So Ecuador is “Republic of the Equator”.
Though there are obviously other countries that also reside on the equator such as Colombia, Brazil, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Maldives, and Indonesia, Ecuador kinda owns the concept of equator with it’s name does’t it? So I decided to experience the equator in the “Republic of the Equator”.
The site is called Mitad de Mundo, which means Middle of the World and is about an hour and a half away from Quito. We are cheap back packers so rather than taking the $20 cab ride many tourists take, we decided to do 2 transfers on a local bus for $0.40! It takes twice as much time to get there, but in Ecuador, every dollar goes a long way (Think $2.50 lunches and $1 beers!) so every cent is to be saved whenever possible!
So a long and rocky local bus ride and we arrived at the Middle of the World.
Actually, Mitad de Mundo I heard is really impressive with state of the art museums, planetariums and monuments where you can spend a whole day.
BUT the sad news is that it is NOT the actual equator. Oops!
Apparently the first French scientists who arrived there in the 1700’s claimed it to be the equator and Ecuador created this amazing site to attract tourism, but it was discovered later that it is actually off by a mere 250 meters! Oops! Well, props to the French men for being so close at that age though!
Well, so its a bit off, but what are you gonna do? Move the whole museum and the monuments? So they still operate as the Middle of the World, but technically, it is not.
There is, however a site 5 minutes away in a much smaller scale that is ACTUALLY the equator. So being the real people that we are, we decided to go there in stead.
Museo Inti Nan. Its a fun little sites to do experiments and cultural presentations of Ecuador.
Once inside, you are guided through several cool experiments and sites!
First, of course you see the line, with the actual Latitude 00’00’00″” – Calculated with G.P.S.
And tourists do things like this.
You have to imagine the earth sideways when you are standing on the equator like this globe. So you are standing on the equator and one side is the North and the other is the South.
So what is cool about being on the equator?
Well, you are exactly at the distance half from the North and the South Pole, so it is equal forces of balance and it makes for equal times when you are living there. This means, there is no difference in day and night times all year round (no shorter winters or longer summer days – I would hate that!) Also because of that, there are no difference in temperature and hence, no seasons all year round. Ecuador does name the months with less rain the summer and more rain the winter, but there is actually no temperature change.
This seems quite weird coming from Japan, where we live our lives heavily connected to the changes of the seasons (cherry blossoms in the spring, leaves turning in autumn and the foods, clothes, the culture that surrounds it) but the positive side seems to be that there is always fruits and vegetables regardless of season, which an Ecuadorian proudly explained. I would probably take seasons over it though.
Here is a solar clock that shows the time with the shadows. Of course this works the same all year round.
Probably a well known fact that the water spins in different direction in the North and the South but what happens in the Equator where the forces are the same?
See the video!!
In the equator, the water does not spin!
Once you take a few steps to the south, it spins clockwise and to the north, counter clock wise!
It was really cool to see this in person!
Also, perfectly balancing an egg is easier (but still very difficult!) on the equator because of the equal forces?!
We did other experiments such as walking on the line with eyes closed. It is supposed to be very difficult because of the forces, but wasn’t that hard and and seemed more of a gimmick.
All in all, the experiments were really fun and educational and made me think how special Ecuador (or being on the equator) is!
Definitely worth a look if you are in the Middle of the World!
Also, you can also get your passport stamped here! Unfortunately, I forgot to bring mine so here is what it looks like from my German friends.
Fun in the Middle of the World – Museo Inti-Nan, I’d totally recommend it!