The fact that Ecuador is on the equator is merely coincidental. But the fact that Ecuador is on the equator is very interesting, so the other day we went to the Mitad del Mundo to see what happened to us when we went there. Nothing really happened to us, but it was still fun.
We had our great bus ride to the equator. A rapping busker included my beard in one of his spontaneous performances on the bus, which was the first time I had ever featured in any kind of Hip Hop. I never anticipated my body hair to make an appearance in the genre of music before I did, but I was happy enough, so I gave him 50 cents. It would have been a dollar but he included the phrase 'Michael Jackson' three times in the verse he dedicated to us, which I considered lazy.
The prize for the coolest bus stop name must go to 'Mitad del Mundo' – there is something very pleasing about alighting a bus at the Middle of the World.
But, the Frenchies got the location of the equator WRONG. By about 200 metres. Only 200 metres, granted, but if you're going to go down in history as locating the equator, you need to get it right. Sloppy work, Monsieurs. It's like me almost discovering the secret of time travel, but not quite discovering, but still being in Wikipedia as the person who discovered time travel (but was wrong). And having a ruddy great big tower erected saying: “This is where Will Roberts discovered time travel. (entrance $2)”
We felt a little cheated by the Mitad del Mundo, but it's worth going, if only for the llamas, the good ice cream and the extensive playground on the western side.
Some bright spark got out his sat nav a few years ago and found the real middle of the world, which was just over the wall from the Mitad del Mundo. This guy set up a little museum which is much more fun.
Here you can do lots of physics-based-equator experiments. I hated physics at school, but that may have been down to the fact that it was taught by a strange man who smelled of stale coffee and liked to bounce on his chair a little too much for my liking. If I was taught by Bear Grylls and we had field trips to Ecuador I may have taken it at Sixth Form.
The guide also got us to balance an egg on a nail, which is only possible on the equator.
If you close your eyes and walk along the equator you lose your balance very easily. Something to do with one ear being in the northern hemisphere and the other being in the southern hemisphere.
Also, the equator makes you weaker. The guide tried to pull my hands down from a horizontal position when we weren't on the equator. I'm a very very strong grown man with big arms and the little guide couldn't do it, but sure enough, on the equator, the wee chappy could do it with only one hand. A-bloody-mazing. Don't worry, when we got back in the southern hemisphere I slapped the guide for making me look stupid and weak. Stupid guide.
The guide also showed us a shrunken head belonging to some indigenous chap who popped his clogs 150 years ago as well as a horrible little git of a fish from the Amazon which can swim into a man's private member and live there by sticking out some sharp barbs. These two things had nothing to do with the equator at all, but were nevertheless very disgusting indeed.
We are going to the Amazon basin for five days on Monday, so we'll be out of touch. But rest assured, if I go for a dip in the river, I'll wear waterproof swimming trunks.