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Friday, January 30, 2009

Quito Geocaching and Mitad del Mundo



Today was drizzly and cool. It didn't matter. John and Arnold, two friends from Peru had arrived in the pouring rain on a Lan Peru flight from Lima at 2:45 a.m. That's right, a.m.! I didn't even think the airport would be open, much less the skies clear enough to make the approach. I picked them up, got Arnold to a friend's house and took John to our house and crashed again. At 10 a.m. we met up with Brett and Arnold in the park. Our goal for the day was from John (low_rider73) to find as many caches as he could. Arnold was learning what this crazy sport is all about. We had a great time visiting, catching up on each other's work and mutual friends. In the course of the morning and early afternoon we found a number of caches. We've had a lot of rain lately so we found ourselves doing some maintenance on a number of the caches. We were caching in the clouds most of the morning. After a quick lunch at Corral, a great Colombian hamburger place, we were off to Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the Earth). It sounds like we live in Tolkien's middle earth. We drove the approximate 5 miles north of Quito to the tourist site where French scientist in the 1800's marked the equatorial line. Today there is a nice large monument with the equator line marked on the ground. Then there are the many artisan shops that surround a beautiful colonial town square. John and Arnold had the traditional photo on the equator line. GPS technology has helped clarify where the real equatorial line is located. It is about 300 meters further to the north from the line you see today. The Fake Equator, GC934A, is the oldest geocache in Ecuador. It is a virtual requiring you to find the actual equatorial line by getting to 00.00, take a picture of your GPS and send it in. To do this you end up off the property of the Mitad del Mundo tourist site. You do pay a couple of dollars to get into the tourist site but the real equatorial line is free, just watch out for the big trucks passing by. Man I wish that virtuals were allowed on www.geocaching.com.  
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