13,000 Feet


Sometimes in life, you may have to kiss a llama to make things happen for you.

Other times, when your home city decides to pour funds into an economic development project that is already set for failure three years later, you might have to check it out. Enter: Quito’s Teleferico.

The cable car runs up Mt. Pichincha. My husband and parents contributed $8.50 each, while I, as a cedula carrying Ecuadorian, only spent $4. Yay, me.


The lines were clearly not built for tourist-sized people.


We are headed up there.
(Apologies for foggy photos taken through dirty windows.)


And that is “Quito Lindo.”


According to my mother, the ride up is “creepy.”


I suppose you’d think it was creepy too, if you stopped to think about the potential quality of construction.


But we survived to tell the tale.

Mt. Pichincha

We were at 4,000 meters above sea-level, or roughly 13,000 feet. The volcano Gua Gua Pichincha was shrouded in its usual cloak of darkened clouds.


And at every vista, the city with a quilt of patchwork green and a blanket of smog greeted us, clouds dotting the sky.


My mama is cute, no?


This was the peak that greeted me from my bedroom window every morning from the time I was 12. Once sprinkled with radio antennas, now she carries cell towers on those proud shoulders.


If you teach second grade, you might just have to pay the 50 cents and pose with the llamas.


We hiked as far as we dared, as far as our lungs and legs would take us.



It was bright, crisp and wind-whipped.


And it was worth $4-or even $8.50-to see the city from such a vantage point.


So after we’d hiked ourselves satisfied, snapped panoramas all around and kissed various llamas, back down we went.


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