The Sun Also Rises, and Sets

Sundial at the Middle of the World

One of the first things I learned about Ecuador, something I certainly should have known but had never really pondered, is that the sun rises and sets at the same time of day, year round. 6 AM and 6 PM, roughly, are its scheduled times of arrival and departure in Quito (it varies geographically in Ecuador based on the height of the nearest volcano).

This solar consistency has a couple of implications. First, no need for time change. When I arrived, I was on Central Time Zone, but when the US goes through its time change, I’ll be in the Eastern time zone. Second, in order to take full advantage of those 12 hours of daylight, Ecuadorians are, generally speaking, early risers. I am not, and this creates my first conflict with this country. Our clash in circadian rhythms is further complicated by the fact that builders here seem to pride themselves on how thinly and audio-permeable they can make the walls in hostels, houses, and inns. I imagine they have an annual summit with lectures and demonstrations of new methods that have been proven to permit the passage of even more sound, and builders around the country stand and applaud.

The result? I am learning to become an early riser after 40 some years of not ever having had that desire. It isn’t really as bad as I thought it might be.

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