After having spent about a week in Quito, Ecuador I was struck by several things, rather immediately. The first is the beauty of the place. I hope I never reach a point in my life where seeing a view like this feels commonplace.
The second is that Quito is not a relaxing place for those who are new to it. The prevalent cars, buses and taxis use their horns not as warnings of impending danger but as a way of standard communication. Anything from a taxi honking to ask if you want a ride, to proclaiming irritation at a red light or slow pedestrians. (We asked one of our drivers if he felt honking at the light would make a difference. He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders. It is what it is.) Beyond the traffic and noise there are constant warnings about potential dangerous areas and stories about people getting cameras snatched out of their hands in broad daylight.
After a few days Sean and I were still feeling a bit raw and needing to regroup and take a deep breath, or 2 – the air is pretty thin for those not acclimated. Quito actually logs in as the second highest capital City in the world at 9350 feet above sea level.
Enter the weekend street market – The Parque El Ejido Art Fair. It happens every weekend and features crafts brought in from the North by indigenous artists.
Wandering through the stalls, enjoying the art and practicing our Spanish with the artists was just the break that we needed.
There were families playing and picnicking in the park, along with music provided by these guys:
This was a wonderful Sunday remedy for our rattled brains and allowed us to refocus and plan on some other day trips out of the city to help balance our experience. We decided a day trip to Banos (known for its thermal springs and adventure sports would be just the thing. Or maybe not . . . sigh . . .
Tungurahua volcano news & eruption updates: (Outside of Banos, Ecuador)
Saturday, April 5, 2014 “The volcano entered a new vigorous eruptive phase yesterday evening. A moderately strong vulcanian explosion occurred at 18:10 (local time) and produced an eruption column rising several kilometers as well as small pyroclastic flows on the cone. . .”
Photo and press courtesy http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/tungurahua/news.html
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