Around quito

Trip Start Jul 12, 2006
Trip End Aug 23, 2006

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Friday, July 14, 2006

I spent my first full day in Quito walking around the Old Town part of the city and going to the Basilica here. We learned how to salsa (sort of) on the roof of the hostel last night.

I walked around the city with Karen, who is from Atlanta and is also staying at the hostel. We got a little lost a few times but overall we found our way around well enough, and felt safe (most of the time).

Two spots stand out in my mind: the market, where I didnīt take any pictures because it was really crowded and a couple of nice locals told us to wear our bags in front and not to take our cameras out. I donīt think that stopped Karen from taking a few pictures (which Iīll try to get from her)--her camera is pretty small whereas mine is a bit unwieldly for situations like that.

The second spot was the Basilica. We climbed a long way to the top of one tower, and then went up four ladders to get to the top of one of the belltowers. I didnīt post any pictures here because it takes a long time to upload them on this site. Check them out here. (Iīm not sure that this link works... Iīm trying to fix it.) I would like to have seen it before it turned into a tourist spot--whatever had lined the street before had been converted into shops.

I will attempt to tell the following story with as much depth as possible. As I think about what to write, itīs occurring to me that it might be hard not to sound shallow. Anyway, here goes. We met a couple of shoeshine boys (9 and 14 years old) who wanted to shine my sandals in the Plaza Grande. I started talking to them and they said they were already late for school so I was supposed to give them money for something to eat. As cute as they were, I wasnīt going for it so I had them show us where a public restroom was (I was drinking water all morning and had to go pretty badly). They led us to one and I gave them a couple of dollars. Iīm not sure whether or not they were actually late for school, but they had the īcute little Quiteņo boys in need of moneyī act down pretty well and were nice so I suppose they earned it. I dislike the feeling that I might be getting scammed by everyone I talk to (it already happened once this morning: an english-speaking Ecuadorian stopped us and told us that he is an english teacher who just arrived, but that he got robbed and his wife is right up the block and they needed $2 for food. I only gave him 50 cents but he proceeded to cross the street and do some interesting posturing. Iīm pretty sure heīs not an enlish teacher). I have yet to find the balance between unkind and naive. Anyway, I hope the boys got some food.

Iīm going on a hike with some people from the hostel tomorrow at Pichincha Guagua. Also, the connection speed here is dreadful so I didnīt upload all of the pictures I took--and it may be a few days before I upload any more pictures.
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