Science relearned; La Mitad del Mundo

Doug and I recently traveled to the US to visit with family; Doug to California and I to Chicago.  This time we traveled through Ecuador and flew to Miami from Quito, the capital.  Both of us really enjoyed Quito even though we took turns being sick.

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We stayed in a great hostal in Quito; Hostal de la Rabia.  Our room had a little private courtyard where we could sit and relax in comfy chairs.

The staff at this hostal were absolutely fabulous!  Once we checked in, the staff were very informative about sites to visit and how to get there.  They made suggestions and helped get things arranged.  From then on, we were on a first name basis and each time we emerged from our room or returned from an excursion, they would ask how things had gone….did we enjoy the site they had recommended?  Amazing service!

DSC01511They also had a resident pet rabbit, Brownie.  Brownie roamed around the yard and occasionally entered into the living and dining rooms.  What a fun place.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the sites we visited was La Mitad del Mundo; the middle of the world.  This little museum was at the equator as determined by GPS.

DSC01553This globe sits atop a monument that was built back in 1736 by Charles-Marie de la Condamine.  He was a French mathematician who traveled to locate the equator and take measurements.  Some of his measurements supported the development of the metric system and added to the proof that the world was not a perfect sphere, but oval.  This monument is only a couple hundred meters away from the equator as measured by GPS.  Amazingly accurate for a time we think of as not being superbly scientifically advanced!

 

 

 

 

DSC01533The Museum Intiñan was a fun little museum.  Among the other equator related exhibits, they boasted a totem collection from all over the world.  I recognized most of them as totems, but was surprised to see a spherical totem from Costa Rica.

 

 

 

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We were also treatd to a lecture on how to shrink a human head!  The figure on the right is a human head and the one on the left is of a sloth.  Part of their “creature” collection included a four meter long boa, a penis fish, and spiders in formaldahyde.

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We also participated in several experiments

This basin of water was placed so it was straddling the equator line.  When the plug was pulled, the water drained straight down with now swirl to the water.  The basin was moved to the northern hemisphere and when the drain was pulled, the water swirled counter-clockwise as it drained.  Then we moved the basin to the southern hemispere, and the water swirled clockwise as it drained.  No kidding…by moving this basin 15 feet in one direction or the other of the equatorial line, there was such a marked difference.

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In this picture you see our guide demonstrating what he called the resistance test.  Both Doug and this other fellow were asked to put their clasped hands out in front of them while the guide tried to push their arms down.  When they were standing to one side of the equator, as they are in this picture, the guide couldn’t hardly budge the fists.  However, when they moved onto the equatorial line, he was able to push their fists down.  Less resistance on the equatorial line because the gravitational pull was stronger there.

Another activity we did was to try to balance an egg on the head of a nail right on the equatorial line.  With the gravity pulling straight down, the yoke of the egg would settle in the bottom of the egg.  This was harder than it looked even though the head of the nail was quite large.  I was one of two who were successful and I earned a “diploma” for my efforts.  (For the life of me, I couldn’t get these pictures to load.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Sounds like a great trip to Ecuador! I visited the equator museum – after this many years, couldn’t remember the name, though. I had a picture taken sitting on the equator line so one cheek was in each hemisphere. I would love to go back as an “adult” and see it all like you are doing.

    How’s Mandy? Good trip to Chicago?

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