With great interest I checked out the Times 53 Places To Go In 2008. Cool there is Buenos Aires, which is fun but not the best city in Argentina. There is Easter Island which I lie about going to with the help of my travel buddies. Oh look there’s Quito…. Quito?!
While Quito has a couple interesting sights, it’s a polluted, dangerous shithole. The most robbery stories coming out of South America are from Quito and Rio. The NY Times wants to get you robbed.
Quito, the colonial capital perched 9,200 feet up in the Andes, is no longer just a whistle stop. The city’s crumbling historic center, one of Latin America’s least altered, has been reborn after a seven-year, $200 million renovation. And a crop of upscale hotels has arrived, including a JW Marriott, making Quito a glorious new center in the so-called Middle of the World.
JW Marriott or not, go there if you want to see abject poverty with 5-year-olds covered in soot asking to shine your shoes.
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In general, I don’t trust the NY Times. Everything that paper writes must be filtered through the lens of liberal white guilt.
T’s last blog post: Some Things You Can?t Explain.
It’s funny how practically all the article says about BA relates to a gay hotel, which, as a local, I had never heard of. That’s not the main attraction the city has, whether you are gay or not…
I’ve never been to Quito, and probably you are right that it is not a glorious place. However, if you really want to grasp what Latin America is, that sort of city is very representative of the region. I am not speaking from the “lens of liberal white guilt”, nor justifying the inclusion of the city in the NYT’s list, but if you have not seen “abject poverty with 5-year-olds covered in soot asking to shine your shoes”, you have not been to South America nor understand its striking contrasts. I am not saying one sould travel to South America too see just that, and please don’t take this in a bad way; but when I read too many complaints about robberies, shitty places, bad food, etc. from tourists, it sometimes makes me wonder what they were expecting to find in South America…
When you decide to go to places like Paraguay, knowing very well that it is not glorious either, you make it clear that you are interested in seeing the many faces of the region… but sometimes I am quite confused by your very negative, almost denigrating statements, made in comparison to what you have in the US. I guess Quito or La Paz must also be very interesting in terms of an indigenous culture that is stronger there than in other places in Latin America… but sometimes that appears to be opaqued by the fact that the girls there were not as pretty.
Then again, the NYT article does not refer to Quito from the angle I am pointing at either, highlighting that there is a Marriot Hotel there. What the fuck do I care about a Marriot Hotel? I would have stayed in the US if I was travelling just for that.
The gay hotel thing is exactly what I’m talking about with the NY Times. Because they think of everything from the cosmopolitan urban liberal’s perspective, a gay hotel is a major plus because it shows that the place must be “progressive” and liberal-friendly. If it had a prominent “Fuck Bush” billboard somewhere they’d probably put it on the cover of the NY Times Sunday mag.
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Yeah. I would support that billboard.
Yeah i debated using “shithole.” I can handle it okay but to western standards it is rough. Travellers need to know it’s not for relaxing.
Still i valued my time in quito… and i’m sure the guy who robbed me did too!
Well, I got robbed the last two times I went back to my own country! First my brand new camera, and then a cell phone I had borrowed. I did complain too…
Funny thing is that both times it was at the centre of the city, and one of them at a very posh cafe in the very posh neighbourhood of Palermo (not Palermo Viejo, but close to Avenida Libertador and Paseo Alcorta, by somebody who looked like he was middle-class). On the other hand, I did forget another digital camera in the slums while I was doing research, and people who live there- who I barely knew and struggle to make a living- CALLED ME to let me know I had forgotten it, and brought it back to me…
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