My flights down to Ecuador last week were both on time and uneventful.  Ira met me at the airport, got us in a taxi which dropped us off in front of our hostel, and directed me toward a bed.  I was never so happy to see a bed (especially one which informed me that Ecuadorian sheep say “bee, bee” instead of “baa, baa” like our boring American sheep).  DSC00598DSC00599The next morning we got up, showered, and had breakfast on the hostel’s rooftop terrace, which had fantastic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.  Ira had plans for us to ride the TeleferiQo, a cable car that takes you up a mountain in Quito.  He figured we’d take the bus or a taxi there, get on the ride and it would be easy on my injured ankle.  So we hopped on a bus, then hopped off a bit too soon.  We tried to walk a bit but, man, I was feeling a little tired!  So we grabbed a taxi the rest of the way.  Which was smart because it was still a bit of a walk, and all uphill.

And boy if that wasn’t an exhausting taxi ride!  I had to stop and rest on a bench once we got in the entrance.  And then I needed to rest again after we walked up the first flight of stairs.  And again after we bought our tickets and were waiting in line.  I guess the travel the day before took more out of me than I thought, and perhaps I should have slept a bit longer.

But darn if that ride up the mountain in that cable car was not just the most tiring thing I’d ever done.   Oh wait…perhaps I was having altitude sickness?  I do come from a city that’s about sea level.  And Quito on its own is about 9300 feet in elevation.  The TeleferiQo brings you about another 4000 feet.  And I’d only been in Quito about 12 hours.  This is the street our hostel was on.  See that mountain top in the distance?

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That’s about where the TeleferiQo takes you.  As that cable car ever so slowly climbed higher and higher up that mountain I could just feel myself fading more and more.  By the time we got to the top I could barely keep my eyes open and was thirstier than I’d ever been–telltale signs of altitude sickness.  I didn’t even get out at the top, just rode right back down, found myself a bench, and took a little nap.  And I hate sleeping in public.

Ira finally came back down and found me lying there.  He’d thought we could check out the city a bit, but then offered returning to the hostel for a nap.  I pounced on that offer!  Direct me to a taxi and point me in the direction of the bed.  After a two hour nap I felt infinitely better, and we went out to get a snack and stroll around.  This yummy roll with apricot jelly cost approximately 15 cents.

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Later that night as we had dinner with everyone at our hostel and told them what we’d done that day and that I’d had some trouble with the altitude, several people said something along the lines of, “yeah, everyone says you really shouldn’t do that on your first day because of the altitude.”  Thanks for the tip, people!  Ah well, I survived to tell the tale, and it was a valiant attempt on Ira’s part to entertain me while not taxing my stupid twisted ankle.

But the kid really was determined—a few days later he forced me to climb a volcano, followed by again forcing me to hike to a hotsprings.  Against my will, I tell you!  He’s a relentless and dictatorial traveller completely unsympathetic to my plight!

Ok, so maybe "relentless and unsympathetic dictator" really are not the best words to describe him...I guess he's a pretty nice guy...

Ok, so maybe "relentless and unsympathetic dictator" really are not the best words to describe him...I guess he's a pretty nice guy...

And a few days after this TelefirQo incident I learned something about altitude sickness that makes me believe it may become a chronic condition for me.  If only I’d known sooner, perhaps I could have actually gotten out at the top of the ride after all.  To be continued…

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