Epiphytes are a fascinating part of the rainforest ecosystem. They are plants that live in the trees, high on their branches. They get their nutrients from rain, bugs that fall into them, and sometimes also draw upon the resources of the tree they are living on. They are major players in rainforest biodiversity.
This was the first time I had ever seen a datura tree outside of a greenhouse.
While in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, we stayed in the Hotel San Francisco (spelling mistake above!) de Quito, a charming hotel built around a courtyard. The keys to our room were attached to a large metal rooster.
While we were in Quito’s Cathedral, I sketched a shrine corner near the altar. The cathedral was enormous and incredibly ornate.
On the top of one of the hills above Quito stands a towering aluminum statue called the Virgin of Quito. It can be seen from almost everywhere in town if you can get a few stories up a building (the streets are extremely narrow in Quito and were definitely not built for open views). We spent all of one day climbing from the valley the town is in up the hill to the statue. We even went inside it (like the Statue of Liberty) and got an amazing view of the city spread out below us. It was one of my favorite memories of Quito.
One night we discovered that it was possible to climb onto the roof of our hotel. Not only that, but there was a viewing platform up another set of rickety cast iron stairs. The boys in our group located a small loveseat and hauled it up the stairs. We all sat up there in the night watching Quito sparkling around us. I drew a nearby church that was lit up by spot lighting. It’s mission style architecture fascinated me as it reminded me of my time in California and Arizona and, thanks to the Spanish, I find this familiar style here in South America in a land of jagged mountains and lush, tropical plants. The world is both bigger and smaller than we expect.