Greetings from Quito ( pronounced key-toe in Spanish) Ecuador, which
at 9300 ft. elevation it is the highest capital city in the world and home to about 2.5 million people. I arrived last night and between the lengths of my flights, 3.5 hours LA to Dallas and then 6.5 hours Dallas to Quito I did not arrive to my hotel, the Swissotel until well after midnight. On top of that and dealing with the transition from sea level in my home of Manhattan Beach, CA to 9300 ft. elevation in Quito, I caught what I thought was a cold but it has turned into a good case of flu! My voice is very hoarse, sore throat, nose stuffed up and GI system out of whack too!! I am feeling much better tonight than last nigh but we will see as it gets later. I spent the afternoon exploring old town Quito, one of the best preserved colonial cities in the world and along with Krakow, Poland, Quito was the first of two cities designated World Heritage sites by the United Nations. The main square of the old town is dominated by the Presidential Palace, home of President Rafael Correa and the Municipal building as well as the domes and steeples of many catholic churches. The accompanying photos will give you some idea of the vibrant old town a prominent gathering place for both the residents of Quito and the many visitors which today included my guide Sarah who has lived in Ecuador for 30 years and is very knowledgeable about the history and architecture of Quito. By taking our time to allow me to adjust to the altitude we were able to have a good survey of the old town. To the west of the city are the peaks of the Pinchincha Volcano which dominate the view in that direction! Quito is a very vibrant city whose denizens, like the rest of South and Central Americans (yes! They are “Americans” too!) enjoy life to the fullest and cherish their families and friends more than becoming rich.