A big jump makes full circle.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
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Monday, October 3, 2005

When I left Trujillo I didn't really plan to go as far north as Quito in one go. I guess it's one of the wonderful things about independent travel, you never know what's going to happen and where you will end up. On the bus heading north, I figured that I have a couple of days to spare before I need to be in Guayaquil (about eight hours south of Quito) to meet my brother. And since both my brother and I are keen on beaches and sun soon, I don't know how long we will stay in Ecuador before trying to make our way to the coast of Brazil. We will probably end up visiting Quito together before leaving Ecuador, but just in case we end up skipping it, I thought it safest to go here on my own for a couple of days, as I really would like to see the city. I rather visit twice than not at all.

When I read the above myself, I guess what I am writing doesn't sound very well planned and thought through. In fact, I guess it may not make much sense to you at all. But believe me, to go all the way to Quito from Trujillo made so much sense when I made the blurry decision down in "borderline" after about 12 hours on a bus. Hence I am here in Quito now, the Ecuadorian capital.

Well, now you (maybe) know the reason behind the big jump. And my big jump also makes full circle. Almost at least, I am only missing the stretch of road from Quito and north to PopayŠn in Colombia. I guess I'll have to save that piece for a future trip. At least I wouldn't mind doing it one day, as that particular road is apparently one of the most scenic and spectacular in South America. So after almost a year on the road, I have made my way through most of Central America and also more or less full circle down here. Time for round two and another spin I guess.

Anyway, I spend a few days in Quito (2850m). In my opinion a pleasant city, with a really nice colonial Old Town. Yes, it's another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Most of the time I just spend walking around looking at plazas, churches, beautiful buildings or idle on a bench doing some people watching. Of course there's time for a party as well, and the Mariscal neighborhood in New Town seems to have the most nightlife, as well as the biggest herds of Gringos. Quito is no doubt a very popular place for backpackers, and the biggest number seems to be from the US. Not sure exactly why, but overall it seems that Ecuador is very popular with North Americans.

I also manage to visit touristy Mitad Del Mundo (that's equator for you guys), just 22km north of Quito, as well as Pululahua (a gigantic volcanic crater) close to equator. Only problem is that the crater is completely covered in fog, so the visibility is like nada. I found Mitad Del Mundo interesting enough, a "cool to have been there" kind of place. It's not that much more to say about my excursion, except maybe the hilariously expensive taxi that took me there. Close to Norwegian prices in fact. Normally I would have taken a cheap bus instead, but I was in a taxi at the time, not planning to go to Mitad Del Mundo, and then the taxi driver mentioned the place... Okay, vamos! Overall I find Ecuador a bit funny in that sense. Some things like taxis are really expensive, while other things are quite cheap. They also use the US dollar here now (switched from sucre in 2000), which has made things more expensive according to most people I have talked to.

Tomorrow lazy boy will board a plane for the short flight to Guayaquil (I know guys, but I couldn't be bothered with the bus), and hopefully I'll run into my brother on some street corner, already lost on his first day in Ecuador.
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