Quito, Ecuador

This afternoon, Quito experienced the worst hail storm I've ever witnessed. Despite its location near the equator, the city lacks drainage to deal with a torrential rain.

A sculpture of an indigenous girl located on the grounds of the Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador

Decorative art on the grounds of Casa de la Cultura

Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador is home to an impressive collection of modern and colonial art, sculptures, furniture and gold pieces. Admission for foreigners is US$2 and free for nationals.

Several of Quito’s finest museums (showcasing modern art, musical instruments and indigenous clothing) are located on the grounds of Casa de la Cultura.

Parque El Ejido, a popular park on highly trafficked Avenue Seis de Diciembre

We see mostly males doing this job, but a few females turn to shining shoes for money. No matter the sex, there are hundreds of thousands of shoe-shiners in South America.

27 September 2001 – I headed off via taxi (with the meter, cost only US$1.10, however, this was the only taxi driver I've found willing to use the meter) to explore the Casa de la Cultura, home to several museums, among them the impressive and well-executed National Museum filled with contemporary paintings on the top floor, colonial furniture and paintings on the second floor and temporary exhibits at the ground level. Cost was US$2 for foreigners, free for nationals. Imagine if we tried this pricing approach in our museums in the US….

Then I headed to Quicentro Shopping, hoping to find a t-shirt as mine are stained and/or with holes. On the way (via taxi US$1.50, as driver wouldn't use meter), I watched an intensive storm brew and churn into a hailstorm, with golf-ball size drops pelting the ground. I couldn't get over the frozen ice balls pounding the warm ground so near the equator. Once at the shopping complex, I darted inside looking for escape only to find a new, but leaking shopping structure! Security officers and janitors walked and slid down the hallways placing buckets under downpours and sweeping water towards doorways. And, no, I never found a t-shirt, but I did find Baskin Robbins.


  Quito (Jim)