January 6-8, 2008
With 5 hours of sleep I was off to the airport to catch a flight to Quito. As long as I was going to be this close to the equator, I wanted to spend some time at the equator and in the Andes. Cabs are relatively inexpensive in Ecuador so I found a cab driver that spoke English and he took me all around Quito the next few days. Our first adventure was to El Mundo- the equator. There seems to be a bit of confusion as to where the equator actually is, so there are several monuments and lines to mark the location. The first place we stopped has been validated as the equator through the use of GPS. They have a small unassuming sign that straddles a line that indicates the equator. During the tour, they demonstrate several experiments to prove that you are indeed standing on the equatorial line. Reproductions of homes used by the various Indian tribes found in Ecuador are also a part of the tour. The glitzier, touristy la Mitad del Mundo, although marks the equator, is not truly on the equator but several meters off. Here they have a huge monument with north, south, east, and west clearly marked. There are several museums, restaurants and souvenir shops on the grounds as well.