Living it up in Quito

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

It was quite the journey getting to Quito. We left Huaraz at 10pm on Sunday night and arrived in Quito at 11pm on Tuesday. Nothing went wrong that's just how long it takes!  We knew it was going to be long and painful, but we were well over it when we were still 5 hours from Quito!!

We arrived late, so we just hopped in a taxi and headed into town.  I got a little confused when the taxi driver got lost and asked a passing taxi for a different address and hotel name to the hostel I had booked. We eventually pulled up outside a fancy looking building with a lovely lobby and I realised that Kevin must have booked something else as a surprise! I stood in reception grinning because we had been saying for a while we could do with a night somewhere nice! Not sure we looked like their usual cliental as we got some funny glances – in fairness we looked like we'd been on buses for 2 days and smelt a bit like it too.  We arrived up to our room and I started grinning even more when I realised it had a kitchen – sad as it sounds I’ve missed cooking food that I want to eat and know what’s in it! We had showers, ordered pizza and got into our lovely bed with crisp white sheets for a long sleep…..

We had decided to spend a while in Quito because we wanted to get some more Spanish lessons, so I spent the morning of the next day arranging lessons with Guaysamin Language School.  Because they don’t do weekends we decided to start the following Monday which gave us 5 days in Quito before that.  I have to say we didn’t use them particularly well, or at least we weren’t very efficient in our sightseeing.  In fact the only thing we really managed to see was Mitad Del Mundo (the equator), and it wasn’t that thrilling.  The monument itself isn’t even on the equator line, and apparently the equator moves position anyway so it’s a little gimmicky.  Still a must do for the novelty effect – it’s the first time we’ve been on the equator on our travels.  After visiting the monument we went to the nearby museum which is actually on the equator where they give you a little information on the amazon region and the locals, plus some 'scientific experiments’ which 'prove’ the Coriolis effect.  Needless to say Kevin had some comments to make about this, mostly in my ear.  For anyone who has been they aren’t real, they rig the water test and the others really don’t have anything to do with anything.  Kevin was mostly annoyed that even when he said it to the guide (after the tour in private) he wouldn’t admit it was a hoax.  I think he probably didn’t know and actually thought it was as amazing as the now-badly-educated child who was in our group. 

One thing we did do, which was actually top of my list for Quito, was watch the final Harry Potter movie.  I got a little stressed in Peru, as Lucy would confirm, that I wouldn’t get to see it, so was delighted when I saw that it was on in Quito.  So after arranging Spanish lessons we went straight out looking for cinemas.  Just by chance as it was ‘half-price Wednesday’ we even got to see it for cheap.  Great stuff.  We enjoyed going to the cinema so much we went back two days later to see Captain America! Not as good as Harry of course but still entertaining. 

So Monday came around and we had done very little so we felt all organised getting up to start lessons at 8.30am.  We really enjoyed the lessons and hopefully understand a little bit more having done them.  Our teacher, Ybeth, was great and made the lessons fun and interactive.  Luis who runs the school is very helpful and I would definitely recommend anyone to use them.  We finally made it into the old town on Monday, but unfortunately every afternoon there was torrential rain at about 3pm so we didn’t get to spend much time there before we were ankle deep in water and headed back. 

We decided on Friday that us sightseeing in Quito was definitely not meant to be.  We attempted to make it to Parque Itchimba for about the 4th time, this being our last chance as we were heading to Latacunga the next day, and instead ended up in the police station making a report because we had our camera stolen, and then in a  shopping mall buying another one so we can take pictures of the rest of our trip! It was stolen out of our bag in the space of 2 minutes whilst we were walking! Must be the area for it because as we were filing our report 2 other tourists walked in who had their camera stolen the day before.  Not very happy although we didn’t lose many pictures – just the ones since we got to Quito – and I think one camera in 10 months is actually quite lucky.  Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again.

As we are discovering more and more we prefer being out of cities and wandering around the countryside, however all in all I really enjoyed our time in Quito, mainly because our apartment felt like a home and it was nice having the routine of Spanish lessons, albeit for a short time.  However because of our general preference for smaller towns I’m not sure we gave the city itself enough attention.  It’s in a lovely setting surrounded my mountains and when it isn’t raining it looks beautiful.  The Mariscal area, or Gringoland as it is affectionately known, isn’t great although it has its share of good coffee and anything else you want to remind you of home, but the old town is pretty to wander around.  To be honest though I was happy to give up the old town and the mountains for some home comforts!!

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