Quito on a Saturday is pretty busy, add to it a political rally in preparation for the national referendum for a new constitution next week and I start wanting to go to the jungle right now. The old town is pretty colourful. Buildings are in all different colours including pink and the white churches and cathedral make an awesome picture against the backdrop of the mountains or the upcoming storm clouds. Streets are narrow and steep and since Quito is kind of a long city inbetween the Andes Mountains, streets to the right and left, both, lead up to the mountains. At the Plaza Grande, the heart of the old town, the political rally takes place and it is impossible to go anywhere. I walk over to the cobblestone Plaza San Francisco and go inside Quito’s oldest church, the Monastery of San Francisco, which is under construction, probably because it is pretty old. Behind the church the view is breathtaking as the Volcán Pichincha reigns majestically above the city.
Right after lunch a thunderstorm catches me by surprise and I do what makes most sense right now, hide in a museum, the Museo del Banco Central, and try to find out how, why and when Ecuador’s currency went from Sucre to the US Dollar. With my limited Spanish but being try-lingual I thought I found out, but Luis, our guide the following day, corrects me a little… Well, I tried… On the way back to the hotel, I get caught in another thunderstorm with hail this time and it is as easy to find a taxi during a Quito thunderstorm as it is to get a cab at 2am on 6th Street in Austin… That’s why I am sitting by the fireplace.