Saturday, 27 October 2012

Day 112: a lovely rest day in Quito, Ecuador

Hi you'all,
We thought it was going to be a rowdy night last night and it was. But mostly we were so tired that we slept through it only woken a couple of times by police sirens.

So we were up at about 7.30am and spent quite some time sorting out our ongoing accommodation. We booked ourselves into the same hotel that D&D will be in on their various returns so on Thursday morning we can get an early start out to Mr BMW. So it was more of a brunch than a breakfast which we had at the Kermit Kafe. Shirley wore red specially so she could set up a tasteful colour contrast with the Kermit green furniture.

After breakfast we headed off in a taxi to the Basilica. When we got there I asked the driver "how much?" He said "five" I muttered. He then said "four" I said " four" and he said "ok, three." We laughed so much I gave him four. I laughed my way all up the steps to the Basilica and then had to sit down for a while because I got all dizzy. I have been taking my altitude medicines but perhaps I didn't start early enough.

Anyway, in we went. It is a long church built in 1892 (which is recent for here) with bays set into each side often with a statue in the bay and a stained glass above. I fiddled with camera settings for ages but finally got some ok shots.

Here is the interior.

With some bays.

And windows above.

We went out into the atrium and found ..... a basketball court and a football pitch!

People were lining up with their babies for blessings so we left and went back outside where Shirley took a picture of me outdoors.

Along the roof there were all these animal gargoyles.



We then wandered off down the hill to the Artisans' Market. Our dads would have loved these! Every kind of tool and machine you can imagine.

And then a sight to warm the buckles of any wellingtonian's heart. A trolley bus! With overhead wires just like at home.

Even bendy buses.

And bus jams.

Shirley found an old fashioned grain shop. Beans?

Ground up stuff.


We were beginning to run out of steam so we hailed a taxi. "Hail taxi!" We cried. About 16 times till we finally found one that was empty. Apart from the driver that is. He took us back to the hotel and charged us $1.50. Hmmmmm.
After a little nana nap we decided to walk up to the craft market in Patria Avenue. It was a great walk reminding us how we had been dawdling and gawping recently. The market was ok. Really a repeat of stuff we have seen elsewhere. The carvings were cute.

And the chess set.

Lots of kids were playing in the park - we could have been anywhere.

Big kids too.

Black thought he had it made but was headed off at the pass at the last moment. We left before being invited to show our incompetence! :-)

Back to the hotel and then out for a cheapie dinner. We went to this rather scruffy "Italian" restaurant and were really surprised by the quality of the food and wine. At the end of our dinner, the waiter surprised us with two chunks of watermelon. Now, not being ungrateful, but shirley cannot eat watermelon, a trait she shares with her sisters. "No worries", said the waiter,"SeƱor can have two."

Next thing, he arrives with a glass of vodka for Shirley.

Now I don't think Shirley has ever drunk a glass of neat vodka in her life. And so - purely in the interests of science - she drank it. We then walked home where Shirley asked the receptionist for the room to our key. And that folks, was that.
And now for some philosophising. You can all turn off at this point if youse want. Those of you who know me will know that I am not a great church person while having absolutely no issue with those who are. But I had mixed feelings about the basilica today. It was so opulent. And yet, without the church would it have lasted? There were people in there openly moved to tears by the experience. And others proudly presenting their babies for baptism. Apparently there is also a church here with a ceiling made of gold.
Last night when we were at dinner we shared the restaurant with a wealthy family who had three little boys who spent their time playing video games on their dads' cellphones. On the way home at about 10pm we saw a boy of about the same age at the traffic lights, rushing out with a tray of sweets to sell to the motorists waiting at the red light. The contrast was stark. The haves have. The havenots havenot. What solutions? I don't know. Perhaps just be glad that we live in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Today's run: 0kms
Cumulative: 27,996kms
Tipovers: 6

Location:Quito, Ecuador

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for that Ken. The Basilica is a most impressive structure to say the least.