When the Kath is away...
Central and South America - 2005
About Me (2)
Costa Rica (2)
Kath's Confessional (3)
The Weird and the Wonderful (1)
Viva Mexico! (8)
* Horsing Around Chugchilan
* Through the Clouds to Chugchilan
* Half the fun is getting there - Saquisili
* A Dog Called Quito (and a city too...)
* Of Showers, Monsters and Monkeys
* Beach Bummers in Puerto Viejo...
* Costa Rica entry-turned-rant
* Learning to dive in Utila
* Leaving Guatemala
* Lazy Days in Lago Atitlan
* Little altars everywhere... Chichicastenango
* Shopaholic goes abroad - The Chichicastenango Market
* Half the fun is getting there... To Chichicastenango
* Comments on the El Mirador Trek
* El Mirador Trek - Day 6
* El Mirador Trek - Day 5
* El Mirador Trek - Day 4
* El Mirador Trek - Day 3
* El Mirador Trek - Day 2
* El Mirador Trek - Day 1
May 10, 2005
A Dog Called Quito (and a city too...)
I was first introduced to Quito during the happy days of primary school, by a clever little boy in my class. Unfortunately for him, the boy had red hair, freckles and a strange name that nobody else in the whole country was blessed with. He came to school one day, happily announcing that his über-religious family had got a new puppy and its name was Quito. The general response was something like
Class: "Quito?? What is wrong with you guys?? What kind of name is that??"
I have never been a dog person, and Quito turned out, of all things, to be a bulldog. I immediately came to associate the name Quito with something slightly ugly and smelly, something foreign to stay far away from in case it decided to either attack or happily slobber all over me.
As we landed in Quito on the 28th of February, at a hefty 2,800 meters above sea level, I was anxious to see whether my childhood theories about the name would be confirmed or, more likely, smashed to pieces. The sudden leap from sea level to altitude as well as my running a fever and suffering from a very unpleasant cold didn`t help in this department, I suspect. Nevertheless, the city turned out to be both smellier and far less cute than the dog... and it also had a bad reputation for attacks, something the dog most definitely didn´t.
One point to the boy and the dog (who by the way turned into successful grown men once past their, and the class`, puberty).
A tip to the traveler heading to Quito: Book your room beforehand. Even in the off-season, Silje and I spent over an hour searching for a hostel that wasn`t either full or a complete dump. Lugging our packs having just arrived at nearly 3000m, one of us with a fever, it wasn`t a pleasant experience nor something that became funny in retrospect...
I spent most of the next three days doing nothing much, trying to cope with the altitude, the fever and cold, and the horrendous pollution that lays over Quito much like the thick smog that covers the valleys of Los Angeles. The pollution and the cloud cover made sure that I didn`t get a single glimpse of the supposedly gorgeous mountains and volcanoes surrounding the city. It also caused me not to dare take a single deep breath during our three days in town...
It may be a bit rash to judge Quito like this... During our three separate visits, Silje and I completely failed to make it out of the tourist ghetto El Mariscal and check out some of the many things the city has to offer... apart from fruit juices, coffees and Internet Cafès, that is...
We did, however, spend a lot of time at the South American Explorers Club researching our trip and drinking numerous cups of free coca tea (ancient remedy for altitude issues). If you are traveling in Ecuador and Peru, the club is an excellent source of up-to-date trip reports, guidebooks, general travel tips, maps and other useful information. The club receives mail for members, stores luggage, exchanges books, offers local excursions, sells new and used guidebooks and much more. No, I don`t work for them ;-)
Having a rare burst of energy, I did manage to book myself on an 8-day trip to the Galapagos Islands. More on that later...
Eager to get on with out trip, we headed south to explore the Quilotoa Circuit.
Posted by kvabo on May 10, 2005 05:50 PM
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