It’s not everyday that I get to get this close to the President of a country…any country. But once again our timing proved to be lucky as our visit coincided with the Monday change of the guard at the Ecuadorian Presidential Palace and an appearance by President Rafael Correa himself. He spent at least a half hour on the balcony of the palace with other dignitaries and, ahem, beauty queens. He even graced us with a little dance in honor of the festivities that have been going on recently. It was really a slice of Ecuadoriana and I’m happy to have been a part of it.
From the changing of the guard ceremony we took a gondola up an additional 4,000 feet to take a gander of Quito way below. Since we were at 12,000 feet above sea level at this point it was quite cold and the air thin. Francisco and I hiked, albeit slowly, up a ways more to seek the best views. Joan, being intelligent, stayed in the warmth of the restaurant area and caught up on email.
This gondola was different than the one that Amanda and took in Medellín as this was strictly for tourists. In Medellin the cable cars was actually part of the Metro transportation system and there were neighborhoods once you reached the top. Here it Quito, the top is a destination to take in some views and you actually get a feeling of being in wild with an incredible city at your feet.
Also, it was in this spot where I decided to once again leave some of Rays ashes. He would have loved the bustling city below while gazing of into the beautiful natural landscape of the Andes. I still miss him everyday.
The last stop of the day was at the home and museum of Ecuador’s most famous artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin. The painting that I bought at the Otovalo Saturday market is a reproduction of one of his pieces.