Sunday, January 08, 2006


The mountains

I love landing in Quito. The plane breaks through the clouds and, if it is reasonably clear, you see a number of magnificant snow-covered volcanic peaks. Quito sprawls through a long valley. The plane usually circles one of several smaller hills in the city on its way to the airport. A couple of years ago, it was stormy and our flight was sent to Guayaquil on the coast, where we spent the night.

Emily took this photo on a particularly clear day. You can see Quito nestled below the nearest peak - Pichincha. Later on our trip, we flew to Cuenca, which is directly south and requires a 40 minute flight. You fly right along the Andean range. When we took the flight this time, it was pretty clear and you could see several looming peaks very close. It reminded me of flying in and out of Portland and almost scraping the top of Mt Hood.

For some reason, we encountered lots of rain and chilly weather in Quito. It was unusual and many of the local residents were complaining about it. We told them that, coming from Portland, we were responsible for bringing the rain with us. We took the blame and apologized. We had rain jackets and umbrellas, but we were looking forward to some sunshine, which we eventually found. The only heating they have in houses and apartments are occasional fireplaces. So in the evenings and mornings, we just layered up and were OK. Even when it is cold, it is only about 48 degrees. And it gets at least into the 60's each day.

Visited friends in Quito in 1985. The joke was that they didn't land the plane, they "parked" due to the high altitude.
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