A Visit to the Middle of the World

It was quite exciting to be back exploring again and today we decided to go on a couple of tours, a free walking tour around the town and then a tour to visit the equator. We quickly remembered how much we disliked tours and decided to go out on our own.
I have to admit that we have had great success with the free walking tours but the one offered here was connected to a hostel and the group was huge (30 people) so we decided to duck out on our own.
The day started off fantastically with a local breakfast of potato fritters and fried egg and a cup of the sweetest coffee known to man, and all for a dollar. This set us up for a morning wandering around the city the highlight of which was watching the changing of the guard in the presidential square. A large crowd had gathered and the president even appeared and addressed the crowd. There was lots of cheering and singing of anthems which was all great to watch.
Equator is very religious and the center of the old town is full of churches and cathedrals mostly built in the Spanish style. It makes for a beautiful walk around and we were certainly encapsulated by the beauty of the place. The streets are all pretty narrow and lined with tiny shops selling a whole host of goods.
We were having a great time walking around until the heavens opened and we had to duck for cover. Luckily it was lunchtime and we were right near the central market so we stopped in for a soup. Whilst having lunch we decided that the tour to the equator was a little expensive and that we could catch the local bus there instead.
So we took our map which had a picture of the equator line on it and set off to find the bus. Unfortunately the map we were using wasn’t entirely accurate. Firstly the bus stops on the map did not seem to exist on the ground but that wasn’t too much of a problem and after a few enquiries we were on the right bus heading in the right direction.
It wasn’t long until we had to get off and then walk the couple of blocks to our destination. As we were getting close we commented to each other how strange it was that such a major sight was so difficult to find but on we went. We finally arrived at the spot where the picture on the map said we had to be but there was nothing around but a huge round about!
Luckily there was a policeman there and I pointed to the map, then pointed around us and then shrugged my shoulders in a sort of “look at this map, I am here and the museum for the equator is meant to be here too, but where is it?” Kind of way.
Well he was polite enough not to laugh. It turns out that the picture was just placed at the top of the map and the museum was actually 20kms further north!! We were a little embarrassed but managed to find a taxi to take us the rest of the way.
When we got there we did know that there were two museums, one on the equator and one in the wrong spot. Obviously we were dropped off at the wrong one but were directed down the road to the other one which as you will see from the picture below was incredibly poorly signposted.
But it was a wonderful little place and we got a tour of the museum as part of the entrance fee. I don’t know why but I was quite excited about standing with one foot in the north and the other in the south and duly got my photo taken.
The museum had a load of demonstrations laid out along the equator which was really quite fascinating. The first was the sink with the water going down the hole and on the equator the water did not form a whirlpool at all, yet when the sink was moved just two meters north or south the whirlpools formed! We also balanced eggs on nails with a variety of success.
The most fascinating was trying to walk along the equator with your hands out and your eyes shut. You lost your balance very quickly. Strange but true it was actually quite difficult. Apparently it is due to the north and south forces both pulling you away from the line.
After the visit we decided to try and find our way back by public transport and this time we were far more successful and even managed to cope with a change of busses so felt very proud of ourselves when we got back to the hostel. Both very wet and in need of a beer. 
No such luck with the beer at the local hole in the wall we decided to have dinner at. But tasty food and the lady cooking soon realized that we had no idea what she was saying so she let us have a look and a taste of everything and we could decidewhat we wanted. Lovely lady and lovely food at Rositas!! T

 
 
Breakfast of champions.
  
El Presidente on the balcony and few shots of the changing of the guards.

   
    
  
An enterprising man selling drinks from his modified wheelbarrow.

 
The San Francisco monestary.

 
 
The beautiful courtyard inside.
  
Some shots of the streets around the old town.  The colours of the buildings are just fantastic.

   
  
 
Not exactly a huge sign for the museum at the equator.

   
There I am with one foot in the north and one in the south.

 
The varying degrees of success in our egg balancing.  The wind blew mine off while I was celebrating! Honest.

 
 
  
This is the slimy beast that sneaks up you when you have a pee in the Amazon rivers.

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