Settling into Quito
Trip Start Sep 18, 2004
53Trip End Apr 27, 2005
Iyo, thanks for the recommendation, it is a fantastically friendly hostel with the most helpful of staff and you can`t complain about the free rum and coke nights, but you could have warned me about the showers! Taking a shower in this place is like dicing with death! As with all showers in south america they have been made by people who still haven`t discovered that water conducts (check out the photo!). The first shower I had sent enough volts through me to light Oxford Street at Christmas! Also it appears that all the hot water is funnelled into one and all the cold into the other. So its a choice of either 2nd degree burns or hypothermia
Fortunately for me the altitude sickness didn`t affect me too badly, but it was a fantastic excuse to sit around doing nothing for a couple of days, aclimatising to the 3800 metre air!
On the second day, Richard (the friend I met in the airport) and I decided to head into the picturesqe old town section of Quito. We had heard that there had been a demonstration on earlier in the day - apparently the president of Ecuador had recently sacked the entire supreme court and put his friends and family in instead!
As we tried to reach the centre of the old town literally hundreds of police and soldiers lined the streets and many of the streets were closed off by barbed wire and tanks, hindering our progress to the epicentre of the rally somewhat! After negotiating the cobbled streets we finally arrived at the square by the Presidents palace where we discovered he had launched an amazing counter offensive to the march. Directly opposite El Presidentes balcony a stage had been set up and on this stage we four very scantily clad women, dancing and singing for the people! As we watched, el Presidente came out onto his balcony to a surprising amount of cheering considering the point of the demonstration (although in fairness there was more canned cheering from the speakers than from the throngs amassed below!). We stuck around for a while admiring the view (as gringos we were about a foot taller than the average attendee of the demonstration!) and then made our way back to hostel, en route meeting a man wandering about with a anaconda round his neck selling tours into the amazon (and also scaring the living sh!te out of everyone by coming far to close with his snake!)
Reading guide books to Quito you would think it an incredibly dangerous place full of violent gun wielding thieves, searching out gringos to give a good hiding to but I have to say that the demonstration was incredibly peaceful and so far the people have been amongst the most non threatening and friendly I have met (I continue to touch wood as I write this!)