It was a long day – not doubt about it. About 15 hours of travelling – from Curitiba, through São Paulo and, as there are no direct flights to Ecuador from Brazil, through the Colombian capital, Bogotá.
However, nothing prepares you for flying into the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, which is set in a “dry valley”, 2,800 metres up, and has an long, undulating shape.
It’s a mixture of clearly planned districts, and other areas which are more reminiscent of Rio’s favelas – home to its 2.5 million inhabitants.
So far, it seems like a pretty modern city (for the region) and pretty lively. There seem to be far more Western companies here and in Colombia – like KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts – than in Brazil. Perhaps due to a lack of their own homegrown equivalents, which Brazil has.
Things are pretty cheap: a cab ride just cost me $2 (they use US dollars here) and my accommodation last night – private room with en-suite – cost $20.
Due to its location (near the Equator) and altitude, the place has very predictable weather: normally around 18°C, with about 60% chance of rain. (Right now it’s sunny.) It’s an easy life for a weather forecaster here…
I haven’t seen it yet because of all the cloud, but just beyond Quito is a volcano, or more accurately a “stratovolcano“, by the name of Cotopaxi.
At 5,900m tall, it’s a bit of a monster, and apparently can be easily seen from Quito’s northern suburbs in July. Weather permitting, of course.
Could’ve fooled me…
OK – so, time to log off for a while. Perhaps a month or so. I’m off to Tandayapa and the mountain cloudforest.