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South America Trip (day 5-7): Quito, Ecuador

South America Trip (day 5-7): Quito, Ecuador

I arrived in Quito on Fathers Day and not surprisingly had very little to do.  Having read a bit about Quito during my layover in Santiago I knew that the city was pretty darn cheap.  But as a foreigner, I have to admit, that every single taxi driver tried to rip me off. I got out of one cab when the  driver refused to give me a fair price and on my way to the airport upon leaving Quito I pretended I didn’t have the extra 40% “stupid foreigners fee” and left this taxi driver awfully upset with me.   In any case, let me back up and talk a little bit about my experience in Quito.

I kicked off sunday night with a few drinks with my host, Luis, and promptly went to bed. Monday was the first day I could really do anything. It was very cloudy so I opted to explore the historic downtown. Some of the architecture was quite stunning and I must say that I love that so many of the buildings are painted in beautiful bright colors. Charming. My tour was cut short by rain clouds but it was a good thing I had just bought some rain gear!

I love to see the mix of the architecture with historical monuments!

This street was particularly colorful and cozy

Tuesday I wanted to do EVERYTHING but the late start that I got having felt the need to sleep in a bit definitely prohibited me from doing it all. In any case, I first went to the TeleferiQo – a tram that takes you to the top of Cruz Loma (4100m). The view was great and the weather was also much better than the previous day’s. I took some pictures, had an empanada verde (cheese empanada made from plantain instead of wheat), and strolled around a bit. I would have liked to have hiked but time did not allow it. On the tram ride down I met some very nice ladies from Guayaquil (an ecuatorian city south of Quito) who were also heading to my next stop – La Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World). Yes, for those of you who haven’t worked it out yet, this would be the GPS point 0′ 0′ 0′. No doubt it’s an excellent tourist attraction. Here I had a wonderful lunch (2 course meal for $2) with my new Guayquilian friends, watched a planetary show in Spanish and went to the museum inside the  monument that is to represent the center of the world. The museum depicted all of the indigenous peoples in various parts of Ecuador. It was very interesting to say the least since I knew next to nothing about these cultures before.  And let’s not forget the mountainous view from atop the monument – spectacular as always!

The view atop Cruz Loma

My new friends from Guayaquil that accompanied me to La Mitad del Mundo

Me straddeling the equatorial line

That night Luis and I had indian food and beer (or rather I had the two and he just had beer) and shared our views on life, people, happiness. I felt such peace in knowing that there are people all over the world that share my views. Suddenly geography seems so insignificant. And i´m off totThe Galapagos Islands!

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