Posted in South America on December 30, 2013
Some background info; Back in 1982 a huge monument was erected in Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World City) in what was then thought to be the line of the Equator. It was to replace the smaller monument that had previously been in its place for many years. However, some years later when military GPS came along it actually showed the line was around 240 metres out from where the monument was originally constructed. Now, whilst this may be viewed as a major fail on first appearances, in actual fact given the technology they had at the time when this line was drawn it’s actually pretty impressive that they got it so close. Nevertheless, the monument and tourist village that spawns around it are in some effect pointless. It is not the real equator line.
Now, in my eyes seeing as both lines are situated within walking distance of one another it would make sense to turn them both into sights for tourism. The original site is after all part of the story of the equator line and how it was discovered. What is completely baffling though (and also extremely frustrating) is how the Ecuadorian government simply pretends that the old line is in actual fact the correct one. There is also clearly pressure put on all the staff at Mitad del Mundo not to tell you about the real line too. I swear it was literally like drawing blood from a stone asking staff members at Mitad del Mundo where I could visit the real line! I should add I’d already paid for entrance into Mitad del Mundo at this point and visited the originally plotted line. They were not going to lose any tourism or money from giving me a few simple directions. Still, no-one would tell me.
When members of staff did eventually give me directions, they would send me off in the wrong direction, with very vague instructions, despite the fact I was wearing a bandage on my leg at the time and was clearly hurting from having walked in circles already (based on the directions of other staff members.) Eventually I gave up asking staff and decided to ask some travellers, but they didn’t even know there was a second line nor that the one they had just visited was in fact not the real equator – until that is I told them.
After I did eventually get to the real line I was also told by another traveller there that this may not be it either, and that the tricks they have set up to show the magnetism are indeed just that. Tricks. So I am left with the question did I actually visit the real equator line? Were either of these lines real? And why the hell won’t Ecuador just tell you where the real one is??
The only thing I know for certain is that the Mitad del Mundo, i.e. the city at the centre of the world, is not the real equator line. When you take your picture there at as I did (see above) you’re not standing on the equator. Which is disappointing, even if it was only $2 US to enter. There were many great things about my time recently in Ecuador, but unfortunately this I can not say was one of them!