Skip to content | Login | Contact

Ecuador -Part 7

Posted on Feb 15 2004 under Diary of the ONE | Tags: , , , ,

We landed in Quito around 10.30pm, Ecuador’s mountain capital is in the north of the country high up in the Andes (2800m above sea level) the mountainous views are outstanding, boasting three visible (on a clear day) active volcanoes. Cotopaxi the largest, towers to 6000m above sea level, shaped like an enormous funnelled cone covered on the top third by snow, a truly wondrous sight.

Quito seems to sprawl out to fill all the available building gaps between the mountains, from the old town in the south through and on into the new towns & its suburbs to the north.

So such a beautiful setting; one might expect as I did, a clean fresh city with less of the trappings of our modern capitals. Not so, I remember the first time I can to Quito I was so shocked at the level of car/bus pollution and the lack of clean air to breathe. Being at such a high altitude the air is thin anyway, you can quite easily be out of breath after jogging 50 yards or climbing one of the sleep roads. Add to this no apparent anti pollution laws, clouds of black diesel smoke pour from the exhausts of the hundreds possibly thousands of family run buses, cars & industry, it’s grim.

For the first week, if you stay in Quito, you have no air, no energy it’s tough to do anything. Mix in a little jet lag & time change to the altitude & pollution & you might as well go to bed for the week.

Quito was a large Incan city before the Spanish invaded around 1500ad. There is now no remains of the original city it was totally destroyed by the Spanish on their rampage through the Incan empire.

If you don’t know or understand the story of the Spanish conquistadores & the brutal history of South America Inca you should defiantly read more, a truly heartbreaking piece from his-story, for these reasons, the architecture of Quito and most of Latin America is very Spanish colonial. The old town of Quito is classically colonial, small, narrow streets leading out into grand squares and parks surrounded by equally as grand buildings, usually government owned & nowadays guarded heavily with dogs & guards armed with sub-machine guns.

This becomes an all too familiar site in the bigger cities as you travel round Ecuador. You get strangely used to seeing armed guards some with dogs, donning flack jackets and pump action shotguns or sub-machine guns. They are outside most businesses in the “high street” MacDonald’s has them, banks, money change shops, cloth shops, good restaurants, bars & clubs all have visibly armed security.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Notes

    The following links (from the drop-down menu below) document the writings of Jamie over recent years. You will also find the some music, that was written by or with him or from the musicians and artists inspired Jamie.
  • Words & Music