Life is still a little crazy but a few days ago, late in the evening, we landed in Quito, Ecuador. The first thing I noticed was the smell of ozone, a dryness in my nostrils from the high mountain air, and a sense of relief that we are finally getting started on this new adventure.
The new airport, only about 6 months old, was crowded with Ecuadorians returning from vacation and tourists from the United States arriving for theirs. Despite the crowds, lines moved quickly, bags arrived in a timely manner, and we were soon on our way into the dark Andean night.
We drove for about half an hour through quiet and well lit city streets. It was a little surreal to see the capitol city looking so still and calm, even at midnight. Businesses were all shuttered with heavy metal doors and window coverings, homes hidden behind tall concrete walls, and few cars were out on the streets. Our other experience with South America, Buenos Aires, taught us that night life is muy normal. Obviously, that’s not the case here.
We were greeted at the hotel with hot towels to wipe our hands and faces and tall glasses of orange juice to help us hydrate. It’s not just the long international flight that will dehydrate the body but the altitude, a grand 9,300 feet. In fact, Quito is the second highest capitol city in the world. In order to adjust, it’s important that we drink lots of water and be careful with how fast we start exerting ourselves. So far, so good. We’ve had the slight headache that passes with more water and a little ibuprofen but nothing more. After a great night’s sleep, we awoke to a gorgeous morning and a beautiful view! It’s one of the few pictures I’ve taken so far… we’re still figuring out the local layout and haven’t taken out the cameras so far. But as our comfort level increases and we figure out how not to look like nosy tourists and more like interested travelers, I’ll have more to show you.