When Mum came to Quito…

31 Dec

In November Mum made the very long journey from Sydney to Quito. The trip was a very last minute affair and a short one; Mum had only a week for a South American adventure in between leaving an old job and starting a new one. We managed to see and do a lot in this time together.

The flight to Quito was long and indirect. Mum had to fly from Sydney to LA, then from LA to Houston, and then from Houston to Quito. She was so exhausted when she arrived in Quito at 11pm that she cried when she saw me. It was good to have a hug after so many months apart.

Mum arrived in Ecuador equipped with gifts of things that I have been missing from home: vegemite, bonds underpants, tampons, and a current edition of The Monthly and the Australian Financial Review. After a midnight snack of tea, some empanadas and cookies, we all went to sleep.

We spent much of the next few days wandering the historical centre of Quito. We visited some beautiful churches, art museums, parades, and lots of shops. Mum found some very nice hand-made leather shoes in a cobbler’s store near our hotel. One evening we saw a performance by the national modern dance troupe in one the city’s oldest theatres (Bolivar) which has just undergone renovations. We also enjoyed some very decent meals.

Sadly the coffee that was served with breakfast in our hotel was awful. It was presented to us concentrated in tiny little jug, along with three cups of water or reconstituted milk, which we then mixed ourselves into a coffee. Luckily we discovered a wonderful little cafe called Tianguéz in the Plaza San Francisco that served very decent cappuccinos which we drank under the warm morning sun while taking in the pretty domed roofs of the old town and the goings on in the Plaza.

A must-do during anyone’s stay in Quito is a visit the Inti Nan Museum at the Equator. Here an English-speaking guide told us all about the Equator and invited us to partake in some very fun experiments to improve our understanding of the Coriolois effect, which included watching the strange impact of these forces of nature on falling water, balancing an egg (which should be easier at the equator) and walking along a straight line with your eyes closed. Sadly, none of us managed to balance the egg this time. Of course we also had a great photo opp here, standing at latitude 00’00.

We took public transport to Mitad del Mundo (the centre of the earth) which gave Mum a chance to see a little more of the ‘real’ Ecuador, that thing all of us gringos are chasing on our travels.

We spent one night out of Quito in the town of Otavalo, about two hours north of the City. Otavalo is known for hosting one of the biggest markets in South America; every Saturday the town’s main streets are closed to traffic the entire town is turned into a huge market place, so big in fact that the market is actually somewhat overwhelming. A lot of the stalls here that target the tourist dollar sell the same things; wollen hats, jumpers, woven table cloths and other products, jewelery, paintings and other art works. We picked up some nice things for ourselves and our friends. Mum liked Otavalo because it was more tranquil than Quito, and because of its small size felt safe.

The rest of the Photos from Mum’s trip to Quito are available for viewing at our picassa album.

One Response to “When Mum came to Quito…”

  1. Antonia De Hodgetta esq January 1, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Kristie, Your mum looks super cool in her John lennon style sunglasses and I am sure felt very emotional seeing each other but does everyone need to know that she brought you a current edition of The Monthly and some tampons

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