Walking around Quito, Ecuador. The Spanish conquistadors began building on top of Inca ruins in the 1500’s, and this is reckoned the best-preserved colonial site in all of Latin America.
By random good luck, recently I was able to spend several days in Quito. It is a fascinating city, and people there are pleasant and friendly. And the Ecuadorians were very patient with a Norteamericano wandering around lost, somewhat dazed from sleep deprivation and the altitude, and speaking a kind of mélange of high school Castilian, Mexican, and Chilean Spanish, and many words I apparently invented or randomly inserted from other languages. Wait, I meant mezcla, I think, not mélange, I don’t even speak French, see what I mean?
This picture above is the sign for a spectacular 1933 movie palace, seating 2,200, and named for one of Ecuador’s national heroes.
I mostly photographed the wonderful colonial-era buildings, but thought I’d do a post with snapshots of street scenes and people from walking around town. It’s a wonderful place to go wandering.
The city is at 9,000 feet and has a lovely, cool, even temperature in the summer, and very mild winters.
The Merchant of Quito
El Palacio de Carondelet, the center of Ecuador’s government, is a handsome building, not quite as old as our White House, but the Spanish ruled from this site since the 16th c., and the native rulers were here before them. In this photo, a Presidential aide is operating the remote-control soldiers.
Condorito. Of course one of the ways to learn about another culture, is through literature. When people talk of Latin American authors, they usually think of Borges, Llosa, Isabel Allende, and of course, one of my all-time favorites, Pablo Naruda. But the comic strip “Condorito,” with its goofy, un-heroic, mishap-prone Condor-man, who really looks more like a cartoon chicken, has been popular since 1949. Kind of an odd role model – – he no longer smokes cigarettes, but now seems to have quite a few scantily-clad girls in the strip.
I don’t have a caption for this one ( “Found His Niche” ? “Holy Rollers” ? “The Jolly Churchman” ?) On the extremely baroque exterior of the Church of the Society of Jesus, begun in 1605 and finished about a century-and-a-half later.
Guarding the Nutcracker Suite (Not meaning any disrespect – – I’ve just never seen such bright, chocolate-box-soldier uniforms outside a play or operetta)
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