On our last day in Ecuador we took a bus tour which would make several stops on its way to Otovalo, where we would have time to shop in the nation’s largest tourist market which features many textiles. This would be our last time to shop before taking the Red Eye for home that night. So we were greatly anticipating the shopping experience and just visiting the other stops because that’s what the tour did. We just wanted to get to Otovalo.
The day before, as we returned to Quito by car, we had stopped at the Center of the Earth. I recalled how thrilled I was the first time I stood astraddle the yellow line depicting the equator with one foot in the northern hemisphere and other in the southern. I was eager for my teen companions to have that same experience.
They seemed to be thinking “So what’s the big deal?” as they grudgingly stood for their mandatory photo. I thought they didn’t even realize the significance of the moment, but who was I to judge? Surprise, surprise! In her report to the church after we got home, Shelby told how it made her feel – standing in the northern hemisphere while her boyfriend was in the southern.
The equator is marked with a huge monument and there are many shops available to purchase cheap to high quality souvenirs. In our country, we would call the area a national park.
Then, the very next day our tour bus stopped at the “True Center of the Earth”. What’s this? No huge monument here, no shops either. It is more like a state park but without all the fineries we see in our state parks.
In 2005, surveyors with today’s advanced equipment redid the equatorial survey and discovered the early surveyors had miscalculated a bit. According to today’s calculations, the “true” center of the earth is actually a few hundred meters south of the national park with its monument and tourist draw.
I really doubt they will close down the well-established “Center of the Earth” park in order to be absolutely correct.
At the true center of the earth were jars of honey for sale. With no other souvenirs available, that seemed a bit odd. There were no tourist shops, just jars of honey which could be purchased from a ranger. The ranger explained this honey is not from bees but rather from a plant. He pointed out a small cactus-type plant. The total size of its crown was about 10-12 inches, I would judge.
This agave plant must grow 12 to 15 years before it can be used to make honey. Then, in its prime, its heart is tapped and the juice is harvested. Though I knew it could only be tapped once, I looked it up on the internet when I got home and found the plant is totally devastated when tapped.
One 12-15 year-old plant produces only a relatively small amount of sweet juice which, like maple sap, is boiled down to make a significantly smaller amount of honey. We were given a taste and it is very close in flavor to the honey we know. None of us purchased any because of the price.
What really struck me about this was the analogy between the plant giving its life in its prime to make a small amount of sweet honey and Jesus giving His life in its very prime to spill His blood in payment for our salvation from sin.
He did that just for you! If you don’t already know Him and His salvation, won’t you accept Him into your heart today?