Leaving the jungle far behind we headed to the capital of Ecuador, Quito. The bus had taken us the majority of the day to get there and we were greeted by a sprawling capital. The city was divided into the old colonial and the newer section more designed for tourists, and it was this latter area where our hotel was based. This was also the last city on my booked tour and our group would finally be going their separate ways after 55 days together, or more for some.
Our last outing together was to visit the ´centre of the world´. As a bit of history the First Geodesic Mission arrived in Ecuador in 1736 to scientifically verify the roundness of the Earth. After the visit of the Mission, whose studies lasted nine years, the territory surrounding Quito started being called ¨The Lands of the Equator¨ and referred to the parallel line that divided our planet into its two hemispheres. In 1836, the Ecuadorian geographer, Luis Tufiño, located the landmarks left by the First Mission, and, to commemorate the visit of the scientific expedition, an obelisk ten meters high was erected. Like all good tourists we headed here and duly snapped at the obelisk and the line separating the two hemisphere. However, it is important to note, that the they got the line wrong. Without the use of GPS these guys were some 300 metres off the mark!
So leaving the tourist centre we headed down the road and up another path to where the true centre of the world is as located by GPS!!! Here we got to experiment with the unique phenomenons that can only occur at the equator such as how water spins down centrifuges differently on each side, how an egg can be easily balanced and how impossible it is to walk down a straight line on the equator itself. It was just like being in school again. Awesome fun!
The remaining time in Quito was spent visiting markets and shopping- well presents did have to be bought! We also went out for a farewell dinner and many many drinks. Several sambuccas later it was hard to remember the rest of the night.
I would have spent more time in Quito, but I was talking to my guide Alim, about what to do after. He managed to get an amazing deal for me to visit the Galapagos on a 5 day cruise. It was half the price of any other deals, including all the other last minute bookings. It was also first class. At such an amazing price, it was an opportunity I would never get again. In a whirlwind I quickly booked. The flight was to leave the very next day -eek! But I was actually going to the Galapagos!