A highlight for everyone who visits this monument is to get a photo of themselves straddling the equator; placing one foot in each hemisphere! The historical Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) monument is impressive but isn’t on the actual equator! The ancients who worshipped the sun knew the exact path of the sun, but for some reason the folks who built this monument missed it. I wonder why? Maybe they couldn’t get the land, or it was too expensive, or they didn’t think it needed to be exact for the tourists. But approximately 300 meters
east is the Inti Ñan (Path of the Sun) Solar Museum, located 18 years ago using modern GPS. We visited both, but found Inti Ñan to be the most fascinating.
Carlos, our English speaking guide told us a lot about the native and ancient cultures. On display were baby tarantulas measuring 8″ across. We learned that the adults are twice that size. I would definitely scream and run if I came across one of those! We saw shrunken heads, both human and animal, and learned about the gruesome practice. Especially interesting were the solar clocks and demonstrations proving we were standing at the actual equator. Carlos easily balanced a fresh raw egg on the head of a nail to prove the gravitational pull of the equator. A few in our group accomplished this feat as well, but most of us were unsuccessful, including yours truly. We all know which direction the earth spins in order for the sun to rise on the eastern horizon. On a pedestal spun a globe mounted on its side and as we stood at the North Pole, we witnessed the globe circling from west to east – or counterclockwise. We then moved to the South Pole and witnessed the globe circling clockwise. This explains the Coriolis effect or which way water swirls goes down the drain. This was proved when a sink was placed directly over the Equator, and water poured into the sink which flowed straight down through the drainpipe into a bucket below – no swirling in any direction. This demonstration was repeated two more times with the sink north and then south of the equator. By placing some flower petals in the water as it drained one could clearly see which way the water swirled down the drain: clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the Northern. This phenomenon is seen in both typhoons and hurricanes as well. Typhoons are south of the equator and hurricanes are north of the equator and their rotation is the same as the water demonstration. We were told that due to Ecuador’s location on the equator they seldom experience severe wind storms. They told us that our bodies weigh less on the equator and had a scale to test it! There were also demonstrations of reduced strength while standing on the equator. Of further interest were the various carved statues or totems from different Pacific cultures including a stone one from Easter Island.
Follow this link to my video on FaceBook if you wish to see the sink demonstration.