The third and final part of my trip across the Equator in Ecuador involved a special trip to another touristy museum, this one featuring slightly more gimmicks and quirky tricks than the Museo De Ethnografico. I walked round the corner from the city (the unusual Ciudad Mitad Del Mundo – almost a custom built city which straddles the Equator) that is situated in both hemispheres, and into the Museo de Sitio Intinan, also known by two other names on the brochures and tickets: Museo Inti Nan In Situ and Inti-Nan Solar Museum.
This museum was open plan, almost maze style and without a clear entrance or entrance fee. Alas, I didn’t pay to get into the museum, just strolled up a street, across a bridge and into the open air museum.
And it was free to walk around, however I soon realised that there were guides showing you the tricks and that they were asking for tickets, so I got a ticket off one of the guides and joined in the tricks on show. Of which there were a few surprises. The ticket cost 3 Ecuadorian Dollars, which are of course just US Dollars…
My guide was local Ecuador lady called Yvette, a lady proud of her country and its relevance to the world based on its positioning on the Equator.
Where are we again? A globe with the equator marked sits exactly on the equator.
The tricks and gimmicks have to be seen in person right there and then, and yes it is touristy.
One of them is your strength disappears on or near the equator. Yvette could easily push my hands up or down on the equator against my will.
She also did this to the other guy and girl on our tour.
There are facts and figures about the Equator that you may not know and you learn a lot of them from the booklet, guide and information points in the museum.
Walking on the true Equator with my Northern Ireland flag.
Standing on the REAL EQUATOR – it is believed the touristy Equator inside Ciudad Mitad Del Mundo is NOT the actual Equator. Here inside the Museo De Sitio Intinan, a red line draws what they class as the actual Equator.
Next to the story of the water. I had never believed this theory until now. BUT water goes down the plughole in a sink a different way in Australia than it does in England. It’s hardly the thing you notice as you’re emptying the bath or sink, is it? But having lived in both countries and both hemispheres I still didn’t believe it.
But alas, it’s true proved here in Ecuador. We used the same sink to prove it and moved the sink to different places…
And on the red line, the true equator, the water ran straight without a ripple right down the plughole in the sink. I saw it with my own eyes and believe it. There are a few videos at the bottom of this post showing the water flow in the different locations.
I couldn’t manage to balance the egg myself, on a nail, on the equator. It takes a steady hand, which I don’t have.
Then we got a sample of old style Ecuadorian housing and lifestyle next as we went into an enclosed part of the museum – at least out of God’s beating sun which had be scorched and sweating all day.
We visited a guinea pig den and the question was asked if anyone had tried guinea pig or “cui” an Ecuadorian culinary delight. I raised my hand as I had tried it in Peru on Christmas Day. I wasn’t a big fan of it and will probably never eat it again, but it was interesting none the less.
Our guide told us some interesting and amusing tales. In the Amazon parts of Ecuador they have these lethal fish that crawl inside your body. They do this when you are swimming. And they are attracted to your reproductive parts, the penis and vagina or the willy and fanny. Our guide giggled and almost flirted with the males amongst us as she told us this story, asking if we’d ever swam naked. I told her I was probably put off doing that now after her story but had done that before. Yvette was another lady on my long list of travels that I was attracted to, at least personality wise, so I did get a photo with her before I left the museum.
Another tale that was told was about a tribe that killed people and made them smaller by burning the dead bodies, restoring old dead people as some kind of luck or black magic. There was an eeriness about this tale. The Tzantza as they were known chopped off people’s heads and shrunk them using them as a “trophy of war” we got to see one of these, the steps of which are outlined above and look away if you’re squeamish.
Standing on the equator in the middle of the world I envisaged a Poirot or Jonathan Creek style mystery. We were then shown the shrunken dead man’s head, restored. Quite a horrific sight to be honest.
With Yvette my guide.
There were Ecuadorian hats for sale. I didn’t buy one, but wore one for a photo. They protect you from the sun apparently, that’s me and the lovely Yvette my guide. She also invited myself and the other guys to eat a late lunch together but I declined, as had seen enough for one day there and content to head back to the hostel to rest.
This museum had been well worth the visit, and the region also had an inactive volcano which could be viewed close by. I turned down the chance to see that as you cannot do everything on your travels, and it would have been late when I got back to Quito, I actually fancied getting back to the hostel for an afternoon sleep (I managed about an hour’s kip later which was a rarity for me on my travels).
Content with my experience in “the city in the middle of the world” (Ciudad Mitad del Mundo), and the fact that I had now been in the northern hemisphere in EVERY calendar year (just about though – it was late December 2010!), it was time to get a bus back to Quito a city I would explore more of before heading further north.
Where – Museo De Sitio Indinan, Via a Calacali (autopista Manuel Cordova Galarza a 200 mts del redondel de la Mitad del Mundo via Calacali)
Cost – 3 Dollars (US/Ecuadorian)
Tour Guide – Yvette (Ecuador)
Opening Hours – 9.30 am – 5.30 pm
Weather – Baking
Nationalities Met – Ecuadorian, Dutch, English
Interesting facts I learnt –
1. You weigh less on the equator
2. You can balance an egg on a nail on the equator
3. Water goes straight down the plughole on the equator (korioli’s centrifugal forces)
4. Ecuador has fish that swim up yer willy
5. The Shuar tribe used to shrink dead people’s heads as a “trophy of war”
6. Snakes, lizards and spiders are all common in this area (saw them all in this area)
7. Guinea Pigs are consumed just as much in Ecuador as they are in Peru
Key Song –
BRIGHT EYES – THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD:
STAKKA BO – DOWN THE DRAIN:
My Videos –
WATER ON THE EQUATOR:
PART 1 – WATER GOING CLOCKWISE IN NORTHERN HEMISPHERE:
PART 2 – WATER GOING ANTI- CLOCKWISE in SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE:
PART 3 – WATER GOING STRAIGHT DOWN THE PLUGHOLE ON THE EQUATOR:
EGG BALANCING – YVETTE BALANCES A RAW EGG ON A NAIL:
YVETTE’S SPEECH ABOUT ECUADOR’S IMPORTANCE:
ON THE TRUE EQUATOR INSIDE MUSEO DE SITIO INTINAN:
CIUDAD MITAD DEL MUNDO – THE EQUATOR: