Published: July 2nd 2012June 28th 2012
Arriving at the northern bus station, we hopped out of the bus and into a taxi. $8 got us a thirty minute ride into the historical center of town and to our Hotel Vienna. Hotel Vienna was a comfy, roomy, and clean hotel in the heart of historical district for $44 a night. Highly recommended. Next door, the restaurant Vienna served filling full American breakfast for $1.80. And in large cities, safety is always a concern but not around our area. Police typically stood out in front of our hotel day and night, and on many corners throughout the area. Thus, the historical district is conducive and safe for walking, with tidy well kept plazas, old churches on almost every block and plenty of restaurants and cafes to grab a bite. The greatest bargain seemed to be the beauty salons. Amei got a professional layered haircut and mine a typical trim for $2 a piece. I felt like a big shot tipping the beautician a buck. Looking clean cut we hit the historical heart of Quito's old town the Plaza Grande. It's a great plaza for people watching, nice park benches and plenty of locals traipsing by. Incan women can be
spotted in their sporty and debonair hats. Disturbingly, child labor is evident with plenty of kids shining shoes. With the President's house overlooking the plaza, one would think Mr. President would maybe direct the kids into something more beneficial for their future like education. Not complaining, but just curious.
Outside of Quito and about an hour away by bus is the Mitad del Mundo, also know as the Middle of the World. It's the artificial line that divides the northern and southern hemispheres, and since this is a country named after the equator, it deserved a visit. Not really. Well maybe, I don't know. The monument itself is a solid cement like pillar with a globe on top. The surrounding grounds are touristy, with souvenir and coffee shops. If you take it slow and don't expect much you won't be disappointed. More intriguing was the nearby ancient volcanic crater Pululahua. A steep 30 minute hike up to the rim was worth the view, a crater converted into small picturesque farms. Living in a volcanic crater must create a bit of defy the gods attitude.
Well Quito was well worth the three days and even
more would have been fine. Another $8 fifty minute taxi ride got us to the impressive southern bus terminal. Shiny, air terminal like organized with convenient signage allowed for convenient passenger check in. I found the company offering rides to our next destination Banos, about three hours south of the capital. And like most public transportation here in South America, busses depart regularly to all destinations. So purchasing our tickets, the saleslady said we must hurry for the bus departs in ten minutes. With tickets in hand, we boarded the bus and sure enough it left on time. The problem was when I checked our tickets they were blank. Oh oh. About ten minutes after departure the bus conductor checked my ticket, was either suspicious or confused and asked for an explanation. I didn't have any except I paid the required fare and didn't know why the ticket was blank. Mercy prevailed, the conductor allowing me to slide whereby he could have easily demanded another payment. I learned my lesson. Check your tickets when issued, not on the bus, for just maybe there are crooked employees issuing blank tickets and pocketing our fares.
There are more photos below