The middle of the earth ie. the equator crosses Quito, Ecuador. My first impression of Quito is that the airport is REALLY far away from the city. My second was that it was really cold. I always had thought it would be steaming hot on the equator but as as we were in the highlands, this is was not the case.
We only had one day in Quito before we flew out to LA so of course, we had to visit the equator. You catch the bus from the centre labelled 'Mitad del Mundo' (Middle of the Earth) to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo national landmark which is kind of like a theme park but without any rides. Its got the big official statue with the line going through it and all kinds of restaurants and a lama zoo. Random.
So after taking some customary equatorial balancing photos we had lunch, where we finally had some Cuy or guinea pig. There were a lot of bones, and not that much meat, plus it had a weird kind of game taint to it that wasn't pleasant. I'm glad we tried it but I think I'll just stick to my regular proteins. The good thing about this restaurant was that they had free wi fi and Kevin found the Itinan Museum, where the REAL equator is located.
What? Why would they build this theme park with lamas and all in a place that's not even on the equator. Well supposedly this was the original equator they calculated 200 years ago but with GPS technology we can now verify that the equator is actually located about 200m north of the official landmark in a different place called the Intinan Museum. So we exited the official park, made two lefts and found the museum where you pay another $4 and get a guided tour.
This tour is a bit wacky but really fun. "Now I will show you a shrunken head" states our tour guide. Sure, why not. We saw the penis fish, the fish that supposedly climbs into your urethra if you urinate in the river. Replicas of amazonian huts, a guinea pig farm (couldn't help but feel guilty since I just ate one an hour previously and they were pretty damn cute alive) and a large poster of naked Amazonian tribal men with their penises tied up. They did save the best for last though where for the second time that day we took touristy photos on a painted line. I believed this one though because we also got a cool water demonstration. They had a tub of water that when placed on the equator, the water would just fall straight through. When the tub is moved 2m south of the line, the water swirls down in a counter clockwise direction. In the North, it goes clockwise. Yep folks, the Simpsons was correct. This is known as the Coriolis effect and is pretty cool when you get to see it.
|Shrunken head, size of your fist.|
|The REAL equator|
|Sorry guinea pigs, I won't eat you again.|
So there you go, the official but fake equator is kind of lame but the real one is really cool and hopefully more people check it out.