Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cruising to South America, The Center of the World, Quito, Ecuador

January 16th 2012.  Our 2nd day in Quito took us to the Center of the World park, just outside Quito.  This location marks where the Northern and Southern hemisphere meet and the Equator runs through it.  The Latitude is 0.00.  This monument was established years ago, when square riggers crossed the ocean and before GPS and satellite navigation.  A monument was built in 1936, then a few years later the 'real equator' was established about 240 meters down the road.  So another park was established.

The monument to the Center of the Earth

This monument salutes explorers from all over the world, the history of travel and the efforts explorers made to map the world.

The interesting thing about the whole equator location becomes even more complex after a discovery a few years ago was made public. A small plane/ultralight flew over a mountain and found a monument to the equator, put there by ancient peoples thousands of years ago.  A GPS fix confirmed that this monument was also on the equator.  Another piece of lost knowledge that raises questions about how the ancients knew what they knew.

Linda, one foot in each hemisphere

Further down the road is the true spot.

Entrance the museum/park
 The 'true' equator has a small park/museum, managed by the native inhabitants with educational displays and examples of tribal homes, totems, etc.  Here, you can straddle the equator, balance an egg on a nail, observe water going straight down a drain, then revolve clockwise, or counter-clockwise when the drain is moved from one hemisphere or the other.  The magnetic field of the planet is balanced here therefore almost non-existence.
Samples of the historic tribal rituals

 The ancient culture practiced ancestor worship.  Mummies have been found, entombed in a fetal position within excavated villages.  The living relatives would visit the tombs, leaving offerings of food and other items for the family members on the
'other side'.

A totem park.  Totems from ancient cultures around the world or collected and displayed here.

Standing on the equator
 Spent the day visiting the park and trying to balance an egg on a nail.  (Never did do it.)  While some would find the displays and exhibits a little 'hokey' the effort to show the science behind the planet's rotation and magnetic field is real.
One of the totems dedicated to the Mayan gods.

 Samples of the tribal homes and artifacts from the various tribes in the South American jungle.
Inside a tribal home

Samples of shrunken heads

The methods and knowledge of how to shrink a head is alive and well.  The guide through the exhibit was very knowledge of tribal lore.  At the end we actually saw a shrunken human head.  No photos allowed.   Talk about disturbing!

Our reception when we got back to the shi
 We flew back from Quito, taking a bus to meet the ship at the next port, Guayaquil.  The ship kept going while we were in Quito.  We were greeted at the dock by music, champagne and a reception line.

There was a big banner on the ship 'Welcome Home'.  The reception, music and champagne actually acted as a distraction and camouflage.  While all of us leaving the buses were being welcomed back with champagne and music, behind us drug sniffing dogs went over our luggage, baggage handlers took our luggage to the ship, and anything suspicious was set aside.  Discretely uniformed police, along with the dogs went thru the suspicious luggage before the bag was allowed on the ship.

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