I would have thought that, with all the new and exciting low-emissions diesel technology making it’s way into cars and trucks in Europe, we’d see some of that here in Ecuador. After all, most of the buses that trundle up and down the length of Quito are fairly new model Mercedes and Volkswagons. But no, even the newest buses put out choking clouds of black smoke. It’s almost as if Europe’s suppliers make special, “Extra-polluting,” models just for South America—might even be pretty close to the truth.
So, in order to avoid coming back the United States with latter-day equivalent of black lung, the Frogette and I have developed a simple rule: If you’re walking uphill, walk against traffic. If you’re walking downhill, walk with traffic. “Why?” you may ask. It’s simple really. You want to catch the buses going downhill at all times. And here in Quito’s historic center, where every road is a a one-way and most streets have a steep slope, nothing is more important than walking where the buses have an opportunity to coast.