At Mitad del Mundo in Ecuador, dancers let loose and celebrate the equator every weekend. Didn't I tell you Quitenos love festivities? And on the weekends, you might catch the traditional culture dances.
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They also have more on-stage performers, and at times want the people to participate.
Still, no where else can you tap your foot to the dance at the middle of the world.
Some might argue that it's not worth going to because it's become too touristy, but it's side-by-side with the true equator, Inti-Nan. So why not enjoy the shopping and eating here and be wowed at the true path of the sun?
You don't have to watch the performances if you choose not to.
Between 1979 and 1982 a Mitad del Mundo 30-meter monument tower with a globe at the top emerged 25 km. north of Quito to mark the location of the equator according to French technology of the day. Quitenos celebrate it as symbolic.
Today's technology, the GPS, agrees with the indigenous original location, 200 yards away.
A double reason to celebrate. A double reason to ribbon dance on the ribbon line (when you can get the ribbon dances) that equates itself with the equator.
The ethnographic museum in the monument behind the performance area displays history as you ascend the stairs to the top. The spectacular view offers a bonus.
You can also go up by elevator and descend through history with much more explained on the floor... great way to understand Ecuador from the local point of view... just not very handicap oriented.
Around the area, quaint little shops offer crafts, and the aroma invites you to eat and spend the day here.
The little restaurant Yavani serves great safe food. My vegetarian meal excelled. You can usually tell a good restaurant by the crowds that flock to it.
A little place behind the dance area features a little store with a post office mailbox to mail postcards from to your hometown wherever that may be...postmarked from Mitad del Mundo.
Photos with one foot "symbolically" on one side of the line and one "symbolically" on the other claim the rage here every day.
Inti means sun and nan means path in Quichua. In English - it's simply the equator.
After the symbolic middle of the world tour, Angel drove me to Inti Nan, the Solar Museum - the true Mitad del Mundo.
We passed the corralled llamas through the graveled ground with an open theater to the right of the corral and a couple of grass-roofed huts as he led me to the museum guide where the entrance stood at the time.
I paid my small fee. We followed the guide to really get photographed online - the equator line, that is.
They've since opened an entrance from the side a few hundred feet away from the symbolic equator, and you can easily join a tour group in either English or Spanish after paying the low fee.
The group guide gives you so many intricate facts you wouldn't want to miss, such as why not to pee in the river in the jungle, among other "secrets."
Also, you get to walk into a replica of a jungle home.
A guide demonstrates how water drains straight down over the equator line, and swirls to opposite sides on each side of the line, but some pundits cried fake. They claim it can do the same in other places. But now the guide explains why. Does an egg also stand on end on a nail head elsewhere?
A solar clock marks the time, when the sun is shining, of course. You can set your watch to it. Can you do that elsewhere?
You can test to see if you can walk the (equator) line with your eyes closed as the centrifugal forces pull on you to either side.
Then, in the distance, there's Cayambe Volcano with its cap of snow, the only volcano in the world that straddles the equator.
You weigh less here than at home because gravity has less pull! Do they call this fake? I don't know, but that definitely means a lot to some of us.
One hut displays a shrunken head with hair still growing on it. For any questions on this, get yourself to Quito, get toured over there, and ask! I really didn't want to know.
Unusual displays dot the ground here. One being the invention of the wheel, which the indigenous here claim as their own. Another shows how the indigenous buried their dead and why they buried them in the manner they did, and much more...really intriguing facts.
Before you leave, get the Mitad del Mundo Inti Nan stamp on your passport and impress the ones you left behind at home.
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