Thursday, 7 October 2010

A week in Ecuador (1)

A week in Ecuador.

My first two  postings (today and tomorrow) will be copies of e-mails as I sent them, so that you will get a sense of immediacy,  (with apologies to those who’ve already seen them).  Then I’ll write a bit about Chris Morck’s ordination and first Eucharist, and about a couple of tours I took.

    My first full day in Quito, Ecuador: Thursday 30th September 2010.

The morning started well.  I took a good walk around the park which is across the street, then I mosied down two blocks to investigate a "hullabaloo".  It turned out to be one of the police demonstrations against the President.  I was severely castigated by one policeman because I took a photo'.  I did not argue with him.

It seems that the National Police are attempting to oust the President, but so far, the Army is backing him. 

I decided to take a cab into Centro Historical (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) but the taxi driver told me that he could and would not drive there.  Good call on his part as I certainly did not want to be near the Presidential Palace.

So instead the took a cab to the foot of a mountain where one can take a cable car up to 12,000'  and see great views of the valley, and of three active volcanoes.  (It was hard to breathe at that height).

It was a nice trip.  Then they shut the cable car down - but wiser heads prevailed so that scores of us would not be stuck on the mountain, and it was re-opened.   It was tough to get back to the Hotel.  I had been counting on other taxis bringing other tourists to the Cable Car , thus giving me a chance for a cab ride home.  No such luck.  No one was visiting the mountain!

In the event I managed to hitch a ride back into town -  and the good driver dropped me off about 10  New York blocks from my hotel.

It's all very surreal.  Most stores are closed for want of electricity.  But people are walking the streets without any apparent care, and buses and taxis abound.

There is this strange mixture of normalcy and strangeness.  The airport is closed, and Columbia and Peru have closed their borders with Ecuador. I could not leave if I wished so to do!

It is not as bad as you might see on CNN, but it is not good.

Tomorrow, (Friday) if all goes well I'll take a cab to be with friends Chris and Trish Morck who live about half an hour’s drive north of the City Centre.  I'll feel better to be with friends

The Hotel has a very good restaurant.  I had an Ecuadorian specialty for dinner tonight - - "Guatita"   -  that of course is "Beef Tripe"  What else would one do under the circumstances!



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