Blogs from Quito, North, Ecuador, South America

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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 9th 2023

We had a lazy morning because here in Quito, depending on the last number on your license plate, you might not be able to drive from 6-9 or 4-8. The car Ellen is driving had the last number for today. After the restrictions lifted for us, we headed to the downtown market. Oh my, the traffic was the worst I’ve ever been in. We finally arrived. The market had a ton of small stores. We each found a few items. We couldn’t get much because our suitcases are stuffed from previous items we’ve purchased. We then headed to the mall for a late lunch. You say, the mall? It’s not like our mall’s food court. Yes, there is a food court like ours, but there also some killer restaurants. We would have loved to have eaten ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 8th 2023

We left early for Tuesday’s adventure. Esteban got permission to let us visit where he works. Where he works it is very difficult to get in so we felt very special. He has a Bachelor degree in agriculture and a masters in business. He started this job 3 months ago. Previously he worked for farms that only grew roses. In his new position he is in charge of innovation and finding and testing new varieties of flowers. His specialization is in collection and testing of the new varieties. The farm we are visiting today is the largest flower farm in Ecuador and is 97 hectors. There are 400 employees at this farm and they grow a variety of flowers like calla lilies, rice flowers, eringyum, lisianthus, and much more. This farm has around 200 greenhouses and ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 7th 2023

Monday’s adventure was to the Middle of the Earth. It was not too far outside of Quito. The Middle of the Earth is where is 1736, the French sent a team of scientists to determine the location of the equator and prove that the planet bulged at the equator. They choose Ecuador because of its altitude and temperature. The government built the current monument in the late 1979 and it was completed in 1982. When more instruments, GPS, were used the location turned out to be 790 feet to the North. The monument is several stories high and has a globe on top that shows the equator line. Leading up to the monument, there are statues of the men that helped determine the approximate location. We took many pictures and went up to the observation deck. ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 4th 2023

Thursday night Esteban brought home some flowers that the company he works for grows. We will tell you more about his job when hopefully we get to visit next week. The flowers are small and delicate and are only grown like this in Ecuador. They would lovely in a bouquet. Friday morning started out with shoe shopping. Before covid, Ellen used to have a shoe store in another part of her house. We found this new room when we went out on one of the terraces. She sold shoes by appointment only and served coffee and juices in a relaxed atmosphere. Clients could bring their kids and relax. During covid, she shut the business down. She still had some inventory so Susan and I went shoe shopping. Luckily, we have bigger feet than Ecuadorians so there ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 3rd 2023

After Ellen’s nice breakfast, we got to tour her business. She has a small business, called Laurelis, and makes food for some grocery stores and restaurants. It started out with Danish pickles but has expanded to many different foods and juices. She has 3 employees and the facility is located on the first floor of the house. It has been upgraded to full commercial standards and is continuing to grow. Some of the products are different kinds of pickles, pickled zucchini and jalapeno peppers. The company also makes many kinds of juices using local produce and some recipes are made by specific restaurants and she is not allowed to share them. We were very impressed. After short break she drove us to the food market. Oh my, where did they get all this fruit? I’ve never ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 2nd 2023

Susan and I have tried to do this trip twice before. The first time was in the fall of 2019. We were within a week of leaving when there was civil unrest and the government was temporarily moved out of Quito. We cancelled the trip and rebooked it for March 2020. Well, we all know what happened there and we had to cancel again. Luckily, we hadn’t attempted it because if we had, Ecuador and the US completely shut down and we would have been stuck here for months. So, this trip was our next shot. We were so nervous that something would happen again. We heard Cotopaxi was erupting. Oh no. We heard that the government was dissolved and there would be new elections in August. Oh no. Well, none of that has been a ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito February 24th 2023

We were excited to arrive in Quito, Ecuador as this is the location where our friend and travel companion would join us. Serious excitement as we were getting the band back together! Past exploits placed us in Jordan, Egypt, Portugal, California, and Florida. We travel very well together and had been planning this one for nearly a year. And now the time had arrived…. On the evening we arrived we noticed the streets were crowded and lots of celebrations were going on. We hadn’t realized we were in the middle of Carnival when we arrived. After dinner we took a short walk to observe some of the parades, dancing and celebrations. All of the locals were having a great time. During Carnival they used to throw water on one another. Over time they realized this was ... read more
Middle of the World
Shrimp Ceviche
Brendan, MJ & Dave

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito February 23rd 2023

While I was visiting Dave and Merry Jo in Florida last October, we agreed that we wanted to take an Ecuadorian cooking class. After some online research, we found the Traveling Spoon, and booked a class for our last night in Quito, which was today. We only had a couple of hours in between the mad taxi ride from the Mitad Del Mundo, and the taxi to our class which meant we were still on the go. Not a down moment this trip so far. Since Quito is so large, it required at least an hour or so to reach the class, where we were to meet in front of a local pharmacy. We made it with plenty of time and stood and waited. And waited. By15 minutes past the arranged time, we were concerned that ... read more
Tree Tomato
Reporting for Class
Working Hard

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito February 21st 2023

To be honest, I am 9,350 feet above sea level in Quito, Ecuador the second highest capital in the world. La Paz, Bolivia takes that honor at around 11,975 feet above sea level. Happily, I did not encounter the effects of altitude sickness in Quito, like I did in La Paz, and Cusco, Peru. Small victories make me happy and my trips so much more enjoyable. Quito is the starting place for my vacation in the Galapagos Islands. I will later learn that it is called an experience in the Galapagos Islands, because as you will see, it was no ordinary vacation. I hope this is enough of a tease that you will check back to read more about this truly beyond extraordinary trip. Flying from Seattle to San Francisco, then overnight to Panama City, with ... read more
Volcanos in the Clouds
The Band Is Back Together Again
Hotel Casa Alquimia

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito February 1st 2023

Each winter in North America, millions of residents of the United States and Canada flock to warm weather locales in the southern United States—either to their second homes or rentals—in states such as Florida or Arizona. As a resident of Vermont, I too seek a brief respite from winter’s two-fisted punch of snow and cold, but I don’t want to become another clichéd “snowbird” going to a familiar place surrounded by bland condo developments and chain restaurants. I don’t want to be a captive to the familiar. I don’t want to sacrifice curiosity for comfort. I don’t want just warmth, but cultural enrichment. My winter escape from the frigid winds that sweep through the Green Mountains of Vermont is South America, in particular the country of Ecuador, where I have visited four times. Most recently in ... read more
Cuicocha Lake
La Carolina Park
Guanguiltagua Park




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