Equator - December 2014

I finally filled a gap in my photo collection.

Not that I ever intentionally planned it as a sort of 'photo series', it more or less just turned out that way.

I have been at 90° North.

GPS at the North Pole Me and tent near North Pole Fresh air at the North Pole

I've also been at a 45° North marker, next to a street in Romania.

45 deg north marker, Romania 45 deg north marker, Romania Me at 45 deg north

In New Zealand, I have been at 45° South.

45 degrees south 45 degrees south 45 degrees south

And I have been at 90° South as well.

Me at the Geographic South Pole Me, leather jacket and GPS at the Geographic South Pole South Pole. And me.

I've also been at 0° longitude.

Prime Meridian Prime Meridian and me Prime meridian separating eastern and western hemisphere

So there's -90°, -45°,    , 45°, 90°.

That left a bit of a gap.

And I visited 0° longitude, but never 0° latitude.

Of course, I crossed the Equator a couple of times, but never on ground level.

So when I found out that I'd be traveling to Belém, that got me thinking.

Belém was the closest I ever got to the Equator (on the ground), but unfortunately, it is still about 1.5 degrees south of the Equator (roughly 160km). And even if you rent a car and drive up north, you're still about half a degree short of the Equator when you reach the coast at Salinópolis.

And even if you get a ferry to Ilha de Marajó, rent a car there and somehow drive to the north end of the island you're still 25 km short of the Equator. (And it doesn't really seem as if there are roads going up to the north coast. Probably you can't even get as far north as Salinópolis is.)

But, fortunately, there is a city in Brazil, named Macapá, which is built right on the Equator.

And, at least by Brazilian standards, it is nearby (which translates into about 400 km or roughly an hour of flight time). And there's a direct flight between Belém and Macapá a couple of times a day.

And Macapá has a Equator monument, so it would not just be an image of a GPS showing 0 00.000°N (or maybe 0 00.000°S), but a 'proper' photo opportunity.

In essence, I flew to Macapá and spent two nights there, just to take this picture:

Me standing on the Equator

Of course, I took more pictures than that, but this is the one that matters.

Conveniently, the hemispheres are color-coded on the monument. The 'green' side is the northern hemisphere (as it was mid-December, that means that it is late autumn, almost winter there) and the 'yellow side' is the southern hemisphere (late spring, nearly summer)

Equator marker, Macapá, Brazil Equator marker plaque, Macapá, Brazil Equator marking concrete block, Macapá, Brazil

A longish, concrete block marks the Equator.

Equator marking concrete block, Macapá, Brazil Equator marking concrete block, Macapá, Brazil Equator marking concrete block, Macapá, Brazil Equator marking concrete block, Macapá, Brazil Equator marking concrete block, Macapá, Brazil

Although it is one of the (two) main attractions of Macapá (the other is an old fort), it does not seem to pull a lot of visitors, as is evident from this panoramic view.

Equator memorial panorama, Macapá, Brazil

And that is on a Saturday morning. Presumably, there would be even fewer visitors during the week, but technically, that's not possible.

Underneath the platform with the Equator marker, there's a little shop with tourist stuff and a info room, where you can see a short video about the place (which, admittedly, strongly goes along the lines of "We built a Equator memorial here, since this is where the Equator is"). And you are positively encouraged to watch that - if only because the people employed there are a bit bored and quite happy to do something, even if it's just showing the place to sit down and press the 'Play' button.

I was wondering a bit why the memorial marker has three access doors on the back. It's not really as if the Equator needs any maintenance.

Equator marker access doors

My assumption is that that is access to the old power lines - in some old pictures, there are some neon letters on the marker and other illuminations, but they are long gone (and even then - wouldn't one door has done as well?)

Another thing in Macapá that's right on the Equator is this stadium.

Football stadium at Equator

It's been built in such a way that the middle line of the football field (and as this is Brazil, football is 'soccer', not 'American football') follows the Equator, so there's always a team playing the northern hemisphere against another team on the southern hemisphere.

Unfortunately, the stadium is only opened for games, so I couldn't take a guided stadium tour and take some pictures.

I wasn't quite sure what the GPS would show at the Equator itself ('North' or 'South'), but internally it seems to more digits than it shows on screen and then uses 'N' or 'S' according to that.

GPS showing S 00 00.000 GPS showing N 00 00.000

And that's about all from my visit to the Equator.

So now the series -90°, -45°, 0°, 45°, 90° is complete (and, luckily, people don't put up markers at places like 22.5°) and I can move on to slightly more interesting travel destinations.

So here are some parting shots of the memorial at Macapá:

Equator memorial, Macapá, Brazil, seen from stadion Equator memorial, Macapá, Brazil, side view Equator

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