PAUL K LYONS
LETTER - 1976 - MAY
I'm in sunny, mild Quito.
Columbia was unbelievable - the robbers and thieves, like nothing I ever saw or experienced in Asia. Why should it be so much worse than anywhere else in S.A? I don't know. We met and heard of several people who had actually been knifed. Every traveller has had something stolen, no matter what precautions they took. The thieves are so skillful. My fine black wallet, which I have lost so many times and always retrieved, is finally gone. My friend was pickpocketed on a crowded bus, but he managed to catch hold of the thief. The two of them tussled in the bus and rolled out of it. The wallet fell free, and the thief pulled a knife on my friend to make him let him go.
Anyway, I am in tact, with all my important possessions in Ecuador which is beautiful and quieter and a little more refined. We had a superb few days north of Quito. We happened on the fiesta of the God of Love, which is what I had always envisaged a Latin American fiesta to be like - thousands of people, hundreds of foodstalls, much music, and countless fireworks (all sequenced on huge frameworks of wood). It was fantastic.
I really want to visit the Galapagos Islands but it is expensive.
Paul K Lyons
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