Thursday (Jueves) 22nd July, 2010
Day 496

Otavalo, Ecuador
Otavalo, Ecuador
Miles: 49,228
N 00.21868°
W 78.27675°

We hung around the parking lot this morning talking to Ollie and Sabina (the German couple with the American camper who were there when we arrived) about things we had seen and comparing our vehicles.Thus we did not get underway until almost lunch time.

Our first stop was Mitad del Mundo, the official equatorial monument. It is quite a tourist park, with many restaurants, souvenir shops, and a large stone structure in the middle of the park and a line running from the entrance to the foot of the monument. The line (is supposed to) follow the equator.

Next door to the official monument is a private park or museum called Inty Nan. This park, which is slightly north of the official monument also has a line representing the equator (explanation of the two lines below). This is a more funky place with all kinds of displays, and some interesting science experiments

  • For example a demonstration that water going down a plug hole rotates anti clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern and of course no rotation when the basin was right above the equator.

  • There were cacti covered with a white power and white blisters that we were told was the cochineal bug. This is harvested to produce the cochineal that one has in the kitchen cupboard, and is used to produce many different colors besides red by adding different solvents.

  • Traditional Sun Dials do not work at the equator. Equatorial sun dials are mounted vertically, aligned east-west, and have a clock face on both the north and south side.

  • (The north face works when it is northern hemisphere summer and the south face woks in the n.h. winter)

Why are there two, incompatible, equator lines at these two establishments. The explanation we got was that the line at the official monument was the result of surveys conducted before GPS satellites where as Inty Nan's line was placed with the aid of GPS.

From these two interesting parks we made the drive to Otavalo and the camping ground at Rincon del Viajero. We were pleased to find it still operating. The grass seemed greener and healthier than when we were last here and generally it seems that Dennis, the owner, has spruced the place up.