Team Arrives in Quito, Equador

Posted by: | December 01, 2010
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 10,000 ft.

The team arrived late last night and met formally for the first time over breakfast this morning. We enjoyed a great buffet for breakfast at our hotel and set out for an all day tour of Quito which included a visit to the physical equator. The team enjoyed visiting many old churches, government buildings, and private homes some of which dated back to the 1500’s! The Spaniards founded the colonial city in 1538, so lots of the architecture is original and impressive. So much so that the entire old town neighborhood in Quito is a UNESCO world heritage site. We visited one church in particular with huge vaulted ceilings that were completely covered in baroque woodworking and gold leaf. Apparently over 52 kg of pure gold were used to decorate the church and show the power and glory of Rome. It’s kind of crazy to think about how young many of the cities in the United States really are compared to other places in the world.

After the city tour we enjoyed a fritada lunch. It was a traditional Ecuadorian meal consisting of maize, fried pork, avocado, tomatoes, plantains, and potato soup. Delicious!

Later in the afternoon we took a trip to the physical equator where we enjoyed some fun experiments. There is no coriolis effect directly on the equator so water will drain from a basin straight down when on the equator, spin counter-clockwise four feet north, and clockwise four feet south! I didn’t believe it until I saw it. It was also possible to balance fresh eggs vertically on a nail. Cool stuff. And all the while we were beginning our acclimitization because Quito sits at nearly 10,000 ft. Tomorrow we will head out to the teleferique and the volcano Pichincha for our first acclimatization hike, hopefully the weather cooperates!

Thanks to Dawn Kim for the photos in this post!

The changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace in Quito Dawn Kim sitting on a rail above Quito, Ecuador

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