Sometimes one never visits the closest places that are right in front. For me, one of those places was Mitad del Mundo (the monument on the equator) until Sunday. I went alone since most of my friends were travelling or busy. The location itself was not incredible but worth checking out. However, the trip signified a victory for me. I figured out how to take the bus to Mitad del Mundo, not without a mistake. First I ended up taking a bus to a different bus station in the far north of Quito instead of the station I intended to go to. There were buses to the correct station luckily.
There is a small town close to the monument, where I got off the bus. It was very dusty because all of the roads and sidewalks were under construction. I decided to eat lunch at a small restaurant with lots of Ecuadorian families inside. The meal only cost $2 and overall was good, except that the meat was really tough.
Next I went to the actual site. It cost $3 to enter the site, which is really a giant complex with shops, restaurants, a stage, multiple museums, and the giant monument. I started by getting my picture taken on the “equator” in front of the monument. The reason I put quotes is because the monument was built on a site that is a few hundred yards away from the real equator by mistake. Next I entered the monument for $3. It had a staircase through the center, which housed a museum that represents all of the indigenous cultures, province-by-province in Ecuador. At the top, there was a really nice view of the land surrounding the complex.
I really wanted to go to another museum that supposedly is on the real equator, just outside of the complex, where they do scientific demonstrations of the effects of the equator. I visited many other museums beforehand, and then inquired about it. The man I asked ended up telling me that it isn’t the real equator either (the real equator is in the street), and that everything they do at that museum is just tricks.
The end of my trip was also great. There was a couple from Argentina trying to figure out how to get to Centro Historico, and I was able to help them, signifying a victory of my knowledge of Spanish and the city. Then I got talking to a man from Costa Rica on the bus back. It turns out that he is a graduate student, studying geology and taking a class in Quito. We had a long conversation, and he complimented me on my Spanish.