Monday, June 30, 2008

Some unpleasantries about Quito, Ecuador

We spent a few days in Quito between our Galapagos trip and our Peru trip. We did enjoy our visit. The historical part of the city is beautiful. There are some excellent restaurants all around the city. And the shopping in the artisan market is good.

But there were a few things that disturbed us.

One is the traffic. Loads of it. And they drive like maniacs. I've seen some bad driving in my life but nothing like this. Cars would squeeze into spaces with, literally, just inches to spare. In some places we would see, on the roadway, a silhouette of a person. It represented the fact that a pedestrian was killed there. The idea was to get the drivers to slow down. Not a chance!

We took day tours out of the city. The garbage along the roadways was awful. A real turnoff in what is an otherwise beautiful country.

Really upsetting to me were the Indian children that we saw begging. Some of them were so young that you would wonder if how to beg is the first thing that they are taught. I swear some of them weren’t old enough to talk…they just held out their hand.

And then there are the armed guards all over the place. Every hotel, including ours, had an armed guard out front. An upscale clothing shop I wanted to enter had to have the door unlocked first. Ditto on the tour company that we visited to make our day trip plans.

With all the armed security guards all over the place one would think it would make you feel safer. It doesn’t. When we went out in the evening, we carried everything we needed in our pockets. That meant that my purse and my husband’s digital camera stayed in our hotel room.

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