"" Writer's Wanderings: Galapagos Journal - The Middle of the World, Almost

Friday, May 03, 2013

Galapagos Journal - The Middle of the World, Almost

Our lunch for our day in Quito with the Celebrity Cruise Line's precruise was at the Theatrum, a restaurant located on the second floor of the Sucre National Theater. While the food was very good and we got to sample some Ecuadorian dishes, the real treat came in the tenor who surprised us with his musical presentation.

I found out later his name is Stahl and he released an album called Locked In last year. He had a wonderful repertoire of classical and popular music and a voice as clear and sure as I’ve ever heard. He was unbelievable. If I had not been sitting so close, I would have said it was lip syncing to Pavarati. Someone on an earlier tour must have videoed him. Here is a link to hear his Music of The Night.
The rain settled in as we exited the restaurant surrounded by quite a legion of police. They had practically escorted us into the restaurant when we arrived and now they patrolled the perimeter of our group until we were safely back in the buses. I'm guessing that we so obviously were a group of tourists that it was wise to show a police presence and keep the pickpockets away. Not only that but our three buses stopped traffic for a short time as we boarded. I'm sure there would have been some angry drivers otherwise.

Our driver headed north of the city to a place called La Mitad del Mundo where we were to actually stand on the equator. It was a 45 minute drive that turned into an hour because of traffic. At the Mitad del Mundo, stands a large monument marking 0 degrees latitude. Through it and running down a long walkway and through the restaurants and shops that surround it is a yellow line to mark the exact middle of the earth.
Several interesting things were pointed out to us. It is easier to balance an egg here. Gravity has less pull so you weigh less. 

This spot was determined to be 0 degrees latitude by a team of French scientists in 1736. No surprise that they did not have the advantage of a GPS. They used the tools available to them to triangulate the area and come up with that spot as being right on the equator. And they were close. Modern technology has determined that the true line of the equator is about 900 feet to the north of where we stood, or so some would have us believe. All of this of course we found out much later. So we were thrilled to claim we'd stood on the equator. Ah well, close enough, I guess. Next time Bob vows to take his GPS.

 We went up to the top of the monument by elevator and took in the view. Then we descended by the stairs which took you through a museum display at each level depicting several different native communities and eras. At the very bottom was a display for Galapagos, whetting our appetite for what lay ahead.

By the time we returned to our hotel, we had little time for anything other than to dress for dinner—an experience that deserves its own post.

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