Skip to content

Breathless in Quito

Ecuador is home to some of the highest volcanoes and mountain peaks in the world. Quito is the second highest capital in the world, and around 2850m above sea level it does take some acclimatizing to. Flying from Houston (at around sea level) to Quito means I have experienced an elevation change of almost 3km in only 5 hours. Therefore I have had to do some adjusting to the altitude here.

Altitude sickness manifests itself in different ways in different people – some hardly feeling the effects at all. I have had nausea, shortness of breath and fatigue which hasn’t been too bad but I am definitely taking it easy. IMG_4235Even simple things leave me breathless at the moment. I walked up a short hill that I needed several rest stops on (huffing and puffing like I had sprinted) and following an excursion of a couple of hours, all I want is a nice lie-down to recover. Food doesn’t really have an appeal at the moment, which is good as the key to food while acclimatizing is little and often, and don’t even think about alcohol. I am actually typing this whilst chewing on Cocoa leaves which are meant to relieve symptoms of altitude sickness (tastes just like tea, although my cheek has gone curiously numb).

P1070607

Quito is a beautiful city. As we were flying in it was laid out below us in ribbons of light marking the roads and mountains. The city is surrounded by eight volcanoes, two are considered active and several are snow-capped all year. I thought Quito would be cold, but as it’s summer, the days are around 24-26C and the temperature drops to about 12C overnight. At night lying in bed you can hear the wind that picks up after dark. As the elevation is so high the sun is very strong and it’s easy to get burnt just wandering around.

IMG_4213

Yesterday I ventured out to el Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the World) where in 1736 Charles-Marie de La Condamine made the measurements proving that this was the equatorial line . The world bulges slightly at the equator (and for 15km either side) so it is possible here to perform weird party tricks you wouldn’t be able to anywhere else. For example, it is possible to balance an egg on a nail at the equator as the uncooked yolk is perfectly centred. This monument was built to designate latitude 0° 0′ 0″ N based on measurements in 1736, however GPS has shown that the true equator line is 240m north of this marked one.
It doesn’t seem to matter to those who come for photos though.

IMG_4229

2 Comments
  1. Nosey #

    Which way does the water go down the plug hole ??

    Mon, 8 Sep, 2014
    • Good question. I just checked. In Otavalo, which is north of the equator (where I am now) the water goes down the plughole clockwise. In Quito, south of the equator, water drained anti-clockwise. Apparently though its all up to the configuration of your taps as to which way the water drains.

      Mon, 8 Sep, 2014

Comments are closed.

Embracing the Chaos

Reinventing Myself on Mexican Time

Dinner: A Love Story

My year living in Oaxaca, Mexico

Heart of Light

My year living in Oaxaca, Mexico

A Cup of Jo

My year living in Oaxaca, Mexico

Design*Sponge

Your home for all things Design. Home Tours, DIY Project, City Guides, Shopping Guides, Before & Afters and much more

A Healthy Happier Bear

Striving for moderation while taking in all that Europe has to offer!

Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

%d bloggers like this: