Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quito

We´ve been in Quito for 3 days now and leaving for Otavalo today. Unfortunately I don´t have any pictures to show yet as I somehow managed to leave my camera behind and I won´t see it for another week and a half when Sandy meets us in Peru. Dammit!

So the first day in Quito was mostly a write-off we made it till about 2pm and thought we´d have a little siesta and ended up sleeping for 5 hours in the afternoon. I think we were all a bit knackered from the 30hr trip and slight lack of oxygen due to altitude.

The second day was much better - we wandered round the old town which was lovely (much much nicer than the rest of Quito). We got some ok coffees (not quite Melbourne standard, but better than the nasty instant stuff we´ve been drinking).

changing of the guard

In the afternoon we took a bus trip to Mitad del Mundo (the equator monument). The monument is supposed to be standing right on the equator, but turns out the French got it wrong by a couple of hundred meters, but decided to leave it there. We got all the obligatory photos: jumping over the equator etc. I did a handstand over the line which turned out pretty well (after a few failed attempts using the timer on the camera).


Mitad del Mundo (Equator monument)

Yesterday was a pretty epic day. We thought we´d see how we were going with altitude by climbing Rucu Pichincha (which is almost 5000m above sea level - Quito is around 2000m, I think). It was a pretty hard slog. You can only manage about 20 steps uphill before you feel like you´ve run in the 800m final and have to stop to catch your breath. So it was very stop-start. We almost made it to the summit, but we got surrounded by thick clouds which made visibility pretty difficult, plus up the top there were hardly any footholds and we were trying to scramble up sand which was extremely tiring. It also got really cold and my fingers felt like they were about to freeze off, not to mention it was starting to rain. So we did the sensible thing and turned back. I was pretty glad, I can tell you.

The summit, obscured by clouds

some pretty scenery along the way

close to the top, almost a 45 degree slope, covered in sand

Sam got altitude sickness on the way down and looked like death warmed up. I didn´t feel great either - I got the characteristic pounding headache, but wasn´t vomiting like Sam was. I think it probably hasn´t helped that I´ve managed to pick up a cold and am not feeling 100%. Hopefully I´ll get over that soon.

Anyway, we´re off to Otavalo today (home of the famous textile market - YAY!!)

Until next time....

Adios!


PS for more photos, go here

3 comments:

  1. You're going to buy some textiles to bring home right? You HAVE to!! Sounds like you're having a blast! Unlike me...sigh...ploughing through a ton of journal articles :(

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  2. Oh my goodness. Brunswick looks pretty lame in comparison.....

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