Monday, August 18, 2008

Mitad del Mundo

This photograph is dedicated to my brother-in-law Paul.

Rhonda looking out from the monument at the Middle of the World.

Rhonda on the South, Barry on the North.

Barry on the South half of the world, Rhonda on the North.

Our feet at the equator... worlds apart?

Our guides for the day, Marcos and Saywa.

Marcos also took us to a place called Mitad del Mundo, Middle of the World. A monument marks the location of the equator, separating the northern half of the world from the southern half. Tourists from all over the world come to this place to photograph themselves with a foot on each hemisphere. We were no different.

Marcos told us during the visit that this is not the true middle. In fact, the true equator passes about 5 kilometers away, where an ancient ceremonial site marks the spot. The French and Spanish scientists who marked the center line ignored the old traditions. When GPS arrived, they found the old indigenous site had been correct. Marcos asked the tour guide about this. The young man was very polite, but became somewhat defensive. He acknowledged the truth of the indigenous site, but said both sites are correct. The equator "fluctuates," he said. Perhaps this is true.

No matter. We had a wonderful day. We enjoyed participating in the new tradition of standing at (or near) the Middle of the World.

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