Sometimes, you really should take a guide with you, when you do some things if you want to know the true nature of a place, and Mitad Del Mundo (Middle of the World in English) is one of those places. Not that I lost sleep about what I have learned since last going to this place, but it did annoy me that I was swindled when I went to this place. It is hot as hell there, for sure, your buttcheeks will soak with sweat after 3 steps, or 3 claps if you’re a lady, and you can get a sunburn in less than 5 minutes and not even feel it, so you have to be careful out there. I go and get a huge hat, I get all lathered up with sunscreen, and I drop $25 on a cab to head out to Mitad Del Mundo, I was going to finally see the center of the earth, in the rich city of Quito, in the Pichincha province of Ecuador. I heard many other tourists geared up to see this thing too, man was I stoked. The cab driver was even excited for us going.
Now, personally, I don’t like going to “cities” when I travel, I hate them, in fact. I’d rather hit the mountains, explore some things, layup on a hammock and chill. This time, I did the city thing because Mitad Del Mundo was a big deal to everyone I mentioned it to, it was a great conversation starter and when I got there, wow was it packed with many people from around the world! The place is overwhelming, for sure, you’ll do a lot of walking. Officially referenced in tourist sites as “Ciudad Mitad del Mundo”, its most visible and valuable structure is the Monument to the Equator, a 100-foot tall structure created right on the center of the earth*, with GPS coordinates of 0°00′08″S 78°27′21″W. That is what is in the handout I had about Mitad Del Mundo. Now, I’m not a GPS specialist, but I remembered thinking, “wait, shouldn’t that be all ZEROES if this Monument is supposed to be on the exact point of the middle of the world??? hmmm I should have known something was afoot, regardless, it was a beautiful day, great people all around, a couple of drinks already in the system, I was good! Look, everyone I asked said this was the center of the earth, they can’t all be
liars uninform, right? I mean, even the guy selling me water told me this was the center of the earth, it had to be true.
Ecuador touts being on the Equator line of the world as a major selling point to tourists, the supposed dived between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and geographically, that’s correct. So the Monument was put up at the converging point of North, East, West, and South, and Mitad Del Mundo points you in this direction to, as the center of the whole location revolves around the Monument. Finished in 1982, after replacing a much smaller monument created 50 years earlier, the current Monument is an iron/concrete structure, finished off with the volcanic rock called andesite. The monument is an homage to the French and Spanish scientists/astrologers/geographers who were surveying the earth’s equator, in various places, when they made their way to Ecuador, in 1736. This was called the French Geodesic Mission. Now, when I heard that, I immediately squinted my eyes and scrunched my face to that news of the scientists of that YEAR. 1739 (concluded studies by then)… hmmm how accurate could scientists be about the center of the world, given that they had no GPS nor satellite views of the Earth??? Something didn’t click with me then, not to discredit the experts, but with no GPS?? eeehhh but I was too busy enjoying the site to process any of the info.
It had to be the middle of the earth, come on! I mean I was taken to an exhibition where the following was happening:
I got to balance an egg on its point! That had to prove that all of the gravitational forced all aligned perfectly and would allow the egg to stand up, right?
F#$ckin NO! It’s no different from doing it at home, and I did it at home too, later. uhhh They’ll do this balancing trick and a trick with water draining clockwise versus counterclockwise (Coriolis Effect) to prove you’re on the equator. lol
I got to watch some dancing, that kind of get-down-and-boogey clearly can’t happen anywhere else but at the Equator, I’m positive! Look at that balance. How they didn’t sweat to death is a true miracle because I wasn’t going to do all of that moving when it was like 92 degrees out and climbing.
I went to get my passport stamped, to prove that I was at the Equator line, at ZERO LATITUDE/LONGITUDE dude! I came back home, showed some Ecuadorian buddies of mine, what I had seen, and they asked: “oh did you go to the real Equator line?!” I was like “yeah, right there, can’t you see?! I balanced an egg, watched dances, I even have the sunburn plus peeling skin to prove it!” and they laughed, then told me that the TRUE ZERO LATITUDE/LONGITUDE was not at Mitad Del Mundo, but that it was located some other place north, a place I found out was called “Intiñan Solar Museum” . WTF dude!!! I fact checked it and sure enough, everyone was saying that I wasn’t really at the center of the earth! lol It was this museum thing north of Mitad Del Mundo which was the reallocation – however, that place being the true center of the earth has apparently been debunked too, recently. WTF dude? So I feel better about being scammed now. See, everyone is going to tell you that Mitad Del Mundo is the center of the earth because there is a lot of money made on this place, and a lot of side jobs and hustles center around this open-roam attraction. The Intiñan Solar Museum is privately owned, so hustlers are not allowed there. So it makes sense that everyone is all in on this Mitad Del Mundo, and surely everyone informing us about Mitad Del Mundo clearly knows of Intiñan Solar Museum but won’t tell you about it nor take you there unless you demand it.
Anyway, you will still see a lot more at Mitad Del Mundo, but I’m pissed that the people at Mitad Del Mundo were hush about telling me about the Intiñan Solar Museum, especially since it’s like 10 minutes walk north!!! Ughhhh whatever man! lol I mean, considering it was the 1700s, you can’t be mad at the scientists, they weren’t that far off, but I can clearly see that local workers know of this other site and are not trying to tell you to go there too. They have too much to protect in ensuring that people go to Mitad Del Mundo, as it generates a LOT of income for Quito so I’m not mad at them, and it’s definitely a pretty site worth going to see. But they screwed me there! Now, when I talk to Ecuadorians (who have heard that I went to Quito) who want to know if I went to Mitad Del Mundo, I tell them “NO… never heard of it!” lol