Mitad del Mundo

May 8, 2014
Life at latitude zero; locals believe that the equator unites both hemispheres rather than divide them. We visited three locations on the equator and only one is accurate. It's the least frequented, and we found it purely by accident. Another location is a museum and it was fun to see the effects of the equator and the third was a complete tourist trap.

When we plugged Mitad del Mundo into the GPS only one point of interest appeared. When we arrived we were surprised to find ourselves in Cayambe at the Quitsato Sundial. We opted to take the tour in the english, it was a short wait; a bus from Australia arrived shortly after us.

Quitsato is a non profit that studies astronomy and hopes to one day change the way we think of maps. At the equator you can see the stars in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. It was a detail I never considered. It was always too cloudy for us to spot stars but it would've been an amazing sight to see.

Notice how little Frank's shadow is.

Quitsato Sundial, Cayambe. The most accurate site on the Equator. Notice how small his shadow is.

A foot in each hemisphere.

Quitsato Sundial, Cayambe. A foot in each hemisphere.

Life at latitude zero

Equator line points directly to volcano lost in the clouds. It is used for a point of reference to determine time.

Quitsato Sundial, Cayambe. Equator line points directly to volcano lost in the clouds. It is used for a point of reference to determine time.

Quitsato Sundial, Cayambe. This non-profit group studies astrology and aims to change the way we view maps. Stars in both hemispheres can be seen at the equator.

Across the street we stopped for lunch at Balcon 2 Hemisferios, it was one of the better meals we had the whole trip. And I cannot recall ever having a better vegetable medley; so fresh and bursting with flavor. Frank had a chicken dish and mine was pork chops in a gravy with brown sugar. It was a great find!

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Balcon 2 Hemisferios, Cayambe. One of the better meals we had, those vegetables were the best... ever!

The following day, we set off for the more frequented stops on the Equator. Our first stop was the Intiñan Solar Museum; it's a great time with interactive exhibits.

Snake and spiders found in the Amazon.

Intiñan Solar Museum; snake and spiders found in the Amazon.

Shrunken heads were common practice with Amazon tribes.

Intiñan Solar Museum, Shrunken heads were common practice with Amazon tribes.

The Wuaoroni tribe uses blow guns to hunt, their weapon is very heavy and long. They're incredibly strong people.

Intiñan Solar Museum, Wuaoroni tribe uses blow guns, it's very heavy and long. They're incredibly strong people.

The Wuaoroni tribe shelter.

Intiñan Solar Museum, Wuaoroni tribe shelter.

A foot in both hemispheres according to GPS.

Intiñan Solar Museum, a foot in both hemispheres according to GPS.

Intiñan Solar Museum

Intiñan Solar Museum

At the equator you cannot walk a straight line without looking, there is too much pull in either direction, which Frank was quick to learn.

Intiñan Solar Museum, at the equator you cannot walk a straight line without looking.

Only a handful of people can balance an egg on the head of a nail.

Intiñan Solar Museum, only a handful of people can balance an egg on the head of a nail.

Frank was able to balance the egg. He received a certificate for doing so.

Intiñan Solar Museum, Frank was able to balance the egg. He received a certificate for doing so.

The natives are spiritual people and will keep guinea pigs or cuy in their home. Their squeaking is believed to be a sign of the presence of a good spirit. They are also regional treat found in restaurants around Baños, and other parts of Ecuador.

Intiñan Solar Museum, The natives are spiritual people and will keep guinea pigs or cuy in their home. Their squeaking is believed to be a sign of the presence of a good spirit. They are also regional treat found in restaurants around Baños.

A native woman demonstrates hand spinning fibers used for textiles.

Intiñan Solar Museum; Native woman hand spinning fibers used for textiles.

Intiñan Solar Museum, smile for the camera!

Our last stop was the most expensive and our stay was very brief. Ciudad Mitad del Mundo is the biggest tourist trap, they nickel and dime you and it was built a couple hundred meters from the actual equator... oops. There are a few free exhibits, but most cost additional, that was after paying to park and for admission.

Ciudad Mitad del Mundo is the biggest tourist trap, they nickel and dime you and it was built a couple hundred meters from the actual equator... oops.

One more time at what was believed to be the equator.

Ciudad Mitad del Mundo; one more time at what was believed to be the equator.

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