Last night, as we got back to our hotel, Police were cordoning off the streets around our hotel. There didn’t seem to be any real urgency to it, not like there was an emergency of any sort. So we chatted up one officer that spoke a little English, and he informed us there was a foreign dignitary coming into town to the Presidential Palace (where we visited yesterday morning) and they were clearing the streets. We asked who and he told us it was Mike Pence, VP of the USA. This sent a chuckle through us as we came down here to get away from things at home.
So we have breakfast on our last day in Ecuador and take our last photos from the roof of the hotel. Then we set out for a walk through another end of the Historic District. Working our way along road barricades, we spot another Cathedral in the distance and try to find a way around the closed streets to go visit it. Walking along the open streets next to the closed area, all of a sudden sirens invade the peaceful air and what do you know? Mike Pence’s Motorcade comes right down the street we are on past us. I find it somewhat ironic that I have never witnessed a Presidential Motorcade in my life (although they have happened near me many times, just have never been right there) and I travel to a third world country and get to see one!
That passes quickly and we resume our hunt for the newest Cathedral, the biggest we have seen yet in Ecuador. It is an easy hunt as it sits atop a hill and is tall in its own right and we get glimpses of it every block or two. As we approach it, a local street artist/vendor is setting out his wares for the day. Colorful stores and threatening skies are everywhere! So we go inside to check out this new Cathedral.
Now I am not a particularly religious person, at least not as organized religion goes. I’d like to think I live in a way that effectively mirrors the ethics and principles of good religious people because that is what good people do. But I can’t help but wonder at the grandeur of these Cathedrals and even the Churches in South America and even Europe and other parts of the world. (Someday I will understand the difference between a Church and a Cathedral. Maybe someone will comment and explain that to me) The money that was spent to build these monoliths is staggering. I have to wonder what civilization in these third world countries would be like if the money that was spent to build them had been spent to build residences and other aspects of the rural society to better the people. You can’t walk three blocks in most cities I’ve been here without seeing a church and maybe not walk 10 blocks without a Cathedral. I guess I could ruminate all day on this subject, but I would be further digressing from my goal of making a successful Photo Blog.
On the way out, we come across an interesting intersection, the corner of Venezuela and Galapagos roads. Then on to satisfy our morning quest of finding a few last trinkets to remind us of our amazing adventure along with the goal of spending a pocketful of local coins that will do us not much good at home, even though it was technically United States currency. In case anyone missed my earlier pages in Guayaquil, it seems that Ecuador has adopted US money and it is the standard in Ecuador. Do you remember all those Susan B Anthony coins that were minted many years ago? You don’t see many of them anymore. A big reason is because they were shipped to Ecuador for them to use as their currency. Not only Susan B Anthony, but many other faces appear on the coins and they are all valid US currency!
We stumble across an English Bookstore with lively titles and we stop in for a visit to find a UK Ex-Pat running his dream store. Several sights in the street including large building murals confront us on our way back to the hotel. As we arrive at the hotel, bicycle taxis appear on the corner and we have to take a selfie with our local cathedral behind us.
Then it occurs to us that this is the one Cathedral we have seen and not gone into! So we go in and check out another one. Prayer candles and moving scenes of patrons laying their hands on a statue for comfort and I can’t help but drop a couple coins in the cup of a poor woman as we leave the Cathedral. A last photo of the front of our hotel and it’s time to load the luggage for the ride to the airport.
Random sights as we take the two hour trip to the airport way on the other side of this immense city. The skies and clouds were again an amazing textural display and sculptures and artwork adorn the roadways. Even a hotel with a sound and vibration barrier right next to the airport was an interesting sight!
Ok, signing off from Ecuador. See you all back home on another adventure real soon! Don’t forget to follow this Blog!