Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thin Air and ...Bullet Holes!?!

President Sloan met our plane in Quito. The day before Dad had admitted one of his missionaries with an appendicitis. He was operated on in the evening. President Sloan asked us if we'd like to visit him on the way to the mission home. Of course we did. Quito is at about 9000 ft. above sea level. We came from sea level and didn't think anything about thin air or the effects of altitude but, when we climbed the stairs to the skywalk, I became quite light headed.

This is one of the views from the mission home in a high rise apartment building. Who would ever guess such a modern, beautiful city would be the scene of a battle between the military and the police. Less than two years ago that was the case.

It really isn't a laughing matter but we hammed it up to please the Elders who took the picture. We were shocked, however, to see not just one but several bullet holes in the plexiglass of the skywalk from the parking terrace to the hospital. The police station is just behind Dad, and the police returned the fire of the military.

The walkway was quite long, maybe the length of half a city block. The section over the highway has the bullet holes as a reminder of how unsettled the government is. The day after we arrived in Quito, President and Hna. Sloan took us to Otavalo by way of a beautiful scenic highway (see the Otavalo blog). President Sloan could not enter the highway at the usual spot, so he drove through the city to another entrance only to find that entrance backed up as well. He discovered that some Otavalans, upset with the police over some issue, had blocked the highway, cutting off access to Otavalo. President Sloan told us that was not an isolated incident. After about 30 minutes, the roadblock was removed, and we were on our way.

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