Travel Tips

The Three Equators of Ecuador

Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador
July 2010
Age: 20

Word On The Street

I once heard a rumor that if you flush a toilet in the Northern Hemisphere it spun in one direction and somehow spun in the opposite direction when flushed in the Southern Hemisphere. Looking back, I could have easily called my grandma in Peru to confirm this phenomenon but I suppose I wasn’t that clever back then. Regardless, it wasn’t the flush of a toilet that sparked my curiosity, it was simply an egg. Word on the street was you could balance an egg on its tip at the equator.

“No way” was my response when I first heard it. I could cook you the meanest scrambled eggs on the East Coast and already discovered one of nature’s greatest mysteries: which came first, the chicken or the egg? But balance an egg? That was beyond me. If I had to go all the way to the equator to put the rumors to rest then so be it. And what better country to visit the equator than the country named after it? Ecuador.

My mom, sister and friend Dulce made an Ecuador/Colombia trip out of it for a few weeks. However, we’re not here to discuss all the ground we covered in Ecuador or one of the greatest mistakes I have ever made in my entire life in Bogota. No my friends, today we are here for one purpose and one purpose alone. To balance an egg.

1st Equator ~ La Mitad del Mundo

It doesn’t get any easier than having a country named Equator that as a place a few miles north from the center of it’s capital Quito called Middle of the World to find the equator. What more do you want? Well, the problem is that you don’t get just one equator my friends, you get three.

After asking the guy working at the hostel which bus to take to La Mitad del Mundo we headed north. Within an hour, the bus driver told us we had arrived at the official  equator and we got off. We just followed the signs and in a matter of minutes we arrived! There were many pictures and names of international leaders and famous people from around the world who traveled thousands of miles to stand on two hemispheres at once.

The official equator was full of love…

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Plenty of cuddles…

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A few attitude problems…

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and just an overall place that rocks your world…

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I of course, being the proper gentleman that I am, ensured a professional picture to be captured of my triumphant moment…

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Like many travelers, we ourselves did our research prior to arriving to La Mitad del Mundo and learned about the actual equator which wasn’t the one we were currently at. Although unofficial, the actual equator lied outside and around the park we were currently in, at a place called Museo de Sitio Intiñan. We decided to double check with a local shopkeeper just in case.

“Yes, once you leave here it’s around the corner, there you can balance an egg” he told us confirming my ultimate desire. Yet the whispers continued, the murmurs hadn’t ceased. In his eyes was yet another secret. One that would soon be revealed.

“What is it?” we asked our new friend. “Tell us.” we pleaded.

He looked right. He looked left. I nodded to confirm his back was clear. “There’s another” he said leaning towards us in a whisper “There’s a third equator that few know about and it’s the real equator.”

After he risked it all and quietly shared with us the details, he made us swear to tell no one the source of this forbidden knowledge. “I could get in serious trouble” he reminded us for the second time. The officials didn’t like local shop keepers deterring tourists away.

“Don’t worry Manuel Robles from Booth 2A, you’re secret is safe with us.”

2nd Equator ~ Museo de Sitio Intiñan

But before we get to his secret, we decided to adventure to the museum around the corner and check out the actual equator we had read about. We left the park and walked a few meters north. We easily found the entrance…

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Followed all the signs…

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hiked up the trail…

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and saw the museum in all its glory…

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… from the outside because it was already closed. We had failed. Sadness filled our souls…

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There was nothing we could do and no one to call…

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So we decided to leave. However, thanks to Manuel Robles from Booth 2A, there was still hope.

3rd ~ Restaurante Joy’s

All we had were simple instructions: walk up the road and Restaurant Joy’s will be on your left. It’s a restaurant that 7 years later is still not tagged in Google. A restaurant that you wouldn’t even think is a restaurant based on it’s outwards appearance…

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Image from Google Maps
If not for the Restaurante Joy’s sign, you might continue your search for food on route E28 during a time of dire hunger…

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Image from Google Maps
So we walk in and the owner asks where we would like to sit. “On the equator please” is our obvious answer.

“Come with me” she says and takes us out the back door of her restaurant to a small, square, white table for one, supported by a thick, short pole cemented into the ground. The table stood right on top of a golden, yellow line. She gave us an egg and we knew what to do.

This wasn’t the official equator nor the actual equator. This was the real equator. We came all the way from a small suburb in Virginia, U.S.A. to Restaurante Joy’s in Ecuador just to balance an egg and we did just that. We have our HD pictures to prove it:

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Special thanks to Dulce (below) for having her camera that day and the pics today!

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Having the inability to directly point at the object of focus is besides the point. I promised the owner of Restaurante Joy’s that one day I would share with the world this secret equator. She was great, very hospitable and told us all about the equator through her restaurant. She mentioned that a few years back, several different gringos came with their GPS and told her that the real equator crossed through her restaurant. She had large pictures up in the back to let everyone know:

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Yet she didn’t post anything in the front in fear of local officials’ retribution.

We of course had dinner there. I can’t remember everything we we ate but I’ll tell you one thing. They have cuyes (guinea pigs) running around a small fenced-in area in the back. Pick the one you want and it will soon come back crunchy on your plate. My mom definitely did:

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Watch yourself though, they still put up a fight beyond the grave and almost bit Dulce’s finger off! And no, it does not taste like chicken…

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A Favor

Do I know which of the three equators is the most definite actual real equator? Of course not. People are full of truths and people are full of lies. What I do know is to make sure you always keep an open mind and ask questions.

I’ve searched online recently and couldn’t find any information on the real equator line at Restaurante Joy’s. I did however find other possible equator lines like La Mitad del Mundo Reloj Solar in Quitsato for example. Whether the real equator runs through multiple sites, one, or none is up for debate.

However, the chance to stand on both hemispheres at once will always be near the top of the list of every traveler. So when you go to the equator in Ecuador and if you decide to balance an egg on the table out back of Restaurante Joy’s, do me a favor. Tell la jefa of the restaurant that the 3 Peruvians and 1 Bolivian that came to check out the real equator behind her house in the summer of 2010 finally kept their promise to tell the world about her restaurant. Coffee on me if you do.

Safe travels everyone!

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© 2017, Traveling is my Religion, All Rights Reserved

2 Comments on “The Three Equators of Ecuador

  1. Wow! I had no idea that you could do that at the equator. Adding this to my never ending bucket list!

    P.s. Loved the “cuddling” alpacas

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