Quito is a very vibrant city. I already talked about the bus system which was cheap and fairly easy to use.
There is a huge Metropolitan Park (1,376 acres-Central Park in New York City is only 843 acres!) which has a dinosaur museum, planetarium, skate park, small lake and lots of trees and paths/sidewalks, and probably a lot more that we missed. It is the largest urban park in South America. We had talked about going to the museum and planetarium but time got away from us and we didn’t do either.
Here are some random thoughts/observations.
- Fashion and haircuts don’t seem to be as important as in Colombia. I didn’t see a lot of very short men’s cuts and not lots of distressed jeans, high heels, etc.
- There must be a program to screen preschooler’s vision because I saw a number of kids I judged to be about 4 wearing glasses. There seemed to be a choice of bluish frames for the boys and reddish ones for girls.
- In Quito and Ibarra, but not so obviously in other towns, you don’t bring the shopping cart through the line as you would in the USA. You unload the cart and just leave it and someone gathers them up. Often the isle isn’t wide enough to pull the cart through but even when it is, you aren’t supposed to (as I was told).
- We spotted a “Route 66” sign near the Quito airport. Just a random sign, not actually Route 66.
- In one mall food court, the trash bins had a handle on it that you push so it is easier to dump your trash into the bin. What a concept!
- There was this one building next to a park with the Eifel Tower added to the front. Random?!
- Not Quito, but this is as good a place as any to show a man in the bus station in Tena walking around with a box of something he was selling. Not sure what it was but the items had little sticks sticking out of each item and he had a ……..bottle in the box. I’m amazed when I see folks walking around with stuff balanced on their heads.
- In one mall some brilliant architect designed a women’s bathroom with more sinks than stalls. There were either 2 or 3 stalls and 3 or 4 sinks. Go figure.
- Because Ecuador exports petroleum, the price of fuel is cheap here. These prices are in US gallons! I’ve heard that you can’t leave the country with a full tank of fuel because they are afraid you will siphon the fuel out and sell it. Not sure if this is true or not. (Those prices are US dollars per gallon…remember that they often use a comma in place of where we would use a decimal point.)
- Songs in English, especially Country music is common in much of Latin America. Much more than you would expect although Spanish music is predominant.
There is a huge problem with landslides so there are large areas that have had concrete put over the hills…I mean a LOT of concrete! Not attractive but hopefully it helps since there are highways at the bases of the hills. Occasionally we saw the use of some type of ground cover that allows plants to grow up through it while stabilizing the area. More attractive and maybe even cheaper, not sure.
- We saw these little girls about 6 years old playing under the sign advertising lunches. They were walking around with it on their heads like a hat or umbrella. Too cute to miss.