The Middle of the World

The Craven participants standing on the equator.

The Craven participants standing on the equator.

The first place we visited while in Ecuador was the equator, naturally.  Ecuador is named after it, and has been in more than one language.  “Ecuador” means equator in Spanish.  Quito is the capital of Ecuador.  The name “Quito” is derived from the name of the indigenous group and their homeland, the Quitu, who dominated that region of the Andes before their conquest by the Inca.  In Quechua, Qui means middle and tu land.  Quitu translates to middle land.  

Museo

There is more than one way to visit the equator while in Ecuador.  There is a monument that marks the general location of the equator and then there is the Museo Inti-ñan  on the actual GPS latitude marking of the equator.  In Ecuador the equator is called La Mitad del Mundo to avoid confusion, as the word for Ecuador is the Spanish word for equator.

Sun god statues from around the world that sit in the central courtyard of the museum.

Sun god statues from around the world that sit in the central courtyard of the museum.

We visited the GPS confirmed equator with it’s outdoor musuem.  There were many interesting things to see.  The musuem had a replica of a Quitu grave site and many statues from all over the world.  What they all have in common is that they represent the sun or a sun god of an indigenous group.

We looked at a sun dial and learned that at noon the shadow falls to the north 6 months out of the year and to the south the other 6 months.  We watched as our guide demonstrated that draining water swirls counter clockwise north of the line and then clock wise south of the line.  It also drained straight down on the line itself.  Our guide also had us try to walk heel to toe with our eyes closed to show us it was hard to balance.  I read somewhere that these were all tricks, but who knows.  Real or magic – it was fun either way.

Successful balancing of an egg on the head of a nail.

Successful balancing of an egg on the head of a nail.

My favorite display was balancing an egg on the head of a nail. Our guide explained that because there is no pull from the poles at the middle of the world, it was possible to balance and egg in this way.  We all tried to balance it.  Only 2 of us were able to.  I was lucky enough to be able to balance my egg.

My reward for balancing the egg.

My reward for balancing the egg.

I earned my eggmaster certificate for doing so!  Egg-cellent hehehe….

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Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Email: bellaceroc@cravencc.edu
Phone: 252.638.7328
Fax: 252.638.3231

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