A visit to the equator line in Ecuador will have you marvelling at the scientific wonders that happen on one side of the line or the other.
A visit to the equator line in Ecuador will have you marvelling at the scientific wonders that happen on one side of the line or the other. Rae Wilson

Weird science on the equator line

YOU put your left foot in, you put your right foot in. And you are now standing with one foot either side of the equator.

A visit to Ecuador's equator line is a must do during a visit to Quito, the nation's capital which sits about 2850m above sea level.

There is a little museum which sits right on the line and performs awesome experiments to prove it.

I now know the Simpsons episode about toilets flushing opposite ways in different hemispheres was spot on.

My guide first put a portable sink on the equator line and I watched the water go straight down the hole into the bucket.

There were no forces to create any vortex.

But pop the sink north and you get centrifugal and other forces creating a clockwise vortex, move it south and get a counter clockwise spiral as the water exits the sink.

We also proved you have less resistance on the equator line.

In the north side, I held my thumb and forefinger in an O shape and tried to pry them apart.It was difficult but on the equator, he prised them apart with ease.

On the south side he used two hands to pull my hands down from above my head.

He only needed one when I did the same action on the centre of the world.

I could go on but I'm sure you've got the picture.

It's probably a tourist con but it is fascinating stuff nonetheless.

In Quito itself, you have to explore the world heritage listed old town.

It is one of the largest preserved areas in the world. It would be easy to spend a day wandering around the streets if you love old architecture.

There are some 30 churches in the old town, but two definitely worth checking out are La basilica and La compania de Jesus.

La basilica looks a lot like the Notre Dame church in Paris but its gargoyles are rather unique - tortoises, sea lions, dolphins and marine iguanas.

The interior of La compania de Jesus is covered in seven tonnes of gold leaf.

To get a true perspective of the old town size, catch a cab up to the virgin Mary statue towering above Quito.

But don't leave it too late because the area becomes dangerous after dark.

Another must see area is La Mariscal which has karaoke and discos on every corner.

There are beauty salons and internet cares on every other corner.

Start in Plaza Foch for a happy-hour drink (which mean half price for about four hours) and then wander around for dinner, a sing-song or a salsa.

There are dozens of hostels in the area which is custom-made for tourists.

But don't wander around alone at night, always in a group.

There are great markets in Quito and nearby Otavalo (2.5 hours) if you have the time.

The latter offers plenty of photo opportunities as the Otavalo people still wear their traditional garb.

You will spot some of them in Quito too, just look for the long hair tied like a tail down their backs.

But Quito was a site of great disappointment for me too.

I arrived excitedly at the modest hostel noted in my travel papers to begin a 36-day tour through Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

I couldn't wait to meet the people I would explore a large part of South America with.

But they had no record of me.  Alarm bells!

The hostel worker rang Intrepid's emergency number in Peru and I sat and waited for news for several hours.

It turns out a glitch at the Melbourne office, the head office for this tour company, meant I was not informed this tour was cancelled months ago.

Intrepid scurried about trying to pull the tour together again so I could still do it.

But I am on my own with a personal guide for Ecuador and one for Peru.

I don't know whether to be excited about being on my own so I get to do whatever I wish or to cry because one of the main reasons I booked the trip was to meet new people.

But being on my own might bring me more unique experiences so I am trying to look at the positives.

Most upsetting though is that I had booked and paid nearly a year in advance to ensure I got an Inca trail permit to trek to Machu Pichu.

Intrepid did not book this for me.

I now must do the Lares Trek to the ancient city.

I have great recommendations from friends that it is a worthy, cultural trek with plenty of local interaction but the Inca trail is something I have wanted to do since Year 7, some 20-odd years ago.

That said, my Ecuador tour leader Johanna and I are already getting along famously.

So far so good. I'd love to tell you more about Quito but I'm off to the Amazon jungle.
 



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