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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Galapagos Islands: Quito Around Town

Neither Mr. Rogue or I have ever been to South America and we were excited to be able to explore Quito even if it was in a conformed group setting. I would much rather branch off on my own than follow a group but in Quito is not a place that is safe to wander around with your head in the clouds staring at all the sites and not paying attention to things like pickpockets. So we joined the group for the day and felt safer. The company that we were with, Celebrity Cruises, even hired two body guards to travel with the group on our city tour. I was super appreciative to have the extra eyes watching our things and keeping the beggars from swarming our group.

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VIEW FROM THE BUS WINDOW

The tour took us first to the beautiful La Basilica Church. Here we were able to see the gothic style and appreciate the gorgeous architecture.

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LA BASILICA CHURCH FRONT ENTRANCE

The church construction started in 1892 and took almost a hundred years to complete.

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LA BASILICA CHURCH SIDE VIEW OF TOWER

The largest gothic church in Latin America it is visible from almost anywhere in the city. I particularly loved the adornment of the gargoyles which were inspired by the countries fauna such as iguanas and Galapagos turtles.

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LA BASILICA GARGOYLES – SEE THE TORTOISES

With a ceiling soaring 377 feet high I feel practically dwarfed in churches like these. The majesty of construction like this sadly has been lost; buildings just are not made with the kind of handmade skilled artistry.

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LA BASILICA INSIDE WORSHIPING AREA

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LA BASILICA DETAIL FROM THE CEILING

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LA BASILICA DETAIL STATUE FLANKING THE SIDES OF THE CATHEDRAL

I am a sucker for stained glass windows and the ones in the La Basilica were incredible. Made and shipped from Barcelona they literally took my breath away. Oh how I wish I could fill my windows with windows like these.

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LA BASILICA ONE OF THE HUNDREDS OF STAINED GLASS WINDOWS

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LA BASILICA THE SUNLIGHT STREAMS THROUGH LEAVING SWATHS OF DELICATED COLORED LIGHT ON THE STONE

Although the church was incredible I was less enthralled than I should have been. Maybe because I was so churched out from my recent Europe trip I constantly found my attention and my camera being turned again and again to the local women selling scarf’s and homemade wares in front of the church.

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WOMAN SELLING CLOTH IN FRONT OF THE BASILICA

The older women in Ecuador and those selling to tourists tend to wear the traditional clothing including draped cloth, alpaca sweaters and ponchos, knee length skirts and felt hats.

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YOUNG GIRL IN TRADITIONAL ECUADORIAN DRESS SELLING CLOTH IN FRONT OF THE BASILICA

Throughout the rest of the day I captured a few of the local people. Generally with my photography I am more drawn to animals, landscapes or architecture. The only people photography I have done up to this point has been portraits of friends or family.

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I LOVED THE TEXTURE OF THIS MANS AGE

I found the challenge of trying to get the locals in their natural life without calling attention to myself really hard.

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MEN PLAYING ON THE STREETS FOR TIPS

Not only did I want to get nice poses and expressions I also had to be careful of the background, lighting, composition all while not letting the person know they were being photographed.

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OLDER WOMAN WAITING FOR THE BUS

I loved the challenge of something new and spent the rest of the day trying to get those candid moments.

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MAN SELLING HANDMADE CARVED TOYS

Some of these photos, like the one below, ended up being some of my favorites of the trip. I will certainly be practicing more with people photography in the future.

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WOMAN WALKING ON THE STREETS OF QUITO

After the church we visited the town center in the old town. Quito is separated into what the locals call old town and modern town. Old Town is a World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO so none of the buildings or streets can be changed only preserved. Modern town is the rest of the city not protected that has been built up around Old Town.

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OLD TOWN MONUMENT

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MR. ROGUE AND I IN FRONT OF THE OLD TOWN MONUMENT

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I LOVED THE WHITE BUILDING AND THE SWIRILING DARK CLOUDS IN THE BACKGROUND

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LA COMPANIA CHURCH TOP VIEW FROM TOWN CENTER

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GUARDS STAND ATTENTION

The last place on our itinerary for the tour of Quito today was the equator monument. Built in 1802 by a team of scientists who studied for nine years in the region of Quito, their mission was to scientifically verify the roundness of the Earth. The monument is built on the Equator line and has a museum about the history surrounding Quito and its people.

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EQUATOR MONUMENT

After our tour we were returned to the hotel for a brief siesta, to freshen up and change for dinner. Can I get a OH YEA for the siestas… these people speak my language, I adore naptime.

Surprise after surprise kept coming out as the day progressed and this evening was no exception. Not only was the dinner at the restaurant that they took us to amazing they had also contracted a famous Ecuadorian opera singer to keep us entertained during dinner. He was fantastic!

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MR. ROGUE AND I AT DINNER, WE ARE SO HAPPY

3 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

You should be happy too! I wish we had these beautiful churches in America. We can't take 100 years to build anything. Usually a building is torn down 2-3 times during that time frame.

lilmansworld said...

I would be pissed to work on something for so long and to die before its finished. That was a pretty awesome church though :) Celebrity Cruise, um heck yeah!

E Squared and Mui said...

From your description of Quito, it seems quite similar to Cusco - Peru in many ways; I think we're going to feel right at home. I'm not much into people photography ... don't like posed pictures, and don't want to intrude into their privacy. But I found myself doing a lot of long-lens people photography in Peru ... I just couldn't help myself.

We're also going with Celebrity Xpedition, so I appreciate the details about the Quito tour ... we've added three days before the trip and hope to explore the area around the city some before we join up with Celebrity ... we survived the altitude in Peru, and hope Ecuador will be kind to us too.

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