10.03.2007 - 10.11.2007 55 °F
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- Slightly smaller than Nevada
- Oil revenue represents 40% of export GDP
- Number one importer of American Sacagewea dollar coins (I am not making this up. In 2000, Ecuador adopted the US Dollar as their official currency and I now have three Sacageweas in my back pocket.)
So how is Ecuador? In short, kind of like Mexico, but with very bland food. I have to carry a bottle of the local hot sauce ¨Indio Bravo¨ just so I can stomach the food, which consists of rice, potatoes, chicken, and various other flavorless foods served without spice or condiments. Also on the menu is ¨cuy¨ which you and I know as guinea pig. I haven´t had this yet, but most certainly will in the next couple of months.
Having been in Quito for only a week, I have already learned a couple of valuable lessons. First off, hangovers and altitude sickness are a most painful combination. Trust me, if you plan on going over 4000 meters, do not drink a drop the night before or you will have an incurable headache later. One would think that traveling as long as I have, I would now be an astute and prepared traveler. Alas, I was caught without my standard pocket-full-of-toilet-paper in a public toilet that didn´t have a seat, let alone toilet paper. Let´s just say I will need a new travel book if I ever decide to go to French Guiana.
I have been in Quito for over a week now, which is fine except I havn´t really done much. A couple of notable side trips were up the teleférico with Joshua (Laura´s friend´s brother who lives in Quito who showed me around a bit) and to the equator at Midat del Mundo (see the photos for a better story.) Showing up in South America, I thought I would be able to settle in for a few weeks of Spanish classes, but I am too itchy to get out and hike the Andes to be spending my time reviewing ¨preterito indefinido¨. I guess since I have a workable Spanish base, the Spanish classes are more of a bonus than a necessity, and I cannot justify spending more time on them when there is so much out here to see and do. So it looks as if the next four months I will be flying by the seat of my pants as usual.
Urban scenery in Quito
Basilica del Voto Nacional
Sun trying to peek out behind the tower
Quito is huge
Can you believe they let me on top of the basilica?
Apartments in Downtown Quito
Am I at USD? (Quito Central Park)
Very old house in a Quito backyard
With Joshua at the top of the teleférico
This is what comes to mind when I think of South America
Grasses and mountains at 14000 feet
Mountain path near Quito
Finally, I am not sweaty after a short hike!
Someone with a sense of humor knows a bit of English
Straddling the Equator at Midat Del Mundo
Midat Del Mundo is most unspectacular
This renegade equator claims to be the real one.
Ever want to know how to shrink a head?
Wait, there´s more...