When people say, “Oh, you must come and visit us,” I always warn them, “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.” Because I am likelier than most people to show up. So when friends took a one-year sabbatical to study language in Quito, Ecuador, I warned, but they insisted that they really wanted me to come. So one sunny December, I found myself heading south of the Equator to visit the country named for the Equator, Ecuador. I had long been interested in Ecuador, but found that it exceeded my expectations—I fell in love with the place.
Quito’s climate is perfect. The combination of a spot on the equator and an altitude of 9,000 feet means that the temperature is about 70 degrees year ‘round. Quito is an odd, wonderful city that is in some ways growing too fast, yet in other ways moving at a leisurely pace. Quito Coloniale, the old part of the city, is a beautifully-preserved quarter of narrow streets, glorious cathedrals, government offices, elegant restaurants, and most of Quito’s hustlers, since they know this is where the tourists are likely to be (so watch your wallet). Continue reading