Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
47Trip End Dec 23, 2010
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saturday i took a tour to the ‘middle of the world’ with don carlos - the owner of travellers inn (my hotel), who is also a retired general of the ecuadorian army. he was a great guide and spent several extra hours with us - gratis.
first stop...the ‘real’ GPS-validated line of the equator. very simple monument marking the equator, but a funny little museum built around it. scattered throughout the museum were tests or validations if you will, showcasing the oddities of having no centripetal force (i think thats what he said) to contend with...balancing an egg on the head of a nail...watching water spin in two different directions when placed in the northern & southern hemispheres, trying to walk straight on the line of the equator, etc
ok, so then we hit the ‘historic’ site of the equator...which was only about 300 meters off from the GPS-calculated site. some time, long, long ago...50 french men came to ecuador in search of the middle of the earth. after many years, they determined it was exactly at the site in the picture (pretty good calculations with no GPS). the monument is beautiful...doesn’t show in the pictures, but it’s truly beautiful. it leaves you with a feeling that ‘something important’ was accomplished here. i love one inscription on the side wall - it reads ‘blah, blah, blah...in the determination of the dimensions of the planet’. pretty cool.
and one last thing...i’ll be quick - today we went to cotopaxi, the second tallest active volcano in the world (closest to the sun or some shizzle). the scene was stunning...but we had to walk the last 500 meters and it was pure hell. i think the elevation was somewhere between...good lord...i don’t remember...13,000 ft or 15000 ft. anyhow, it wasn’t just the fact that you couldn’t breathe...and it wasn’t just the fact that the inclination was about 75 degrees (almost perpendicular!)...or the fact that it was freezing...it was the fact that the entire route to the refugee camp was sand! so with every step up you slid half-way back. it was well worth the agony because they sold m&m’s at the camp. the views were spectacular and many mountaineers (is that what they’re called) were heading down as we were heading up. pretty famous little spot here in ecuador. oh...and this thing is also a glacier (andes)...that is melting at an extremely rapid pace compared to past years (little or no snow and warmer climate). they estimate that within 5 or 10 years it will have no snow (and i think it’s been a glacier for hundreds of years).
see you in galapagos!