Quito travel notes

LLapingachos are the way to go: “an Ecuadorian dish of potato patties or thick potato pancakes stuffed with cheese and cooked on a hot griddle until crispy.”

Given the landlocked nature of Quito, the seafood — and I don’t just mean lake fish — is remarkably good.  Try the fried corvina at Las Corvinas de Don Jimmy, in the Mercado Central, with a drink and ceviche only $6.  Zazu is one of the best restaurants in South America, and many of the dishes are below $15.  I recommend La Briciola for Italian food and chocolate ice cream, noting that in Latin America the most boring-sounding pastas, such as the ravioli, are the ones to order.

The 17th century heritage of Quito makes the colonial center feel like central Mexico.  Think “built up early, backwater later on, for a long time.”  The mix of mestizo and indigenous.  The design of the inner city and its churches.  The role of crafts.  The persistence of particular foodstuffs, in this case potatoes and corn and avocado and palmitos.  Popcorn was invented somewhere around here.

The weather is perfect every day.

Compañía de Jesús is arguably the most beautiful church I have seen.

There is an unusually high percentage of Indian-American tourists (do any of you know why?), that said the absolute number of tourists is quite small.  Most people are passing through on their way to the Galapagos, described by one skeptical pro-Trump tourist we met as “$7,000 worth of lizards.”

Following dollarization, it seems that all the Kennedy half dollars and Sacagawea dollar coins have ended up here.  .

Cops dress like superheroes to make themselves more approachable by children:

The Saturday “Indian market” at Otavalo is the nicest, most hassle-free market I know.  Cotacachi would be a wonderful place to retire, except I won’t.

The quechua-speaking guide for Cotopaxi volcano loves YouTube and listens to “adventures, news, music, and much more.”  He is still hoping to get a phone with an internet connection, and believes that lack of good education for indigenous children is the country’s biggest problem.

“In 2010, more than 2,600 people were killed in Ecuador, a homicide rate of about 18 per 100,000, almost twice the level the World Health Organization considers an epidemic. This year, the small Andean nation is expected to record 5.6 killed per 100,000, one of Latin America’s lowest rates.”  (Excellent piece, WSJ link).

On the “is now the right time to visit Quito?” scale, I give 2019 a 9.5.

Comments

'and chocolate ice cream'

With or without basil?

Btw that character is Deadpool, not Spiderman. Both are Marvel, though. Happy new year!

So it used to be about as dangerous as Philadelphia, and now it’s about like the US as a whole. Even in 2010, it was much safer than Baltimore (56 per 100k) in 2017.

I hadn't known about the dramatic drop in the homicide rate, but Ecuador seems like a country headed in the right direction. It replaced its Bolivarian socialist president with a successor who is rolling back some of his predecessor's illiberal measures, for example:

https://cuencahighlife.com/assembly-revises-communication-law-eliminates-some-correa-era-media-controls/

Encouraging.

“There is an unusually high percentage of Indian-American tourists (do any of you know why?)”

Ecuador is one of the few countries that Indian citizens can travel to without a visa.

Hilarious that Tyler is so PC he calls Indian tourists "Indian-American."

It's not hilarious. If they were speaking English and many do no matter which passport they hold it's a reasonable assumption.

why are we still surprised that there is good seafood in a non-coastal city, given the fact that the freshness of seafood has more to do with proximity to airports than the sea?

“Come to Quito - we murder people at only 2/3 of the epidemic rate!”

"the Galapagos, described by one skeptical pro-Trump tourist we met as “$7,000 worth of lizards.”"

OK. But, that is a Trumpian church with so much gold.

What really gives me hope is that the people are starting to turn against the horrible business practices of China Inc. under Correa massive deals were cut with China to trade oil and mineral rights for cash. To get very favorable terms bribery was used extensively. Now the ex-officials are being prosecuted and the people see how China screwed them. I expect many of the deals to be cancelled based on the bribery.

Not Spidey.

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