6 Month Anniversary; Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World)


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January 8th 2012
Published: January 9th 2012
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Basílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto Nacional

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
So it's been almost over 2 months since I last made a blog entry and I just know that everyone is asking themselves "Where is Dave Oliver now and what has he been up to?" Well wonder no more my faithful 5 readers, here is the scoop.



Since you last heard from me, I did the unthinkable. That's right Dave has finally left Colombia. On December 14th, six months to the day I left Las Vegas, I entered Ecuador. So what started out as a tour of all South America so far has resulted in myself going to only 3 countries counting the 2 weeks I spent in Venezuela. Also my birthday passed and I got another year older, but probably not another year wiser. But I couldn't care less about my birthday or any holiday so I pretty much forgot Thanksgiving as well.



It was hard leaving Manos Amigas after spending all that time there. I really got attached to some of the kids. All-in-all, I spent about 14 weeks volunteering and it was a great experience. And since I really don't have any solid plans I can spend my time as I see
Basílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto Nacional

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
fit. Six months in Colombia is a long time, but it has turned into my 2nd favorite country after Brazil. But I will be going to Brazil later to confirm that it still is my favorite.



I like traveling slowly. If not then your time is spent packing and sitting on buses, and repeat. So now out of the 12 countries in South America (did you know that French Guiana is an overseas region of France) I may just see 6 or 7. But that's OK because this is my time to do what I want to do. It is nice to get to know a place. I mean really live there and get to know an area or neighborhood.



I stayed 2 weeks longer in Ibagué because the road down south to Cali and Ecuador had experienced mud slides and it was closed. Fortunately I went to the bus station a day early to check and see what times the buses left for Cali and found out it was closed. It saved me from packing up all my stuff for no reason. I was told they didn't know when it would open back
Basílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto Nacional

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
up, just call and see. So when I returned to the foundation to let them know I wasn't leaving the next day someone asked me how long would I stay, 2 weeks? And that sounded like a good time frame so I said yes.



So I finally left Ibagué on the 6th of December. I was traveling with someone and we were headed to Cali. I checked bus times a few days before and was told that buses left for Cali every 30 minutes. So we show up at 9:30 am expecting to shortly be headed to Cali. Well as it turns out the next bus didn't leave until 12:30. Good thing that the person I was with knew that we could get a bus to Armenia, about the halfway point and then change buses for Cali. But the road to Armenia was wrought with construction, repairing all the roads and clearing them from the landslides. So what was supposed to be a 3 hour trip turned into a 5 1/2 hour ordeal. Getting into Armenia about an hour before dark and looking at least 3 more hours before getting to Cali I made the command decision
Basílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto Nacional

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
to take a 45 minute bus ride to my favorite place Salento.



It was great to be back in Salento. Reminded me of why I like the place so much. So after 2 days of rest in Salento it was on to Cali. But at the bus station waiting for the bus the person I was with found out that they had a family emergency and couldn't go to Cali. I really didn't care for Cali. It has a reputation for the best Salsa dancing but not really much going on during the day. So I decided to go to Popayán, Colombia which was closer to the border with Ecuador. I will do a blog on Popayán and crossing into Ecuador later.



Needless to say I did make it to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Big cities are nice but I prefer small ones. Quito was OK, it was nice to walk around and explore a new place. But the highlight was going to the equator to Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World). Mitad del Mundo is touristy, but really how many times are you going to be at the equator? I took
Basílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto NacionalBasílica del Voto Nacional

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
a cab there with a guy staying at the hostel I was at, Ray from Toronto, so it was $15 each way. I found out later that others from the hostel took a bus there for only $2, but it took them nearly 2 hours each way.



You have to pay $2 to enter Mitad del Mundo and then another dollar for the astronomy show at the planetarium which is in Spanish. My Spanish still isn't that good but I have enough knowledge and interest in astronomy to warrant spending a dollar on an astronomy show. As it was I was able to understand about 75% of the presentation.



Outside there is a monument and a yellow line delineating the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere. So I did take photos of the line and the monument. There also seems to be one required shot for every tourist. You have to have your picture taken straddling the line with one foot in the northern side and the other foot on the southern side. So did I have my pic taken on the equator? What, haven't you been following my blog? Hell-to-the-no. I never have
Trans Lady CarTrans Lady CarTrans Lady Car

The cab we took to Mitad del Mundo. What does Transladycar mean??
my pic taken. This is Lamont's time to shine. So I reach in my bag to pull Lamont out for his photo op and discover that I forgot to bring him 😞 I didn't realize what a great photo op it would be. So now I am thinking that I have to come back to Mitad del Mundo just so I can get that pic of Lamont.



Ray and I both know that this isn't the real equator. With all the all the advanced technology we have like Google Earth, GPS, etc we can now pinpoint the exact location of the equator. It seems that the actual equator is just shy of 250 meters (about 262 yards) off from where it was thought to be over a hundred years ago. I think that isn't bad considering what they had to work with back in the day. But there is a smaller, actual Mitad del Mundo nearby.



We weren't actually sure how far away it was at the time, but 200-300 meters seemed to sound like what we remembered hearing. Or maybe it was 2 or 3 kilometers, it wasn't far away. We went outside
Mitad del MundoMitad del MundoMitad del Mundo

Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World)
the park and asked a cab driver where the "otro" or other equator was. He didn't seem to understand so then we asked for the "actual" or actual equator was and he still didn't seem to understand. We went to another cab driver and asked him. He said he would take us for $25. Now we had just traveled about 45 minutes from Quito and it only cost $15 so we asked how far it was and the cabbie said about an hour and a half. We asked another cabbie and he said the same thing. We know it isn't that far so we decide to maybe go for lunch and ask wherever we eat at.

We then saw someone in the information booth and asked there. We were told to walk down the road and around a curve. So like 5 minutes later we see the parking lot and real equator. So we still have no clue where the cab drivers though we wanted to go or where they were going to take us. I mean you know a cab driver my take you a roundabout way to increase the fare, but to drive you an extra 1 1/2 hours seems unlikely.



It is $3 for a tour and we have to wait for about 15 minutes for the tour in English. While waiting we visit a shop that sells hand made ponchos, handbags, and rugs. There is the cutest little girl, maybe just shy of 2 years old who is holding a rug up as if she is trying to sell it. I take out my iPhone to take her photo and suddenly there are 4 other people there taking her pic. I guess it happens to her all the time because she starts yelling "noooo" and crying and running away. She returns 2 minutes later and now she has put a rug in a plastic bag and is trying to hand it to someone as if they just brought it. Finally she takes off her knit cap and tries on one of the hats her dad made and is for sale. At this point I couldn't resist and had to take a couple more pics of her, but do it fast before she stars crying again.



When we start the tour it is mostly about the history of Ecuador and its indigenous people. We also find out how shrunken heads are made. Finally it is on to some fun and experiments which are said to be only possible at the equator. Have you ever heard of the Coriolis effect? You get to see it in action here.



You are supposed to weigh less at the equator as well as be weaker. The further away you get from the equator the stronger you get. One of the experiments you hold your thumb and index finger together as tightly as you can and the guide tries to pull them apart. When standing on the northern or southern side of the equator he may not be able to pull them apart depending on how strong the other person is. When standing on the equator the guide can easily pull them apart. Another experiment is that you clasp your hands together interlocking your fingers and raise your arms slightly above your head. The guide will pull your arms down as you resist. Standing on the northern or southern side of the hemisphere you can offer some resistance but standing on the equator there is almost no resistance, your arms come down very easy. Now the guide will tell you some people say you are tired the second time you do one of these experiments and you always stand on the equator the second time you do the experiment.



Next you try to stand an egg on it's end on the head of a nail. Now I head that you can do this on the vernal equinox or first day of spring and I tell the guide this. He said he has heard it as well but you can do it on the equator any day of the year. Ray and I try to balance an egg with no such luck. The guide steps in and does it in 15 seconds or so. We are told if we want we can try after the tour to balance the eggs and if we are successful we will get a certificate.



Now you have to do a basic DUI test. Walk a straight line with your arms outstretched and your head tilted back with your eyes closed. For what ever reason you can't do it on the equator.



Now it is time for the water
Mitad del MundoMitad del MundoMitad del Mundo

The yellow line is supposed to represent the equator. Norte (North) to the right, Sur (South) to the left.
and to see the Coriolis Effect in action. For those of you far removed from 4th grade science class "Water in a pan, sink, or toilet rotates counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. This is due to the Coriolis Effect, which is caused by the rotation of the Earth."



This is very cool and I took video to show what it looks like. After the tour was over I did try to balance an egg on it's end but was unable to.



Anyways I end this post by saying I have had a cough for over a month now. It started the day before I left Ibagué and has continued with me to Salento & Popayán, Colombia, on to Quito Ecuador and now in Canoa. All of the places were rainy and kinda cold except in Canoa where it seemed the cough was finally dying off, but midweek the rains come and here is my cough again. I have been taking cough syrup and one of the ones I brought was called Notusin.

Notusin?? Now everyone has heard of Robitussin and maybe even Tussin, that's the generic brand I buy at Walmart but Notusin? Anyways made me recall a bit from Chris Rock: Bigger & Blacker Enjoy this video. Chris Rock - Robitussin







=============================================================================

Now my friends that
Mitad del MundoMitad del MundoMitad del Mundo

The yellow line is supposed to represent the equator.
was where the post was supposed to end. I just do spell check, upload some photos, maybe a video and that's that. But not me I have to read and re-read, double check spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I also check words and look up things on the interwebs. So all of this takes time just so I can be sure to bring you my valuable readers accurate and correct information. So in looking up info for this post I came across info that directly contradicted what I was told at Mitad del Mundo and had read or seen on TV.



Did you know that you can stand an egg on it's end on any day, anywhere? Standing an egg on end on the Spring Equinox



And as for the Coriolis Effect? Well you wouldn't notice it in everyday life. Bad Coriolis



So let me nutshell it for you in case you aren't interested in a whole lot of reading. Anyone can balance an egg on it's end you just need a level surface and patience. As far as the Coriolis effect you can see it in nature such as hurricanes or cyclones. But the water you see swirling when you
Mitad del MundoMitad del MundoMitad del Mundo

Mitad del Mundo Este (East) Southern hemisphere to the left, Northern hemisphere to the right.
flush the toilet or drain your sink? The direction of rotation of a draining toilet is determined by the way the water just under the rim is squirted into the bowl when it is flushed. The way a sink drains is determined by the way it was filled or the shape of the sink. Most sinks are oval and/or the drain is off center.



To see the Coriolis effect you have to use a very large smooth pan with a very tiny hole in the center that plugs from the bottom. The water has to sit undisturbed for about a week so that there is no motion at all. It would then take a few hours for the Coriolis force to take effect and for you to see it.



So the next time someone mentions the Coriolis effect when they are draining a sink you tell them that is bunk, and hey, you don't even have to thank me for the info.

Of course when I found out I had been duped it caused me much despair and I couldn't finish my blog post for 3 weeks. Or maybe it was 3% despair
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Mitad del Mundo
and 97%!l(MISSING)aziness, who knows?



Anyways this now means I HAVE to go back to Mitad del Mundo. First I have to get a pic of Lamont straddling the equator, and then I have to watch how the tub is filled up with water and tell him he is full of it when he tries to invoke the Coriolis effect. I will look like the genius that I truly am!!


Additional photos below
Photos: 41, Displayed: 32


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Mitad del MundoMitad del Mundo
Mitad del Mundo

Mitad del Mundo Oeste (West)
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Mitad del Mundo

Mitad del Mundo Oeste (West)
Compass at the equatorCompass at the equator
Compass at the equator

My iPhone compass at the equator. No longitude or latitude. Hey it's a compass, not a GPS.
Ecuadorian GirlEcuadorian Girl
Ecuadorian Girl

The cutest little girl trying to sell rugs
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Ecuadorian Girl

Handing the rug off.
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Ecuadorian Girl

Here she is just before she starts saying no and crying because everyone is taking her photo


9th January 2012

welcome back!
lol good to see you back buddy! maybe we can catch a beer in Peru I'm headed on my way on the 28th!

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