Welcome to Ecuador – enjoy your EARTHQUAKE!!

 In Dr Anne Small

Shrunken heads, a night-time earthquake and walking the Equator all keep Dr Anne Small on her toes in Quito, the capital of Ecuador …


4.7 Richter Scale the first night here!!

Dr_Anne_Small_Equador-006OMG – it woke me from an exhausted sleep at 4.25am with the room literally shaking from side to side!! It took us a few seconds to work out what it was. Our room was on the fourth floor. It kept going for a few minutes during which time Sebastian and I were debating whether or not to leave the building. It is an eerie feeling – knowing that the building you are in is moving from side to side and that you probably would not be able to stand still or even stand at all.

Our guide reminded us the next day of the two huge earthquakes in 2015 which killed people and caused a huge amount of damage. We went to the Inti-Nan Museum where –

  • ­We were told how the Amazon natives SHRUNK HEADS – first take the skull out of the intact skin, next steam the head for 45 minutes, next sew the lips together, then put hot rocks into the head and leave to ??! – We saw evidence of this – a real shrunken head of a child of a King!
  • We were shown a penis fish – a pale fish slightly longer and bigger than a large sardine. If you urinate in the Amazon River, the young fish are attracted to the urine (male urine is stronger or more attractive to the fish than female urine) so the little fish swim up the urethra and cause havoc to the penis. The two men our group looked horrified!
  • Ecuador used to be called Quito after the natives who populated it but they changed the name to reflect the fact that the Equator runs through it.
A pictorial timeline of the ancient head-shrinking process



A genuine shrunken head on display

Walking the Equator

So the guide showed us some interesting experiments …

  • How difficult it is to walk heel/toe along a line marking the Equator knowing there is no gravitational push. All three of our group who tried it could not walk more than 4 paces
  • Leaves in a trough of water on the Equator flowed straight down through the hole when the water was released, 1.5 metres north, the leaves swirled clockwise while 1.5 metres south, the leaves swirled anti-clockwise
  • All of us had great difficulty trying to balance an egg on a small stand.




We were then taken to the old Colonial Town, the original capital which has a strong Spanish influence of course, because the Spanish conquered them. We went inside the spectacular baroque church with statues, columns, carvings etc. all covered in gold leaf (no photos allowed – bugger!).

There was another huge Church of San Francisco – it finally dawned on me that San Francisco is everywhere in Catholic Latin America because of St Francis of Assisi! A few wild earthquake aftershocks and we left for the Galapagos …

Dr_Anne_Small_Equador-007Old town architecture with a heavy Spanish influence
Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search