Today is my 4th day in Quito, but I haven’t explored the city much, well, at least in the touristy sense. The day I crossed the 4,000 meter-high mountain range to arrive in Quito, I saw my car struggling to go uphill – the speed was comparable to the human walking speed. Although I knew that there were only about 60% of oxygen at that altitude compared to the sea level, I thought something was definitely not correct. So I meant to thoroughly review the exhaust gas recirculation in Quito before heading for Peru, where the altitude goes up to 4,700 meters.

For some reason, reviewing the exhaust system was not a common practice in Quito – it took me 3 days to find a repair shop where they were willing to review the system. In the meantime, I was looking to buy a gas pressure gauge so that I can just check the exhaust pressure myself; however, all car part stores (I’ve contacted 9) said they didn’t have any type of gas pressure gauge. It was surprising because I believe it’s one of the basic tools.

After days of calling and visiting numerous shops, I realized that I was exhausted and slightly frustrated. Then my friend Gabriel offered to show me around the city after his work hours. He’s my old colleague in D.C. and he has been hosting me in Quito. I know that there’s not too much time left just to rest and relax after a day’s work, so I appreciate his kindness. Every once in a while, I meet hosts/friends with natural hospitality, whose energy wraps around my body and gives a sweet emotional sauna!

On another note, spending days in a city while fixing a car has not been particularly less enjoyable experiences. Sure, I get to sightsee less, but I talk with many local people who do businesses, either in person or on the phone. And I get to visit neighborhoods where the people just work hard and live and there’s usually no hint of foreigners.

*3rd photo – Ecuadorian ceviche. Seafood is cooked and then mixed with sauce, instead of being fermented as raw

*4th photo – Basilica del Voto Nacional

*5th photo – Plaza Grande