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first day in Ecuador, with full range of consequences of having arrived from New York City at 0m above sea level to Quito (officially San Francisco de Quito) at almost 3000m above sea level. the few steps in the hotel felt like Mount Everest, for example. and I'm sure it was the poor oxygenation of the brain that made us think that going even HIGHER on this first day is a good idea. thus we ended up on the slopes of Pichincha - an active volcano overlooking Quito that wraps around the volcano's eastern slopes. the mountain's two highest peaks are the Guagua (15,696 feet/4784 m), which means "child" in Quechua and the Rucu (15,413 feet/4698 m), which means "old person". the active caldera is in the Guagua, on the western side of the mountain.

Quito stretches for almost 45km long, following the valleys among the mountains. the elevation of it's central square is 2850 m (about 9350 ft), making Quito the second highest capital city in the world. there is some confusion about this claim because La Paz, Bolivia, which is higher, is the governmental capital of Bolivia (where the Bolivian government functions), while Sucre, which is lower, is the legal capital of Bolivia.

another interesting feature of Quito is it's airport that is located right in the middle of the city. according to the pilots it's the second most difficult airport in the world (after La Paz) because of the high elevation and because the pilots have to carefully maneuver the big jets along the valleys with strong winds and volcanoes looming dangerously close.

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about the photo - brief momemet of sunshine over Quito, as seen from mid-way up Pinchicha.

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Additional Photos by Kristine KL (avene) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1586 W: 134 N: 2932] (12675)
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