The Equator! Any visit to Ecuador must include a visit to zero latitude. Ecuador even means 'Republic of the Equator'. However, this isn't as simple as it may seem: there are two separate sites that claim to be on the Equator. And they're at different latitudes..
Only one thing for it: a visit to both! My intrepid team of Girlguiding volunteers and I set out to to investigate.
The first has a rather charming line painted on the floor, ideal for the posers among our ranks, and an excellent opportunity to break out with some selfie-stick action. And it seems that this is the 'real' equator. At least, it's pretty much at zero latitude.
However, then we made our way to the official, if slightly inaccurately placed, equator monument. Apparently French astronomers calculated this position to be on the equator, and given the equipment available to them at the time, they were pretty close. Having said that, nowadays, we were told that any half-decent sat nav will tell you that you're a bit off, if you were hoping to stand at the middle of the world.
We took a jumping shot anyway, obvs.
Something both sites have in common is extremely 100% convincing and genuine museums of not-at-all dodgy equator science. Because only if you're exactly on the equator can you balance an egg on its end on teh head of a nail.
I got a certificate proclaiming me to be an Egg Master. This was at the 'real' equator site, and our guide was brilliant, explaining and demonstrating all the science (we observed water spiraling in different directions down a plug hole) and we also learned about chocolate production, pre-Incan civilisations local to the area, and got an official equator stamp in our passports.
We ended our visit to the 'fake' equator monument by renewing our Girlguiding promise. We videoed it (and so did another tourist, which was a bit strange) and Jazzy and I presented the team with promise badges to celebrate the occasion. It's certainly the most exciting place I've ever renewed my promise, and it was a great way to make our visit significant to us as leaders within Girlguiding.
P.S. I know it's been a while since any updating has happened by now photos are prepared and I'm gradually hoping to be back with South American adventures and crafty projects :D Yay blogging!