Our last day in Quito commenced by touring the Archaeological Museum. I was amazed to learn about the different groups of people who had habited this area for over 11,000 years. What struck me was how peacefully the groups had co-existed with evidence supporting trade between the different regions. Each region of the country, namely the jungle, mountains (Andes), and coast needed the other ones to have everything necessary for survival. After our visit to the equator later that afternoon I wondered if maybe living so close to it had somehow fostered the peaceful cohabitation.
In the afternoon we toured a fruit market. Displays of brightly colored fruits and vegetables lined the walls, sitting in their baskets like edible jewels. The colors were rich and saturated. We tasted many fruits I didn’t even recognize. Our guide broke the fruits open with her hands and passed them around for us to examine and taste the gooey, slippery, sweet innards filled with seeds.
After we headed to the Museum at the Centre of the World located at latitude 00’00’00’. The museum is outdoors and filled with lush plants and brightly colored flowers. The tour is interactive and we got to experience the effects of being right on the equator first hand.
In one demonstration the guide filled a portable basin of water on the equator. He removed the plug and the water flowed straight down, no swirl. He repeated the demonstration about 3 feet into the Southern hemisphere. This time we could all see a slight clockwise swirl in the water flowing out of the bottom. He repeated the experiment in the Northern hemisphere. We were amazed to see the water swirl counter-clockwise.
What really blew our minds was learning that the Earth rotates around the equator as the center point and not the poles. When you think about the Earth spinning this way, the swirl is clockwise from the South and counter-clockwise from the North. This is why the wind, currents, and storms in the South rotate clockwise and vice-versa in the North.
After the museum we ate ice cream made with some of the fresh fruits we tasted earlier. Then we headed to another museum showcasing handicrafts from indigenous peoples in Ecuador. We toured the museum, ate a farewell dinner and headed for the airport. I left feeling transformed & balanced. Must have been that walk on the equator.
Happy New Year!