Quito: The Middle of the World
La Mitad del Mundo
October 6, 2013
In 1736, a French geographer and mathematician, Charles Marie de la Condamine, made a measurement that confirmed that this very spot is the middle of the earth. Latitude 0° – 0’ – 0” The equatorial line. Ecuador!
De la Condamine’s measurements also gave rise to the metric system and proved that the earth is not perfectly round, but that it bulges at the equator. *
So here I am, on my very first day in Ecuador, taking photos of the equatorial monument while enjoying the hot sun and chatting with the local Quitaños.
Reserva Geobotánica Pululahua lies just 4km northwest of La Mitad del Mundo. The ancient volcano, Pululahua, was formed when it collapsed leaving a crater 400m deep and 5km wide. Frequently these huge craters fill with water. But here, the crater has a flat and fertile bottom that is used for agriculture.
(I am confident that I will see many more volcanoes in the days ahead.)
At the Plaza Grande in the historical center of Quito, Sunday is the Latin American version of “Sunday in the Park.” The surrounding streets are crowded with hundreds of cyclists, many with their families in tow. Strolling vendors tempt all the little kids, and all the big kids, to enjoy a scoop or two of whipped ice cream.
So far, I am resisting the urge. Tomorrow is another day. (Pastries are my maldecir.)
*Ecuador. Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. 2012. pg 87.