Quito and Otavalo Market
Writing this latest posting at the Quito Airport waiting for our delayed flight (around midnight, we hope!). We spent a wonderful couple of days in Quito and the surrounding area and we'd like to share some of it with you.
Our hotel, Patio Andaluz, was lovely. Built around two center courtyards, the hotel offered us a two-story room – a nice living room with a wooden spiral staircase to the bedroom and bath (see photos). Great dining – at the hotel and beyond; two restaurants merit kudos, Mea Culpa (great name, huh?) overlooking the Grand Square had great food (stuffy staff, however!) and El Magnolio (see photo) where we lunched twice (that tells you something!). I came to love a traditional Ecuadorian soup – Locro y queso (a potato soup you could die for!) – so much that I ordered it several times (as Barbara told one of the waiters, “Quatro veces en tres dias!”).
We traveled to the Middle of the World (00.00 latitude, certified by GPS!) where we weighed 2 kilos less (great diet!) and performed some nifty “experiments” (check out me balancing an egg on a nail!) to show the effects of this "centering" of the earth. As you know, I don’t have strong positive feelings about the French. Thus I was delighted to learn that their scientists, in usual pompous fashion, screwed up and were off by about 150 yards in designating the precise spot of the “Middle of the World” sometime ago!
We also traveled out of the city to visit the Indian Market at Otavalo (operated by one of the many indigenous communities) and Cotacachi (a town famous for leather) where we found some great bargains (our luggage is now over the weight limit – trouble ahead on our next flights!).
Today we wandered around the "Old City" area of Quito and watched a municipal celebration with colorful parades (check out the kids all dressed up), visited the Augustine museum where we were taken by 16th century native artists, and observed a demonstration in front of the Presidential Palace (protesting the government granting a US request for extradition of a convicted murderer facing execution).
Looking forward to a short night’s sleep in Lima. Tomorrow we’re off to Arequipa, the “white city” and gateway to Colca Canyon, home of the giant Condors. More later!
Joe and Barbara
P.S. Our first week or so in Ecuador has been wonderful. With five weeks to go, we sure hope this wasn't the highlight of the trip!