The Week in Quito

View from the top of Cultural Metropolitano

Changing of the guard at the Presidential palace; a “parade” consisting of a drummer on stilts and men dressed as women; a political demonstration and march in front of the Presidential palace (not sure what their protest was about); $1 desayuno (breakfast) including coffee, juice, roll with cheese and eggs; a marching band of older adults along with dancers in native costumes.  These are all part of our week in Quito.

The weather has been near perfect, upper 60’s, low 70’s with occasional rain but not enough to interfere with our outdoor activity.  We did a lot of walking.  I mean A LOT of walking.  But it’s good exercise.  We took some time to shop for and book our Galapagos tour.  We’ll be leaving for the Galapagos on January 20th for 8 days aboard a boat and then 5 more days on the islands after the boat tour.

We’ve been getting along OK with our pitiful Spanish but we hope that will improve after our next 2 weeks in Canoa with Spanish lessons.  However, we were called into service by a young Chinese girl to help her with ordering her lunch.  She spoke very good English but no Spanish at all and she and the waitress were not communicating.  We were able to translate enough to get what she wanted.  Pretty funny considering our lack of expertise.

Everybody we have encountered has been very friendly, welcoming and tolerant of our lack of language skill.  The people are hard working and easy going.  They appear to be very family oriented.  Everywhere we went there were families out together, shopping, in the parks, eating or whatever.  We’ve had good food which Valerie has photographed and really good fresh fruit: papaya, mango, watermelon, pineapple, etc.

We’ve included a sample of some of the photos from the week.  The New Years Eve activities were very interesting.  One of the main streets, Avenida Amazona was closed to vehicle traffic for several blocks and was packed with people, many in costume.  There were big displays with dolls depicting political messages or images of life in Quito.  We were told that these displays were burned at midnight.  There was plenty of food, of course.  The closest experience I’ve ever had is West Hollywood at Halloween.  A very festive fun atmosphere, again with lots of families.

Tomorrow we’re off to the coast to Canoa to begin our Spanish lessons.

Happy New Year!  Oh, Feliz Ano Nuevo!