Quito’s historic district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, nestled in the mountains of Ecuador. But the true treasure of Quito is the people. Wildly entrepreneurial, they operate a thousand tiny mom-and-pop (or often mom-and-kids) shops and restaurants in every corner of the city. Can’t afford a tiny storefront? Then a cart and stool will do, or just carry some goods around in your hands and offer them to passersby.
Families are together here, night and day. Babies are carried on the body, not pushed in strollers. Toddlers are held by the hand. Public breastfeeding is commonplace. Parents are patient and children seem calm and even-tempered. The easy affection among families carries into friendships and adult interactions. It’s common to see adults walking arm-in-arm with elderly parents, and lovers often kiss in public.
There is still a great deal of poverty here, and social injustice. But the bonds of family, friendship and love are so strong and open, you can’t help but think that these Quiteños have some things figured out.