Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hoofin' in a Foreign Land

Had a restless night, damn, forgot new bed, no sleep, but otherwise ok. I'm still on mountain time so I missed desayunos, who the hell am I trying to kid, it's the before noon, mountain time my ass.

I walked from montaña to the Ecuador National Museum of the Central Bank of Ecuador... google it if you're interested. All I can say is WOW.... oooh and by-the-way did I mention wow. The archeology floor was amazing. I've seen photos of some of the pieces in books on the Inca, but to see the pieces even if it is through a couple inches of lexan.... wow. The floor with all the Catholic iconographic art was interesting. There was also a section of modern and contempory art, I can see they have talented artists, but the archeology floor ... wow... I was in awe.

From the national museum I hoofed it through old quito. The contrast of old & modern, poor and not poor is startling. All around the streets there are women walking with pappooses (I'll have to find out the local name), and a child in hand selling fruit or flowers, or lottery tix or what ever wares du jour they had. I passed this one stand and a kid around 5 or 6 years old was selling gum & candies. Didn't snap a pic with the point-n-shoot since I didn't wanna draw attention to myself. (hmmmm......tall furry guerito strolling in shorts and my what look like army boots.... didn't wanna draw attention to myself....gooof) I wasn't carrying my SLR either. This was a scouting trip.

I was amazed at the number of armed guards, police and military personal that I saw every where. And I don't mean armed with a little 9mm gloch,I mean assault riffles, vests, helmets. We are not in kansas toto. By one of the museums, soldiers were on parade with ceremonial dress, swords, and polished knee high boots, they looked very distinguished. Even with all the armed people around, the SLR would have been tempting fate. Some of the websites I read, and articles some friends bounced me said to watch out for groups of muggers and the lot. While an angry bear can put up a good fight, skin is no match of a gun. If I lost my camera do to my own stupidity I would just have to bitch slap myself.

I hoofed it up to the saint statue.... OMG.... amazing, breath taking (*gasp**gasp, *wheeze**wheeze*) view, but hoofing it up there nuked my breath and energy. it was ~500m vertical over broken stairs and coble stone landings. I cabbed it back to a the hotel suisse since it was an easy landmark that I could say in español "Señor Hotel Suisse Por Favor" and they mostly understood me. Also, I was just too freakin' tired to walk back to the hostel from the statue. I'm out of shape, and the 10k hike with the altitude... well I got my excercise. From the hotel suisse, I legged it back to montaña. Damn I missed lunch, but don't care. I'm too bagged and winded to really want food. I'm noticing being at 10,000 ft, the thinner air and dehydration are my issues. No other real issues with altitude. Siesta time and "Dos botellas de agua sin gas, por favor" is becoming my montra (Two bottles of water without gas please). Bottled water comes "sin gas" without CO2 or "con gas" with CO

As I've been strolling around the area, I've see many kids running around ,playing and laughng. Several groups of kids playing pogs. It reminded me of recess when I was in grade school. Back home, I don't usually see kids playin' in the parks any more, unless their parents are close at hand. Makes me sad to see kids with next to nothing laughing and enjoying life, and our gluttonous hellions miserable.

I'm getting the hang of J-walking. Spotted Burger King, KFC, Baskin Robins, TGIFridays, Tony Romas, and of course MacD's.

Talked with Juan Carlos for a bit, he was impressed that I hoofed it up to the saint statue from the hostel. He, offered to drive around the old city in his car and give me a tour. I might just have to take him up on it.

Spent some more time chattin with Maria Cecilia

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