Friday, March 09, 2007

Not Quite the Equator in Ecuador
Do we get a refund?

The ´real´middle of the world

This must be the place

After a few days in Quito running around sorting out various bike related headaches like valve clearances and throttle body synchro etc, we continued north to the border with Colombia at Tulcan. En route, we would be crossing the equator so had to pull in for a photo stop. It turns out that the large monument marking the ´middle of the world´built around 70 years ago was actually built about 250m off the actual equator. Duh! The real ´middle of the world´was actually marked out on top of a nearby hill around 1200 years ago and was only found about 5 years ago. Its also spot on when checked with a GPS but it involved climbing a hill and we didn´t have time anyway. After getting ripped off at the official equator (they don´t refund you either) we went over to the small museum outside the centre where the small team of researchers there give a fantastic presentation on the real equator. As you need mountains (fixed points) to check the suns position, Ecuador and the Andes are the only place on the planet to do this as the rest of the equator cuts through forrest etc. The point marking the middle of the world is slap bang in the middle of the Andes.

After visiting the equator, we ended up taking a dirt road towards Tulcan which took forever to eventually hit tarmac and conveniently, my rear brakes decided to fail because of the heat. They eventually came back but don´t feel quite as good as they did before, hmmm, brake bleeding required maybe? After a long day, we eventually hit Tulcan by nightfall, a bit of a dump of a place before the Colombian border but will make tomorrows crossing a bit easier if we can get there early as we´ve been told it can take about 4-5 hours. Oh joy!

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