Our journey to Quito

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
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Trip End Apr 01, 2012


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Where I stayed
Vibes Hostel

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Thursday, August 11, 2011

From Mancora we are in a bit of a rush to get to Quito, we are trying to make it for our jungle trip and Jon and Jo are trying to book a Galapagos trip before they head home. So we first take a bus into Ecuador and quickly learn a couple things about Ecuador:

  • They lie about how long bus journeys are, usually by a couple hours, but always with a smile on their face
  • The men like to cool off by wandering around town with their t-shirts tucked up above their bellies which are usually quite sizeable stomachs (I presume in order to cool off)
  • They are generally quite interested in us, where we're from, where we’re going and always quick to help us out 
  • They are big on fruit here – as we drive through Ecuador we see fields and fields of banana plantations, piles of pineapples and it’s all very green.  Unfortunately this has been at the expense of the jungle but then this makes Ecuador an easy country to travel around as the infrastructure is in place.
  • There is a lot of taxes, an additional 10% tax and 12% service charge is added on to hotel and restaurant bars and apparently the service charge doesn’t go to the staff so if you want to tip that’s more still (as a 'helpful’ waiter informed us)

We stop in Guayaquil for a night at Hotel Manso, Guayaquil is a big commercial centre in Ecuador, it seemed pleasant enough but has no real sites so we arrived late and left early.  Next was an 8 hour bus and we are finally in Quito.  We get a taxi to our hostel called Vibes Hostel in the Mariscal district.  On first impressions, Quito is the first city that neither of us felt particularly comfortable in.  There are lot of people hanging about the street and it definitely has an edgy feel to it.  The hostel however was very welcoming and secure but a bit basic, although they do appear to be constantly improving it.  First night we head to an Italian restaurant called Al Forno around the corner from the hostel, which does good pizzas and is actually owned by an Italian. 

The next day we discover it’s a bank holiday weekend and so have to spend the morning organising payment for our jungle tour as all the agents are closed.  That all organised we head to the old town to see Quito properly.  The old town is pretty with lots of plazas and churches but not quite set up for tourists – very few restaurants or cafes.  We eventually find a place in Plaza de San Francisco for some lunch.  We then meet Jon and Jo for ice cream before heading back to Mariscal.  After 5pm in the old town, the drunks, homeless and generally crazy seem to appear (no idea where they have been hiding all day) along with the ladies of the night of the male variety so we are quite happy to head back to Mariscal which seems a lot nicer all of a sudden.

At night we head out to Mariscal which is well policed so we feel safe enough.  However as we sit in a quirky bar called La Boca Del Lobo we begin to wonder if the policing is just for show.  We watch as police ignore the drug dealing on the streets and head to stop a boy on his scooter for not wearing a helmet! Next we are start our jungle adventure, beginning with a 10hr bus towards the Amazon.
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Comments

Kara McNaught on

Hey,

Sorry haven't been in touch or reading lately! Have been so busy with course! Hope you are both well!! :) xx

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