Did you know there is another San Francisco in the world? There is! It’s called San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Yes, it’s the capital of Ecuador. There are some similarities and differences between the U.S. San Francisco and the Ecuadoran San Francisco. Now that I’ve been to both, I can make some distinct comparisons. For instance, they were both “founded” by the Spanish. Seems to me that both areas were already occupied by people when they were officially founded, but I won’t go there. Another fun fact is the population of San Francisco, California, is about 800,000 people, whereas Quito has a population of about 1.4 million people. It seemed like the population was dense in San Francisco, more so than in Quito, but the numbers don’t lie. Another noteworthy point is that San Francisco is surrounded by water, whereas Quito is surrounded by mountains.

I remember walking around all day in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco with no problems, but I was having trouble breathing in Quito. We were walking to the Contemporary Art Museum, and I started feeling a little dizzy. At one point I had to stop and catch my breath because I felt lightheaded. I later found out that Quito is over 9,000 feet above sea level. The air is “thin” up there; that’s why I had altitude sickness. San Francisco is only about 50 feet above sea level. We did walk through the art museum, but we didn’t get to the museums dedicated to the history of Quito and medicine in Quito because we were just too tired. That’s another symptom of altitude sickness.

san-francisco-de-quito

Another thing I found interesting about Quito was that there are about 30 colleges and universities in the city. Everywhere we turned we saw an advertisement for a new institution, but they were all small schools, what we might call a commuter school at home. But in San Francisco, CA, there are 10 large colleges and universities. If we were to compare the size of colleges and universities in San Francisco and Quito to grocery stores, then San Francisco has the superstores of educational centers whereas Quito has the corner stores. From what I understand, though, the schools in Quito are specialty schools, so the students get a concentrated education. It also makes the choice a lot easier. If I want to be an engineer, I go to the specialty school for engineering. If I want to be a doctor, I go to the specialty school for medicine. The schools in San Francisco offer different versions of these programs at each school. That means an engineer and a doctor will attend the same school. OK, maybe I’m rambling about the colleges and universities in these cities, but I’m in college mode right now! I’ll be graduating soon and I’ve been doing a lot of research trying to figure out where I’m going to school.

Moving on, the last observation I made was that the city of Quito was dedicated solely to soccer. There was a huge stadium and the team is really, really good. But San Francisco has facilities to accommodate professional baseball, football, and golf. I’m happy in either city. They both have what I need. Maybe I’ll add Quito to my list of potential college towns.

Activities:

  1. What are the differences between San Francisco (US) and San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador)?
  2. If you go to Quito, you might feel a little sick or dizzy. Why? Do some research to find out what the remedies are.
  3. Watch this video about Quito http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8owQdL_Ak7M What would you like to visit if you went to Quito?