Buenos Dias From Quito

By Kirk Siegler | October 19, 2015 | Ecuador

Buenos dias from Quito, the capitol of Ecuador. It’s said to be the highest capitol in the world, in fact, at roughly 9,350 feet. So when you arrive, take it from me, if at all possible walk down, not up, streets like this one I photographed near the city’s historic center. The good news is that despite the altitude, and the latitude for that matter (we’re right on the equator), the weather here is quite temperate.

Photo: Kirk Siegler/NPR

I’ve arrived with a group of reporters and editors from around the globe as part of an International Reporting Project (IRP) reporting trip focused on health and development.

In the days ahead, I’ll be posting snapshots of our adventures – as well as anything odd or interesting I encounter – from Quito to the Amazon to Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, on the coast.

This is a tremendously biologically and culturally diverse country, and I’m hoping to get a sense for how the prolonged slump in global oil prices is affecting the economy and society. The Ecuadorian Amazon has long been an important – and controversial – oil-producing region. Today, roughly half of the government’s revenue still comes from oil.

I’ll also be taking a look at farming – food prices for crops such as bananas have slumped lately as well. And there are renewed concerns that the predicted El Nino could have devastating impacts on this important sector in the months ahead – as it did during the last “Nino” in 1997-1998.  

More on all of that later.  For now, back to acclimatizing; which means I’m temporarily trading my morning run for a more leisurely (and well-hydrated) stroll.  

Hablamos Pronto!

Kirk Siegler

This post was also published by NPR's "On the Road."

View All Posts By Kirk Siegler

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