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Day #2: Quito & the Equator

Despite the late hour of our arrival, we were all awake before 8am. The morning brought with it out first good view of the city from our hotel room:

We had breakfast in the executive lounge, which I **think** is complimentary for me given my Marriott status (if not, I’ll be paying $30 or maybe $90 for the breakfast — it’s all rather unclear). 😂

After breakfast, we walked to a nearby local supermarket (one of the few businesses open on a Sunday) to buy some lunch supplies for Emerson. It was well stocked and prices there seemed generally comparable to what we pay at home, unless you’re buying “imported” items (like $6 for a small jar of Peter Pan peanut butter; $9 for a box of Nature Valley granola bars).

At 11am, we met our guide, Marcelo–who I’d arranged through Happy Gringos tours–to visit the equator and the surrounding area, which is about 20km outside of Quito.

First, we visited the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, which provided a spectacular view into the volcanic caldera from the El Mirador overlook:

Next, we toured the Intinan Museum. This outdoor museum seemed to have to points of focus: native peoples of Ecuador and (obviously) the Equator. I found the “shrunken heads” exhibition (including an actual, 180-or-so year old head) to be gruesome yet interesting. Here’s the head that served as a prize of war (it’s really just the shrunken skin from a head, as all of the innards are removed in the process):

The museum’s equatorial exhibitions focused on the Equator line and a series of related experiments. Like balancing a raw egg on a nail, which is easier to do at the Equator:

Here’s Emerson standing on the Equator (or at least near–measurement, as we learned, is surprisingly tricky):

Our final visit was to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. Its claim to fame is an Equator Monument (which I’m told is actually incorrectly located by a couple of football fields), as well as some museums and a reproduction Spanish colonial city (which now features shops and restaurants for visitors).

Having already “seen and done” the Equator, I thought the Ciudad was a little underwhelming. But, admission was cheap, and I enjoyed the small art museum dedicated to the work of Oswaldo Guayasamín.

After returning to the hotel, we walked across the street for dinner at Crepes and Waffles. We’d actually thought about venturing more away from the hotel, but the streets were a little too quite on a Sunday evening for my liking. In any case, the food was surprisingly good at Crepes and Waffles, especially Emerson’s Mexican chicken crepe and our Marshmallow Hot Chocolate. I’m pretty certain we’ll eat there again when we return to Quito.

My delectable jamon y queso crepe:

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