Getting historical in Quito

Trip Start Nov 06, 2009
Trip End Mar 26, 2010

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We only had one day in Quito before we joined up with our Galapagos trip, but obviously being with Luc that was plenty of time
for a full city tour! Much the same as Santiago really, with a central square surrounded by government buildings and churches
and a cathedral, but a much poorer feel to it compared to Chile. We wandered around for a couple of hours taking in the sights
and then decided to check out the central market and maybe grab some local grub there for lunch. We found the indoor market
and strolled around the myriad of stalls and kiosks, selling flowers, fruit, veg, fish and all kinds of meat from steaks to
what appeared to be inside out cow heads! nice!
We went to the eateries and they were all buzzing with local clientele and we were the only gringos to be seen.

After looking at all the spanish menus and trying to decipher the code from our minimal spanish book, one smiley, friendly looking
lady took pity on us and babbled at us in Spanish and gestured towards her pots and pans in her kiosk. We couldn't understand
a word she was saying or decipher the 6 item menu but we decided to take a punt.
We had read about locro de papa, a local potato soup with cheese and avocado, so decided to stay safe a go for that at a very
 reasonable 50c too.
LC: Although much to the locals amusement, we tried to eat the bowl of chilli thinking it was the soup and the poor lady had
to rush over to us and try explain that the bowl was hot chilli and for added spice only! oops!

This stuff was really good so we thought we would try some more local delicacies so signaled to the lady
 that we wanted something else. She blurbed again in Spanish with her big grin and said something about Arroz which we new
was rice and once she saw our blank faces, pointed to the pig on her apron. So we nodded and thought that pork and rice
 would be fine. A few minutes later she arrived at our table with a very curious looking dish that looked for a second like
it might be tripe and rice!!!!! Fortunately it wasn't tripe it was only white pork fat (un crackled!) served on rice and
covered in a strange sauce. mmmmmmmm. Luc took one bite and looked like she was going to puke! I then ate enough of it so as
not to appear rude and gestured to the nice lady that I was full. We did the touristy thing and got a cheesy photo with her
at her kiosk, and then a local approached us and in very good English explained to us that we were in a very dangerous part
of Quito and we shouldn't be there. He told us to go and not walk anywhere but get straight into a taxi and get out of the
area as soon as possible!!!

So we hot footed it out of the area, and headed back to the safety of the tourist area! We (Lucy) decided to go to the cathedral
and see what it was all about, when we got there they were selling tickets to go to the top and enjoy the view of Quito.
So we thought what the hell and went for it. Now, in any other city that would sell these tickets they would probably only allow you to go
to the bell tower at most, but no, not in Quito, here they make you walk up 3 floors on top of the cathedral, cross a very
rickety wooden plank across the roof, to an even more rickety ladder which brings you to the clock tower, then you ascend a further 2
levels to the bell tower, where my legs went completely weak and dave said his balls definitely shrank to the size of
peanuts (thanks for that). Even here, we were still allowed to go up a ladder 2 more levels to the top of the spires, not to
worry about the lack of safety rails, no no, just a raw edge over the side to the ground about millions meters below*
*note this is not a literal measurement.
Very very scary.

That evening the danger zone saga continued when we were heading out of our hotel for dinner. We were stopped by reception
on the way out the door and asked where we were going. He told us that it was very dangerous outside and not safe to walk
so we must choose a restaurant and take a taxi there and then come straight back!! We obviously can't wait to go back to Quito
after our Galapagos trip!
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Lauren on

Sounds like you guys are having the classic south america experience now! i.e. people telling you you are likely to get shot if you stay in a city for too long...
Wish I was there to translate for you!
Sure you don't want to be reminded of this, but SEE YOU SOON! xxxxxx

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