August 23-24, 2006 - Ecuador, Day 1-2

Friday after work, mom, Jill, and I head to UOI - Quito, Ecuador.

Finally here - continent #6.
Snazzy wall-art.

The view from the hotel - a hazy (turns out it was hella-smog), and deserted streets.

As they say, Quito is nestled on a plateau between two mountain ranges.
You can see that the city stretches north-south. More accurately, the city lies in a valley or dale between mountains in the same, Andes range.

The steel angel overlooking the city, which is actually the Virgin of Quito, since Mary is their patron saint.

Jill with some calla lillies. Even at 9300 ft elevation, they have beautiful flowers.

Now, some gothic cathedrals have dragons for gargoyles. Quito has endemic fauna. Check out the iguanas and caymans they have for gargoyles.

The Ecuadorian flag (just like Colombia, but adding the seal). In

Independance Square, this stuatuary represents the freedom from the lion (Spain).

Just cool flora in Independance Square.

They have impressive churches with lame names - like Cathedral Church and Chapel Church (true story).

Another thing they [think they] are famous for is gold. All of the little churches have alters, colums, and/or chapels made entirely of the purest gold.

This is just a door to the front of the church.

The entrance to the most impressive cathedral, which did not allow pictures, but had gold-guilded columns, woven wall-paper, ceiling trim, molding, and an insanely impressive alter of pure gold.

St. Francisco square (of Asissi fame).

Jill picking up a few scarves. The little parcel on the back of the native selling the scarf is her baby. It is hard to tell, but trust me.

Cool square. Some stilters walked through.

This is inside San Francisco.

Heading towards the equator.

Just shy of the equator, we had lunch with a local family - curators of a museum dedicated to the critical lateral.

They had alpacas...

...which I tried to pet, but were shier than Lucky, Mitah, and Manco.

Jill, posing in their museum. Check out the obelisk over her right shoulder.

On the line that was considered the middle of the earth. The thumbs' up was considered a pose of power.

Equatorial sundial. It has to be two sided, becuase after the equinox, the sun hits the other side of sundial. Cool, eh?

The crew on the historical equator. This is exactly where the natives determined the equator to be, based on shadows and other obersavations.

The french sent an expedition earilier in the 20th century. They were off by several hundred yards, but heck, the result was a really cool structure.

Jill and I pose on the french line.

Snazzy monument, but not accurate. That line we were on earlier - the line of the natives, was the real line.

Heading back to Quito. This is the eastern line of the Andes.