Published: September 20th 2012September 18th 2012
Since the last blog a few changes occurred... The main one is that Tatiana decided to volunteer for a while on a farm in Colombia (we will meet up later on again), and the other main change is that I am in Ecuador.
I arrived in Quito last week on Monday, the busride from Cali was the usual adventure and took in total about 17 hours and 4 buses. The border crossing was easy and quick. For the first time at the border, I decided to exchanged my Colombian pesos for dollars with the dodgy men who carry a huge pile of cash, waving it into your face while you pass. Of course the guy tried to rip me off by about 30% but it didn't require more than a smile and a "no way dude" to get the right amount. They are good though because they calculate it on a calculator in front of you, showing you the exact (and surprisingly right) calculation, not hiding anything, still its not the right amount...
Entering Ecuador was like entering a completely different world. Very strange at first as i really fell in love with colombia and missed it already... but
I enjoyed the new landscape. The busride to Quito took another roughly 7 hours. It's not far, but the mountains make it impossible to drive with a constant speed and the police slowed the trip down, stopping us about 6 times, checking passports, opening luggages and controlling some people. On the Ecuadorean highways signs saying "stop the narcotraffic" are to be seen everywhere, which explains the many controls close to the border.
But not only the police entered the bus constantly, also the usual vendors. I tried a coconut ice cream. Seriously. No words can describe it. It's basically a frozen shaved coconut with a bit of milk. Nothing more. Pure. Delicious.
On the way we passed a huge fire right by the street and as it turned out Quito had a lot of fires in the past 2 weeks, maybe because it was so dry with a lot of sunshine but more likely its a person doing it on purpose...
When I arrived in Quito I immediately took a cab to the hostel, I paid $6 for a 40min can ride. You think that's great? I paid $1.75 for a two course lunch with fresh juice...
Since I arrived here I never paid more than $2.25 for food... And I'm not talking about a burger in McDonald's or some nasty fast food... I'm talking about home cooked delicious meals...But I'm not surprised coming across such low prices in a country where petrol is cheaper than water :)
Anyway, the first day I asked a lady on the street for directions, she decided to walk me there, so for about 20min she asked everything about my country, my family, me. I enjoyed talking to her so much, i hoped everything in quito was just like this woman.
The next day i went to the historical center, which is huuuge and so well maintained, beautiful colonial buildings, clean, a mix if indigenous people, tourists and mestizos. The same day three gorgeous little schoolgirls started talking to me on the street, curious to see a white face, asking about my name and my origin. This is when I fell in love with the city. I experienced this many times throughout the day, that kids were curiously asking questions or giving advice when I entered rather dangerous areas. Everybody finished the conversation with telling me to be careful...
I started to wonder if the city is more dangerous than it seemed, but it was too late, I was in love and decided to stay a bit longer. ...And here I am... 10 days later... :)
I changed my accommodation and have been couchsurfing with this kid who is a musician and right now practicing with his band in the living room. I didn't spend much time with him though, besides the occasional shared lunch after his uni or drink on saturday, but I met some really cool people, who were showing me amazing places all around town and with whom I could practice some Spanish too :)
Overall Quito is amazing, I tried so many different things again, I started loving to have coffee at 8pm
with a salty pastry and I love that they serve popcorn to fish-dishes like ceviche or encebollado (the best fish soup I have ever had). I tried empanadas de viento, Quimbolito, helados de paila, and I love the variety of corn and bananas they have.
But besides eating I have done some sightseeing too, I went to the Mitad del Mundo, the "centre" of the world, standing on the
northern and southern hemisphere at the same time wasn't life changing but I fulfilled another one of my little dreams :) I also visited a village that is located inside the crater of a vulcano! Crazy, astonishing and just beautiful.
Time to say good bye again as tomorrow I will go to another city...
There are more photos below