La Mitad del Mundo: A day at the equator

 As a novelty, I had considered straddling the equator, you know, being North and South all at once before I visited Quito, Ecuador but I had no idea what a treat it would be to visit latitude 00.00.00…

Incidentally, there is another place called “Mitad del Mundo” down the road a ways.  It’s like the Disney of equators and visited by loads of people but is not the actual site of the line. The actual location was determined with GPS.  Sorry antiquated methods of determining geolocation, RIP.

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Almost there.

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OK, bad pose. I think I meant to have one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemispshere.

Our tour was great.  It started with a bit of history about the local, pre-Inca indigenous people but soon turned sciencey. Our guide asked us if we knew what the coreolis effect was.

Of course, I was like, “yeah”, and no-one else spoke.

She said, “ok, please explain it to us.”

Great.

After an embarrassingly poor attempt at explaining it, Gaby, the guide, cut me of short and asked if we wanted to see it in action.  This tub lies exactly on the equator and when the plug is pulled there is no circular draining as we are accustomed to. Oooooo. Moving it to either side the coreolis effect is in full force, meaning the water swirls one way north of the equator and opposite that south of the equator. It’s really very interesting to stand there and see this even though sitting in your chair reading this it seems silly.

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Now we are asked to step onto the equator, reach our arms out to the side, close our eyes, and walk on the line touching heal to toe as we go.  Everyone meanders off the line.  Why? She explains that with our eyes closed we are using only our inner ears for balance.  On the equator the magnetism is much different than we are used to so balance is difficult (sorry no pic but imagine me stumbling around with my eyes closed in broad daylight).

And the science keeps rolling.  It’s time to balance an egg on end on top of a nail. Challenging as it is I am determined to get my “Egg-balancer” certificate (yes, it exists).  After hogging my station for nearly the entire time I had to give up.

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Fail.

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Show off.

Our guide, Gaby, is a total show off with the egg standing upping. She’s so sciencey.

At the end of the tour you will have the option get a stamp noting 00.00.00 degrees latitude.  Very nerdy but don’t forget your passport if you are a nerd.

So plan on a trip to the Middle of the World when traveling to Quito, Ecuador.

Safe travels.

Feel free to leave your thoughts here, on my Facebook page, or Twitter

52 thoughts on “La Mitad del Mundo: A day at the equator

    • Awesome. I would have never even gone there. So glad I did. I will get back to you soon on the other comment too. Not much time and going where there is no internet or phones again. I love this part of traveling.

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  1. Pingback: La Mitad del Mundo: A day at the equator | Home Far Away From Home

  2. I wish I liked being hot. We went to Bangkok last May, and we were both miserable in the heat wave. Standing on the equator does sound like something worthy of a bucket list, though.

    Incidentally, I tried to tell myself it was balmy in Boston on Wednesday morning when I went outside into the 12F.

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    • It is nothing like the heat of Bangkok. At this location on the equator you are at over 9000ft. Shorts and a tshirt are comfy and its good to have a lav}yer if the wind blows or it clouds over. Besides, what better place to eat a guinea pig?

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  3. Not too sciencey here, but still nerdy. (Don’t know how that works:D) I looked up “coreolis effect” at a science page for kids and it didn’t help much. But here’s what that page said that stood out for me, that I’m pasting in: “The effect of friction is only important near the surface of the Earth. The higher one travels into the atmosphere, the less obvious are the effects of friction.” On a wing and a prayer!

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  4. I was there too – several years ago, now! What a wonderful country – did you go on the train down to the Devil’s Nose? Then I went to the Galapagos. Even more memorable!

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  5. That is so cool! So does the water just drain straight down? And how DO you balance an egg on a nail? The walking in a straight line with your eyes closed is funny. I don’t think I can do that normally anyway =p

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  6. First time I went to Africa I did an over-lander trip: 14 people in the back an open truck for 21 days through Kenya, sleeping in pup tents. An unexpected monsoon hit so we spent a lot of time driving around trying to find ways around the flooding. What was hilarious was the first time we went over the equator we all bailed out of the truck and ran around taking endless pictures in endless funny poses. After about the 3rd time we were jaded and it produced a yawn and a wave. 4th time, we didn’t even wake up for it. Sounds like you had a great time on the line.

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  7. Pingback: Comida típica (typical food):Ecuador and Cuy (guinea pig) « ExploreDreamDiscover Talks

  8. Hereby admitting I’m a nerd. Always love to stand on various borders and the like with one foot in one place, the other in another. Standing straddling the hemispheres is something else though 🙂

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  13. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and
    said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear
    and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside annd it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but
    I had to tell someone!

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