Jaza's World Trip

Exploring Quito

After the all-night affair that was last night, I took it nice and easy today. Got up waaay too early (like, 9:30am) so I could catch the Secret Garden laundry service, as well as their rooftop breakfast. Hey, let's face it, everything that happens at that place, happens on the roof. Considering my physical and mental state today, it made a perfect day for staggering around the streets of Quito, getting acquainted with a city that seemed to be just as tired and hung-over from a big Friday night as I was. That's right: nice place, but absolutely dead on a Saturday.

I must admit, I really haven't made up my mind about whether I like Quito or hate it, and I'm not sure that I ever will. On the one hand, it has: an amazing night life and great restaurants in the Mariscal area; terrific public transportation; a very pleasant climate (I think that the cold altitude of 2,800m, and the hot latitude of 25km from the equator, cancel each other out); good places for backpackers to stay; and lots to see and do in the city and around.

But on the other hand, it's also expensive; and (this is my biggest problem with the city) in many areas, it has a decidedly seedy, unnerving, and dangerous feel to it. The area between the Old and New Towns, in particular, has a ghost-town feel to it on weekends and at night, and it gives me bad vibes. The fact that I got harassed there this morning, by a little kid with a rusty nail, doesn't help this vibe at all (he didn't attack me, but he did half-threaten me).

Anyway, after my little day of exploring, I now know my way more-or-less around the Old Town (where I'm staying), the New Town (where virtually all tourist services are), and the area in between. I also got to know "El Trolé", Quito's nifty little cable-car service, which runs along two of the main roads connecting the Old and New Towns. Great service: runs every 5 minutes all day; goes fast, because it has its own lanes; and only costs $0.25 a ride (as the Americans would say, "only costs a quarter").

All that exploring really wore me out today: so in order to catch up on last night, I slept all evening tonight (missed the Aussie BBQ dinner at the hostel — ah well, Thai curry $%#!s on that any day), and didn't get up until the next morning.

Filed in: QuitoExhaustedWandering