Day 3 - Spanish Lessons and Quito

Trip Start Sep 12, 2009
Trip End Sep 27, 2009

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

They say that Ecuador is one of the best countries to learn the Spanish language.  We took advantage of this by scheduling two mornings of Spanish lessons at Vida Verde with the understanding that we needed a crash course in Spanish for Tourists.  The first day was spent learning the basics and the second day was learning helpful phrases to use in the markets, bus stations, taxis, hotels, and restaurants. The school is very much into almost complete immersion learning and every one was speaking Spanish to us until we were very confused.  I am seriously considering this school or one like it for Patrick after he turns 18 and shows more responsibility.

With school out of the way, our afternoons were free to wander about the city of Quito.  Let me start by saying that I am not a big fan of big cities. There are too many people, too many cars, too much pollution, and way too much to do.  But we survived our two afternoons alone in the big city.  Quito is a very long and skinny city that stretches along the valley between two mountain ranges.  One of those mountains is Pichincha, a volcanic mountian that rises to 13,400 ft.  The TeleferiQo is a cable car that runs up the mountain from valley to the very top of Pichincha.

Getting to the TeleferiQo would seem like a pretty simple task, but when you don't speak the language and are unsure about the safety of taxis, it can be quite an adventure. We wandered up to the artesian market so that Market could get a scarf to brave the cold temperatures on Pichinchu.  I was only paying half attention to her purchase, but I think that she was not really negotiating, but more likely misunderstanding the vendor.  But her Alpaca scarf is very nice and it was only $8.  Back to the taxi, they know gringos and our taxi driver wanted $10 for the short trip to the Teleferiqo.  Since our Hotel clerk told us it should only cost $3, that was my starting price.  We ended up paying $5 but only after he stopped and I openned the car door to get out.  Negotiation 101: Be ready to walk away.  The views from Pichinchu were amazing.

Day 2 sent us into the Historic Center of Quito.  There is a lot of history in South America and the number of museums and churches is baffling.  We visited 2 churches and the Museo de la Cuidad (the city museum).  Entry fees are cheap compared to anything in the US.  We paid just $2 each for the churches and $3 each for the museum.  Try to find that deal in the US.

Now we are done with Quito and off to the bus station for the next leg of our adventure.  See you all in Otavalo.

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