We’d actually crossed the equator before. When riding from Ibarra to Mindo we’d stopped at a non-descript location to mark the event but it didn’t feel special. Here we are now, crossing at one of the two “official” crossings.
Crossing the Equator near Cayambe
There are two locations in Ecuador which have a “monument” marking the location of the Equator. One is on the outskirts of Quito, the other is not far from Cayambe. By some accounts the monument on the outskirts of Quito is not quite in the right place when checked by GPS. The other near Cayambe is. That’s it, we’re off to Cayambe, no second best for us 🙂
Surprisingly when we arrive at the monument we’re the only visitors there. I’d imagined hoards of people and having to wait ages to get the photos I wanted. The only other person there was the guy collecting the money/guide, they are one and the same. The entrance fee is $2 USD each plus $5 USD if we want to take the bike in. Total should have been $9 USD but the guy only charged us $7 USD, or £5.47 GBP, so maybe the fee for the bike included me as well?
The bright orange, tall cylindrical monument stands in the middle of a round cobbled area. A line marks the actual Equator. I start to take photos but before I get very far the guide walks over and asks if we’d like an explanation of the monument. Yes please. In slow Spanish, he explains that the monument is, in fact, a sun dial and from a nearby vantage point that becomes obvious. Just as he’s finishing his story the heavens open and we take shelter in the false museum, also known as the public toilets.
Information debunking some popular myths about which way water rotates down the plughole in the Northern and Southern hemispheres is how the toilets got their name. Click on the photo of the explanation below, it’s really quite interesting.
After half an hour the rain stops and we continue taking our photos.
Before making our way back to Ibarra, we had to stop for Bizcochos. In and around Cayambe it seems that every other shop sells this local dish “freshly baked on the premises”. We had to find out what it was. Basically, it’s a very dry biscuit with very little flavour. The only things that make it palatable are the accompanying hot chocolate, cheese and cream. We wondered how a dry, almost tasteless, biscuit became so popular. The locals like it, so who are we to argue.
That’s all for this post folks. Next stop the Galapagos Islands.
Saludos, Steve and Janette