Quito, Ecuador (Amy Pelloquin)
Well, we're not in Kansas (or Arkansas in this case) anymore. After months of endless waiting, we arrive in Ecuador. Fortunately, we arrive a day early and get to explore Quito. This is a fascinating city, with surrounding hills covered with endless small colorful houses. We hire a local driver, Patricio, who drives us to a local Saturday market filled with fresh fruit (some a bit unusual) and vegetables, and even fresh seafood (Check out the clever way to haul the fresh crab around). The people are warm and welcoming, and our kids love it. The streets are narrow, crowded, and seem to disappear in front of you as you go down long steep hills. As we head to our next stop, we come upon a local parade, and have a great time watching the colorful costumes and the local dances. Even more exciting is the bike race that we encounter - these crazy guys run their bikes straight down steep sets of stairs from the top of the mountain to the bottom!
How can we top our morning? Well, we go to the museum at the equator, and learn that the large impressive monument is not actually on the equator. Not too exciting...but, the actual equator experience next door: unbelievable! All of us are shocked at the difference just stepping one foot either north or south of the equator can make! We watch the water drain in different directions, and how muscle strength differs on the equator and off. My daughter balances an egg on the tip of a nail placed directly on the equator, which was amazing! We then learned how there are fish that climb up your private parts if you pee in the river, and how to shrink a human head (if you're into that sort of thing!) Far more educational for my kids than the science class that they are missing!
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