Sunday, January 30, 2011


Quito, Ecuador is older than Lima. Pizarro founded Quito in 1552 and built his city over the last Inca's temples. The city's Colonial buildings cover a larger area. Because of that, Quito was designated a cultural center of South America. The city really is beautiful, clean, easy to walk in, and the traffic is not as heavy. Traffic rules are enforced. Drivers yielded to one another and stayed in their lanes. Funny the things one notices. We could live in Quito. Oh, the hills are green!

We arrived at the governor's palace too late to tour the building, but we looked in onto a grand patio almost as large as a parade ground. The present governor is the first governor not to live in the governor's palace in over 200 years. A young man touring all of South America on his own offered to take our picture.

The view from President and Hna. Sloan's home was breathtaking. You can see one of the five volcanoes in the background. The clouds were always hovering over the tops of the volcanoes. One morning we looked out to see the mountains clear only for a moment. By the time I had found the camera, the volcanoes were obscured. If these volcanoes ever erupt at the same time, Quito is toast...

The rooftops are either white or red tile. The city is clean and easy to get around. The outlying highways are modern and reminded us of the scenic parkways in New Jersey.

This is a typical Spanish hacienda now used as a restaurant and artesania shops.

These are the steps leading to the grand Basilica or main Cathedral and convent built over one of the last Inca's temples. We read that remnants of the Inca empire could be found beneath Quito.

This foto does not represent the steepness of this narrow road leading down from the Basilica. The roadways in the city were all narrow, built only for carriages.

One of the active volcanoes can be reached by teleferico or cable car. We made the trip only to discover we were in the clouds, it was cold at the top, and to really reach the volcano, we'd have to walk another 30 minutes on a narrow, steep path. We were happy for the birdseye view of Quito.

The hill in the background of this narrow, cobblestone street is where President Spencer W. Kimball dedicated the land for the preaching of the Gospel. I don't have a date for that prayer. Our guide wanted to take us there but we were concerned about getting back to the Sloans for dinner.

We were able to enter one of the famous cathedrals on the main square. The stained glass windows were really stunning.

The vaulted ceiling and the cement archways reminded me very much of Westminister Abbey in London.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Otavalo is a beautiful valley nestled under the Andes and three active but dormant volcanoes. The most famous volcano, Cotapaxi, erupted just two years ago. President and Hna. Sloan and their family were playing a game on the bed. The concussion was deafening, they said. The fire show was spectacular. We were invited to visit Mision Quito to present the new health plan to President and Hna. Sloan and the mission nurse. The Sloans invited us to speak in two zone conferences and visit the medical doctors have been really helpful in caring for their missionaries. Otavalo is only 30 miles from Quito, but driving there takes roughly two hours. The two-lane highway winds through scenic mountains and valleys known for the huge Ecuador roses grown in green houses which spread across the valleys like white lines on a football field.

The roses are exported to the USA and to Europe. They are inexpensive, a fraction of the cost of roses in the USA. Hna. Sloan gave us a dozen long stem roses when we arrived.

The Otavalans wear the native costume their people have worn for centuries. The women wear brightly embroidered, silk blouses, black skirts, simple black sandals, and their hair is uncut and braided. The men wear white pants, white silk shirts, and white or black cloth sandals. Their hair is also long and braided. Hna. Sloan said she heard that a man whose hair is cut short has shamed the family or tribe in some way.

Dad, Hermana Sloan, and one of the missionaries we knew well from the CCM are visiting after the zone conference. The Sloans travel to Otavalo once a month for conferences and interviews. Hna. Sloan takes whole wheat bread and peanut butter and honey or hazelnut spread for a snack during the zone conference. I really enjoyed helping her make them and passing them to the missionaries. She packed a fun car-picnic lunch for us all--tuna sandwiches with sliced apples (a novel idea and unique taste experience), fruits, veggies, granola bars, and chocolate. When we arrived in Otavalo, we went directly to the ward building for the conference.

There is nothing like seeing two Hermanas I have known, taught, and loved while serving in the CCM. These two are the highest baptising companionship. They just sparkle with love for the work and the people. Otavalo is one place all the missionaries want to serve.

In this little city there are two stakes and 18 wards. This is a typical South America ward building. There is an Elder in the CCM right now from Otavalo. It was so fun to tell him we had just been there. A few months ago we had two other Elders and an Hermana. The Hna. and one of the Elders dressed in the native dress and wore the long braid. The other Elder and the one who arrived at the CCM this week have the long braids but missionary suits.

Hermana Sloan was excited to take me to the market at the center of town. We had about an hour before we were to speak--she thought we could do it in a short time. I could have stayed the whole day! This was the market of markets. Talk about "local color," the women and men were beautiful. The old folks were weathered and fascinating. This woman is winding her alpaca wool to weave a rug or blanket. She has a pile of wool at her feet which she winds neatly around her neck. Their brightly colored and designed blankets were just mouthwateringly beautiful. Alas! We had no room in our carry-on suitcases. Dad wanted to go back to see the market so we went a second time for just a half hour the second day.

The woman facing forward in the picture is embroidering. Neither woman looked up when I took their picture.

Hna. Sloan said these litle girls, twins possibly, usually ask for money when someone takes their picture. I didn't think of it at the time and didn't have pockets to put change in which usually is a good idea on days like this. You can see the lacy sheer sleeves.

This couple fascinated me. They couldn't have been any taller than 4'. I followed them around discreetly trying to get a picture of their weathered faces. They had come to market to buy blankets.

The Sloans had booked two lodges on a lake under the three volcanoes. Patty, the woman with us, knows the Sloans well. Clearly, they have a wonderful relationship with the owners and service people. Patty served our meals and made up our rooms. She also lit our first of two fires which we needed. It was colder than we were prepared for. Fortunately, Hna. Sloan had an extra sweater she gave me. The next day she bought another one at the market for $10!

The gardens were works of art. These flowering hedges are planted on the diagonal.

Roses were arranged so beautifully. We even had roses in our lodge rooms.

These two mallards must have been married. They didn't hang with the other ducks at all. The white one "chattered" incessently leading us to believe it was a she. The black and white one said nothing. Funny! They were fun enough to watch that we followed them around the edge of the lake. They also hung out in the water lilies just under the window where we were sitting for breakfast. They were fishing for breakfast as well.

This is the breakfast room. The dining hall is in the back on the lake.

The clouds are obscuring one of the volcanes. In fact, we never did see the top of this one. The Sloans like to take their two daughters with them when they aren't in school. There are activities like the paddle boats, fishing, horses, etc.

This was the view out our bathroom window--three llamas grazing. Margaret and Ted, these llamas really do make great lawn mowers.

Our room was the second gable from the right.

Dad and I enjoyed a leisurely morning the second day because we didn't have to be at the conference until 10 am. We enyoyed a wonderful country breakfast, read our scriptures on a bench at the lake front, and walked around the grounds until Hna. Sloan came to get us.

This is one of my favorite fotos. The clouds had parted enough to get a little view of the cone of the volcano which erupted one night when the Sloans were in Otavalo.

The third volcano was never fully visible but it is the backdrop to the gardens where the llama were grazing. This picture was taken from our bathroom window early in the morning.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Latitude 00.00.00

President and Hermana Sloan of Mision Quito invited us to spend a day touring Quito with one of their friends, a taxista and bishop of one of the wards in Quito. One of the sites we were not to miss was La Mitad del Mundo or Middle of the World, the site of the equator.

In the 1700s a team of scientists from Europe and South America determined the equator by instuments of measurement. Many scientists were from France. It was not until just a few years ago the GPS system was used to find the exact middle of the earth. This museum is actually a working museum where the visitor can see for himself/herself the effects of the forces on either side of the line and at the very center.

The main entrance to the original site is lined with granite statues of the scientists who determined the equator. We are with the driver, the friend of the Sloans.

The monument behind us marks the original line. The world sits atop the monument.

Holding up the world is an exact science according to our driver who posed us well. Poor guy, he did such a good job posing us and taking this picture, a tour group asked him to that for them, several of them. Finally, we were able to draw him away.

The entrance and walk to the monument is the length of a city block--quite dramatic. At this site are tourist shops and restaurants in addition to museums. It is clearly a tourist "trap" but very interesting.

At the museum site of the true equator, our guide performed several experiments with us to demonstrate the forces on the line and on either side. This demonstration shows how man does not have the strength to press his thumbs together. Our guide pulled them apart easily. However, when Dad stood on either side of the equator, the guide could not pull his thumbs apart.

One can balance an egg at the equator because the force is directly downward. The guide balanced the egg easily. It was not so easy for us, but we saw it successfully done. Someone told us after we should have given the egg time for the yolk to settle. Who knows?

Another experience I didn't get a picture of was showed how a basin of water on the equator line flows directly downward. On the south side of the equator the water flows clockwise. On the north side of the equator the water flows out counter clockwise. Or do I have that backward???

When Dad was standing directly at the equator, the guide could force Dad's arms down easily because the forces are so strong at the equator. On either side of the line Dad could hold his own against the strength of the guide.

Here I am trying to walk directly on the line but the forces at the equator pulled me off to the side.

Dad took a couple of steps before the forces pulled him off the line.

This feeling of a pulling force was a bit unsettling for me. I couldn't even put my right foot on the line without falling over. After all this exercise, we were ready for a good lunch at the original site just a few yards away.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quevedo, Ecuador

Never did we even dream of visiting Luis Cedeno and his family in Quevedo, Ecuador. But when we were asked to visit Mision Quito a week ago, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to fly to Guayaquil after the our meetings in Quito. Quevedo is a small city three hours north of Guayaquil. It would have been faster to take a bus from Quito but a little dangerous because of winding, mountain roads which are not in the best condition.

Luis's sister and his mother have a fun sense of decorating. They change the decorations and colors seasonally. His sister's house is still decorated for Christmas.

Luis is a friend from our Chile Mission. He was serving as the medical connection in Mision Vina del Mar when we met him. When he needed surgery twice, we became well acquainted with him because stayed with us while recovering. He visited us here in Lima last March.

This was a fun and refreshing treat--coco agua or coconut water. The fellow selling the treat used a large machete to clean and shape the vessels.

On the three-hour drive from Guayaquil with Luis's cousin, a taxi driver, we passed groves and groves of bananas, coco palms, rice paddies, corn, and sugar cane. This is a farm house. Many houses are made of bamboo and reed and perched on stilts. A ladder is leaned against the front of the 8' square house.

On Saturday we went to market with Luis's mother who shops only at the open air market. She has her favorite farmers and buys only where she can pick out the fruits, vegetables and fish herself. This ice cream salesman carried his stool and ice cream around the market, stopping only when someone asked for ice cream. Unsure of the source, we didn't eat any ice cream.

Fish heads, anyone?

This double decker bus carried farm workers to market and back.

This was a fun scene--a young man was perched on a bag of vegetables reading the newspaper while a family member, most likely his mother, sold her produce.

I couldn't resist taking this picture of a family selling bananas on the corner across the street from the market.

To market, to market--one wonders what the purpose is for the live piglets at market...

A typical street scene in Quevedo--Luis and his mother live in the home behind the blue and yellow fence. Right now his sister and her son are also living with them.

Behind Luis is his mother cooking our dinner. Three bedrooms are on the left. We stayed in a small, comfortable hotel on the Rio Quevedo.

These are banana trees. You can see a blue bag in the lower right of the picture. The bananas are bagged to protect them from insects. When the bananas are cut, they are left on the thick stem. I took this picture from the car. The groves are owned by Dole and Chiquita. Great signs identify the companies. Just like the orchards in Utah, workers live on the property. Bananas grow year round and are harvested four times a year.

This is sugar cane in the early stages of growth.

Oscar stopped the car to take our picture in front of rice fields.

Typically a house in South American cities is behind a cement wall and iron fencing. There is no grass, just a cement patio and parking.

This statue of a nursing mother in the center of a busy intersection, a round-a-bout or "ovalo," was a fitting backdrop for a photo of Dad, the pediatrician.

Quevedo is on a river, and like many other cities, the water front is being developed for the citizens to enjoy. Before the water front park was developed, the area was dark, muddy, and dangerous. No families come to spend the day. There are many park benches, vendors of all kinds, and restaurants.

As the plane lifted off and gained altitude, we were treated to a spectacular sunset.