Day 51 - The Middle of the World


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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito
November 24th 2018
Published: November 26th 2018
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Still waking earlier than I wanted but that’s fine. We went down for breakfast at 08:00 and out the door just past 09:00. We decided to get a taxi for the ride out to La Mitad del Mundo Or The Middle of The World, meaning the equator. There is a big monument built by the Government in 1972 (replacing a previous small monument) marking the equator which the French Geodesic Mission had marked out in 1746. However, since then the World Geodetic System, used in modern GPS systems indicates the equator is actually 240 metres north of that line. That correct line is marked out in a private museum called the Museo Intinan. Interestingly, when we told our driver where we wanted to go, he took us to the Museo Intinan.

We arrived at 10:20 just in time for the English speaking tour and a young man took us through the exhibits which included real shrunken heads, full size replicas of huts used by the pre-Inca people, examples of weapons and other implements. At the end came the fun bits, where he demonstrated with a tub full of water how putting it on the the equator, the water drained out straight downbut on the south side of the equator the water spun clockwise and on the north anti-clockwise. The spins were subtly as he explained that the further away you get from the equator, the more pronounced is the spin. He also reckons it is easier to balance an egg on a nail-head when on the equator and everyone had a go and also it is harder to close your eyes and walk a straight line on the equator. The latter two I have my doubts about, but it was fun anyway. Took about one hour here.

Our driver ended up staying with us for the whole day which ended up costing $US110 but as with the La Paz driver, it did make things more convenient for us and it was worth the money. A tour just to the Mitad del Mundo was $US45 each and that did not include the Museo Intinan. This way we were in control of what we wanted to do, which is how we like it. So after the Museo Intinan, we were driven the very short distance to the official, but incorrect equator museum, run by the government. It is a large park with several shops and buildings with permanent and temporary exhibits and it was another fun thing to do. Spent nearly two hours in this park.

We then asked the driver to take us to the Teleferico Quito which is the cable car that takes you up Mt Cruzloma. Unfortunately it wasn’t a good day for this as normally you can see all the volcanoes near Quito but it was too cloudy and misty and we could only see the city. You can win them all when traveling. Bt the time we got to the top, as it is a very long cable ride up, we were quite hungry so shared a chicken empanada between us and got down to meet the driver again in 60 minutes as arranged.

By now we weren’t far from the city so asked him to drive us to the old Colonial part of the city. We had 2-3 hours to walk around before dark and and managed to see the major churches and points of interest in Quito. As in most places the centre of attention was the main square and it was a typical hubbub of activity. Quito seems like a nice city to hang around it. Funny thing is that the guides, hotel staff and our driver all gave us very strong warnings to keep our things like phones and cameras hidden from view and to carry our back-packs in front of us. They even said to take a taxi back to the hotel no matter how short the distance at night We did take some extra care at first but the are so many police around the main areas that we never felt threatened at all.

After admiring the old colonial architecture we took a taxi back to the hotel for a little rest and video chats with family before walking to the Mama Clorinda which numerous people have recommended to us as serving good authentic Ecuador food and it was very nice and very reasonably priced. We shared two dishes of lamb and pork plus traditional potato soup.

Back at the hotel I managed to book us a last minute tour to the Cotopaxi Volcano which will now be our all day activity for tomorrow.


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