Quito, capital of Ecuador
We were only able to look at Quito for a day, but we managed to get about a bit, see the President, tour the city, visit the Equator and fit in a good meal, well several good meals actually. The Quito Hotel was very nice, had an excellent restaurant at the top where we had two breakfasts and a supper rather than going out looking for more exotic fare, some of the others went further afield, but I think ours was the best deal. The Quito hotel also has the advantage of being easy to explain to taxi drivers, even ones that speak less English than I do Spanish. I should add that I'm not even sure he was speaking Spanish, but he got us from the Equator to the hotel so I had no complaints there. I'm told the area produces a lot of roses, the hotel display confirmed that. On the right, which might irritate him, being more leftish, is Rafael Correa the President of Ecuador. He turned up while we were looking at the Government buildings, I don't know if he saw me. There was some discussion of whether he was more left leaning than his electors like. To me, at least, he didn't seem a complete idiot, unlike some who had best remain nameless, and seems to be trying to weaken the grip of the multinationals. Since his predecessor changed the currency over to the US Dollar resulting in the US of A getting a grip on the Ecuadorian fiscal cohones, he may be in for an uphill struggle. The Church of San Francisco shown here may look rather austere by comparison with the gold-plastered, saint-encumbered, over decorated versions normally found in South America, indeed there is one just like that called La Compania a few hundred yards away (that one used 7 tons of gold). Why would the people need another one so near? Well the people asked themselves that. The new government pulled the plug on the state funding before the construction was finished. You'll notice the guards are wearing full Spanish regalia,
strange when you know that just in front of the Government building, which was a palace when the Spanish were in charge, is a monument to Quito's declaration of independence from Spain on the 10th August 1809.