Update from Quito

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Quito for more than a week already.  Last Friday we got the results for the stool tests: negative for bacterial infection, negative for parasites, but positive for blood. Bottom line is that we still don’t know why there is blood in the stool.  The doctor from the Emergency visit has advised that if the bloody stools persist, I should have a colonoscopy done. The tricky part is that there can be blood in the stool that is not visible to the naked eye -which was the case with the sample I submitted.  So while I don’t seem to be passing any visible blood in the past few days, who knows if it is persisting.

Our friends from Quito, Paola and Eduardo, arranged an appointment for me yesterday with a gastro/intestinal specialist who is a personal friend of their family.  The doctor was very thorough in taking my medical history and doing a physical exam.  He believes my problems stem from either a bacterial infection or parasites, regardless of the lab results. He also recommended a colonoscopy to confirm this diagnoses.  It is now scheduled for Thursday morning.  It’s incredible how quickly you can get treated here in Quito.  And the costs for medical procedures is a fraction of the cost back home.  We have been given an estimate of about $400 for all costs associated with the colonoscopy.

In the meantime, we’re sitting tight in Quito and taking advantage of this down time to just relax and rest. After more than two months of travelling, we were experiencing some travel fatigue so this forced rest is doing us both a world of good.  That being said, anybody who knows me well will know that I get antsy pretty quickly so we did a couple of excursions last week to help pass the time.

One day, we went on the Teleferico which is a cable car that ascends from 2,950 meters up to 4,050 meters to the summit of Cruz Loma offering a spectacular view of the city and its surroundings including more than 14 peaks of the Andes that is known as Volcano Avenue.  The route takes 8-10 minutes and covers a distance of 2500 meters. Once at the top, you can simply enjoy the views or you can hike 4 kilometers to the peak of Pinchincha Volcano.

Normally we would have done the 4 kilometer hike, but the day we went, I still wasn’t feeling well and had pretty low energy, not to mention the high altitude that can tire you out easily.  So we hiked for about a kilometer, had a little picnic lunch on the side of the mountain, and then made our way back.  It was really cloudy by then so the views were obscured anyways.

On the ride down, just after proudly announcing to Chris that I was not one bit afraid of this cable ride as compared to the one we took when we were in Mindo, our cable car jolted to a stop, leaving us swinging wildly in the air hundreds of feet above the mountain slope.  I was terrified of course and when I looked over at Chris, I could see he was scared too – something I don’t see too often in Chris.   We just sat there for a few minutes wondering what was going on.   Then just as suddenly, the cable car started moving again.  We made some nervous jokes about what could have happened, and then when we were just starting to relax, the cable car stopped again!  This happened 4 times until we finally reached the bottom where we learned that there was an electrical storm on the mountain top and the safety protocol requires the Teleferico to be stopped every time lightening is seen.

Last Saturday, we joined two Swiss girls, Rahel and Amanda on a day trip to Otavalo and the surrounding area.  The day was spent visiting small towns on the way to Otavalo to observe the handiwork and customs of local indigenous people.  We spent a couple of hours at the Otavalo market and then made our way to Cotocachi which is renowned for it’s handmade leather products.  It was a very touristy day, but we had fun with the Swiss girls and made the best of having a guide who only spoke Spanish.  Rahel served as our primary translator – impressing me with her ability to translate from her third language (Spanish) to her second language (English). It also gave me a chance to practice my Spanish.

When we stopped for lunch in Cotacachi, we discussed whether or not we wanted to try the Ecuadorian delicacy, Cuy, or guinea pig.  At $15 a plate, we considered ordering one plate to share amongst ourselves so we could all have a little taste of this special dish. But when we saw the plate of Cuy brought to a neighbouring table, we unanimously decided against it.  What can I say, I’m not the most adventurous eater at the best of times, and when I’m coping with gastro issues, I’d rather play it safe than be sorry.

During this past week we have had some challenges with our accommodations.  We stayed 5 comfortable nights at the Traveller’s Inn but they were booked solid last weekend, so we had to find another hostel.  On the recommendation of a fellow traveller, we made our way to Casa Helbling.  They too were booked solid, but could give us a room each night – a different room that is.  So for three days, we switched rooms each day. What a pain that was!

While staying at these hostels, we were trying to arrange to stay at an apartment we saw advertised online.  The owner was out of the country until Saturday, but on Sunday we were finally able to see it. It is a 3 bedroom apartment, with 2 bathrooms, full kitchen, and living/dining room.  The building is only 18 months old so everything is new. The apartment is rather sparsely furnished, but has all the necessities, including a washing machine.  There is a view of the mountains from every window.  We moved into the apartment yesterday and will stay here for a week for a mere $20 a night – hopefully by then we can be on our way south towards Peru.


Category: Ecuador, South America
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2 Responses
  1. Neil & Michelle says:

    Glad to hear from you and happy that you are satisfied with the medical attention you are getting. We are going to assume that all will be fine and look forward to hearing the good news confirming our assumption – the power of positve thinking!

    • admin says:

      HI Neil and Michelle,
      Thanks for all those positive thoughts. I’m feeling 100% and looking forward to getting on the road again. We’re going on a hike today to Cotopaxi – this is the hike that we have tried to do twice before but had to cancel because of illness. Hopefully third time’s a charm. We’ll be sure to tell about it later in a post along with some photos. We are leaving Quito tomorrow morning and heading south to Banos. We plan to spend a few days there and then continue south to Cuenca. After that, we’re heading into Peru, and just in the nick of time as our tourist visas in Ecuador expire on December 8th. I never would have thought we would spend so much time in this country! Hope all is well with you guys. Take care. Christina