiful stained glass windows and are covered with gold leaf. The effect is magnificent not a bit tacky. We climbed up to the top af the Basilica ( thank God for betablockers) and there was a straight road through all the city streets to a statue of the Virgin on a hill. So off we went down that straight road to the hill we were very lucky to do this on some kind of a feast day so the streets were thronged with local people and their children in their bright costumes eating form street vendors and having a ball. I decided not to put the tablets to any more test so we got a taxi to the top and had amazing views of all the encircling mountains and the cloud formations which come and go at the peaks in colours from gleaming white to darkest grey.We came back to Quito after a week on an adventure!!!! holiday in the Galapagos Islands and I am now trying to catch up with this and my emails before we throw everything into our rucksacks and jump into a taxi for the airport this evening destination Lima which I believe is at ground level so I can walk faster and be able to breath at the same time.