South America – Quito – 2000

We walked the streets of Quito looking at the lovely scenery. It was very quiet. There a soldiers standing in front of all of the stores. Maybe that’s just the way they do things here.

There was a banking crisis going on in Ecuador from 1998 through 1999. Yes, that is correct. We were unaware of this.

The week that we arrived, was the week that President Jamil Mahuad decided to leave office. There were protests by the military and the indigenous people of Ecuador against him. He had cut the military budget by 60% and he declared a freeze on bank accounts. Mahuad was also responsible for proposing economic reforms that produced the dollarization of the economy in Ecuador.

He also helped to settle a long boundary dispute with Peru with the Rio de Janeiro Protocol. He was the Mayor of Quito before he became the president. So perhaps he did some good for the country in the long run.

So here we are walking the empty streets of Quito and not realizing that the country was in chaos. We learned about it when we returned home and started reading the pile of newspapers that had been saved for us.