Thursday, June 7, 2018

YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS: Equator line an exotic tourist attraction site


The other day, I was more than astonished to read somewhere that Kenya and Uganda next-door are minting millions in foreign exchange from being two of the thirteen countries across which the Equator Line ‘passes.’

These are Brazil; Colombia; Congo Republic (Brazzaville); DRC (Kinshasa); Ecuador; Gabon; Indonesia; Kenya; Kiribati; Maldives; Sao Tome & Principe; Somalia, and Uganda – named here strictly in alphabetical order.

The Earth’s Equator is about 40,075km (24,901 miles) long, of which 78.7 per cent of which lies across water, and 21.3 per cent over land.

Coming down to (Planet) Earth, ‘the Equator is a line notionally drawn on the earth equidistant from the North and South Poles, thus dividing the earth into northern and southern hemispheres – and constituting the parallel of latitude 0°.

Apparently Kenyan and Ugandan authorities have literally painted lines along the Equator across sections of their lands. Uganda has also created the ‘Uganda Equator Monument’ at Kayabwe town in Mpigi district

Both the lines and monuments have become world-famous, attracting tourists in hordes.

The Equator in Kenya runs across Nanyuki and Nyahururu towns, as well as over Mount Kenya and Mount Elgon.

Reportedly, tourists come from far-off lands to Kenya and Uganda, where they make a beeline for the human-painted Equator line and the .

Uganda Equator.’ Their intention, wish and hope is to stand astraddle the painted line – one foot planted in the Northern Hemisphere; the other in the Southern Hemisphere – and take ‘selfies.’

They post the snapshots on the WWW for their countryfolk and the world to see them strutting simultaneously along both hemispheres… Boy!

As the (mean) Sisters of Fate would have it, Tanzania isn’t positioned to exploit the Equator as a tourist attraction.

The nearest that the country could be said to be ‘touched’ by the Equator is that the imaginary line cuts across the northern portion of Lake Victoria, whose waters also wash the Tanzanian shore to the south…

Tanzania is also denied the opportunity to gainfully exploit the other world-famous line, the Greenwich Meridian.

Running north-south – slicing the globe in two: the Western and Eastern Hemispheres – the Greenwich Meridian is thousands of kilometres too far to be exploited as a tourist attraction by Tanzania.

So-named because it passes through Britain’s Greenwich station, the Meridian became the benchmark for global timekeeping to which all other world time zones are referenced.

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) means ‘the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich that was adopted as the standard time in a Zone that includes the British Isles.’

In the event, hundreds of thousands of tourists from the world over visit the Greenwich Meridian – if only because it separates East from West. [Please, please, please, this has nothing to do with the ‘Capitalist’ West and/or the ‘Commie’ East; it’s mostly geographical…].

Tanzania can never take a leaf out of Kenya’s or Uganda’s books on ‘Equatorial Tourism’ – and still less from Greenwich Tourism.

But, wait a minute… Tanzania is coming up with a relatively extraordinary idea of a lodge, the ‘Oligilai Maasai Lodge,’ in the middle of the Kilimanjaro and Meru mountains, built using ‘native’ materials and 1920s style!

This… Sorry I’ve run out of editorial space! Till next time… Cheers!