The latest vote dictated that my time in Quito was spent
sampling Mangos and Mountains. My Urban Adventures tour guide Mauro
was full of interesting information so here are four 'Mauro Facts'
that you might be interested to learn:
1. Quito, she's tall and skinny:
2 million people are jammed into a city 45km long and only 8km
wide, nestled in between the bosom of the Andes cleavage.
2. Romance is cheap in Ecuador:
With Valentines Day just around the corner who would have
thought 98% of Ecuador's flower exports would be roses? The perfect
and stable climate is perfect rose-growing weather and twenty five
long stemmed roses will set you back between $1 and $2.50 here.
3. Two pitaja is one too many:
This delicious new fruit I sampled has translucent flesh and
black seeds. Eating one is good for your digestion, eating two will
give you diarrhea.
4. Bananas aren't just yellow:
Woohoo, pink bananas, who knew? And they are sweeter and more
delicious than their yellow counterparts.
Normally I'm not a huge fan of organized tours but I'll eat my
hat (or helmet) today. Mauro is a local who is sincere about
sharing his local knowledge with uninformed tourists. I did the
tour with Lisa, a lovely gal from Australia and the three of us
explored Iñaquito market followed by a trip up Rucu Pichincha. I tried at least half a
dozen fruits that I never knew existed and I ate pork stripped off
the back of a recently deceased piggy, sprawled in front of me,
Different species exist in so many varieties here, it's like
being an individual is the norm, not the exception. "Hi, I'm a
passionfruit, oh hello I am too, oh and me too." Click the
video below to watch a yummy video of all fresh produce we
We took the cable car up Rucu Pinchincha and it was cloudy. Apparently
most tourists abort the mission at this point but up we went,
entranced as much by the commentary from our new friend as the mist
that was intent on bear hugging the air out of us. Because of the
heavy cloud we were three of maybe ten people that had ventured up
to the top of the deceased volcano. Dealing with 4000m altitude is
a curious experience; walking on the flat leaves you short of
breath. Walking up a gentle incline you find yourself doing a
granny shuffle and the steep slope we ascended to reach 4250m felt
like you had butterflies flitting around in your chest and cotton
wool in your cheeks, interrupting the flow of fresh air to your
lungs and brain. You're dwarfed by the Andes, spell bound by their
colossal scale and then the mist starts to clear. It's like mother
nature has whipped out her hairdryer and is putting on a show,
blowing off the mist to reveal the magic and madness of the
capital city below.
Coming back down the mountain I didn't have a lot to say,
preferring to enjoy the slow descent to normal life, the city
revealing more of itself with every metre we dropped. While
I've heard this saying a hundred times:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by
the moments that take our breath away...
today as I struggled to breathe in the thin air, it seemed more
applicable than ever.
If you're interested in doing an Urban Adventures tour with
a local guide check out www.quitourbanadventures.com All money raised
from these tours is reinvested in the Yachana Foundation, leading the way in
Geotourism to help cover costs of the Yachana
Technical High School and conservation of the Yachana Reserve
comprised of 1,800 hectares of protected rainforest.