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Published: July 24th 2011
I made it to Quito! I am staying in the Hotel Sierra Madre which is really cute and nice. Yesterday was my first full day here so I decided to go exploring. I walked from my hotel to the old district where there are tons of interesting old buildings and churches. The Basilica is the main church and is gorgeous inside, but you can also climb up the clock tours to get an amazing view of the city.
I also went up to the Panecilla, a statue of the Virgen of Quito, on top of a hill and I walked most of the way but then decided to take a cab the rest since I didn't know how to get up to it. There was also an incredible view of the city in both directions from there, but then I couldn't find a taxi to take me back down so I started walking. Along the way I got attacked/robbed by two men that jumped out of a car driving past. Luckily I am not hurt, and I managed to keep hold of my bag, but they stole my camera since it was on my wrist and my waterbottle. I started screaming really loud and some people in the houses came out and yelled at the guys so they took off, and two young women came to walk with me and find the police which was super nice. There wasn't really anything the police could do, the car didnt plates and they were probably long gone, but they gave me a ride back to my hotel.
So that was my big adventure for the day. And next time I will definitely wait for a taxi!
Today was infinitely more fun, as well as more safe. I met up with another woman going on the same Galapagos trip as me and she had met another guy from LA who was in Quito for today alone as well. So the three of us decided to take the bus to Otavalo this morning at 6:30 and it was definitely worth it. We went to the animal market where they were selling anything from a Guinea Pig (a local specialty) for $7 to a huge pig for $230 or a cow for $200. The place was crowed and most of the locals were wearing the traditional clothing of the area, which was really cool to see. We also went to the huge street market that takes up most of the city and ate some sort of pastries and some delicious freshly cut pineapple from some street vendors. I loved Otavalo and it felt much more friendly and safe than Quito. On the way back to Quito we stopped at the Mitad del Mundo (the equator) for a quick photo before heading back to our hotel to meet up with our Galapagos group for a city tour and dinner. I am now proud to say I have tried Guatito (cow's stomach), Lengua (cow's tongue), and Cuy (guinea pig, probably the dead cousin of the live ones we saw earlier...), all of which are local Ecuatorian specialties and had to be tried!
Tomorrow we are off bright and early to swim, snorkel, bike, and dive in the Galapagos!
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