Quito, Ecuador

The air is poco thinner in the second highest capital in the world. If we had flow in from Nevada we probably wouldn’t have noticed the 9,350′ elevation but coming from Charleston the dark night air felt more a deep water dive than cool crisp Andes mountain air. Not bad – just notable.

It was midnight by the time we got to our room. The 45 minute taxi cab ride had us blind to the distance but the roadways were clean and wide.

It’s the edge of the rainy season and the clouds obscure the surrounding volcanoes.

Quito sits on the eastern slopes of an active – yes active – volcano named Pichincha. The latest eruption was in 1999. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.We stayed at the JW Marriott on the fringe of La Mariscal neighborhood. Against the better judgement of the concierge – warned that we might be confronted by sketchy people – we decided to use up our daily breath quota and walked six miles to and from and around the historic downtown area.

On the way we passed the burned out government building and site of a Molotov cocktail barrage from the protests just a week before.Many buildings downtown were covered in concertina wire and security was plentiful.Other than that all was calm and peaceful.

The downtown architecture is magnificent. Intricate details, soft colors and wrought iron balconies are reminiscent of Spain.In 1978 Quito was named one of the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Cultural sites.Did you know that Panama hats are made in Ecuador?

There’s a method to our madness…

Bill and I discovered these fino and superfino sombreros in Waikiki, Hawaii 23 years ago. In awe of their buttery but shocked by the prices we vowed to fly to Ecuador one day, buy a hat and save money!!! Right….

I set out to buy a Montecristi and that I did.We learned that the Panama hat is on the UNESCO Intangible cultural Heritage list.

Off to higher places…

We’re gluttons for punishment.

Here are photos from Quito:

7 thoughts on “Quito, Ecuador

  1. DICK CONGER

    Great pictures. How do you keep from getting lost? How much were the Panama hats? I bought my last one in San Miquel de Allende, Mexico 10 years ago for under $100. We’ll
    be in Minden Nov 6-8, Sorry to miss you.

    Enjoy,

    Claudia & Dick

    Reply
    1. Bill and Paige Post author

      Hi Dick and Claudia: We get lost! Often those are the best adventures. I paid $225 for my fino hat. It was the only one in the store with the style I liked. Lucky me. Hat prices went up to many thousands of dollars. $$$$$ Sorry we’ll miss you too. If you’ll be in Charleston, SC next year let us know. We have twin granddaughters on their way next month and plan to be there to help babysit. 😊

      Reply
  2. Wm. Craig Roskam

    Hi Bill and Paige…Great pictures from a wonderfully picturesque UNESCO site. We, Nancy and Craig Roskam from #501@FSH, taught a year in Quito at an international school (1999-2000), our term shortened by protests events and Pinchincha’s eruptions. Beyond the protests and volcanoes, as you know from your extensive travels, pearls of culture do abound. Check out Otavalo (north of Quito by bus) for an exceptional visit to a community dedicated to weaving. The weekend market is a magnet for all weavers and their work; charge your camera batteries!! Great posts…thanks, Craig R.

    Reply
    1. Bill and Paige Post author

      Thanks Craig. How exciting to have lived in Quito and unnerving to have been there during the eruption and protesting. It would be fun to hear about your time there. We are now in Bolivia and missed Otavalo. There’s never enough time to go to all the wonderful places a country has to offer on the first trip. 😊

      Reply
  3. Larry Werner

    Bill and Paige – It’s interesting seeing the pictures. We were in Quito October 2 when their President announced the elimination of the fuel subsidy that doubled the gas and diesel tax that lead to the riots. We had to leave our hotel at 4 am which by luck we avoided the riots on out way to the Galagagos Islands. Luckily when we returned 5 days later we were staying for only a few hours at the hotel near the airport before we flew home. We ran into several travels that could not get out of the city for several days.
    Larry and Marie

    Reply
    1. Bill and Paige Post author

      Larry and Marie: The fuel subsidy elimination would have crippled the country. We learned the average government worker makes $360. a month. Not sure about what a taxi cab driver makes but our rides were so inexpensive. $2-3. for a trip that would have cost $15+ in the states. Friends of our had their Galapagos trip cancelled after they had landed in Mexico City due to the protests. Glad you made it there. Was it as incredible? 😊

      Reply
      1. Larry Werner

        Yes, absolutely amazing. Lots of critters, birds, turtles, iguanas, tortoises, sharks etc. None are afraid of humans which gets interesting at times.

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