La Basilica, El Panecillo, Robbers, and Guinea Pigs

Published: July 24th 2011
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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!


24th July 2011

Great adventure already!
I'm glad you're ok after the robbery. Terrible to lose your camera (I figure a water bottle isn't too difficult to replace), but I guess if you're going to learn about that kind of thing, doing it right at the start will serve you well the rest of the trip. What I'm really excited about is your adventurous palate! Great job trying all the local foods. You're being a goodwill ambassador for the US when you travel like that - helps convince people we're not all egocentric Americans. Have a wonderful time snorkeling and visiting the islands. And please, remember what I said - if you're going to make a mistake, stay safe, but make it a good story. So far, you're right on track. :)
26th July 2011

Yikes D! Thats crazy girl! Luckily there were people around to help you! You should definitley buy some pepper spray. And a knife! OR You could buy a guinea pig and teach it to attack. That would scare me away, a ferocious attack-guinea pig. YIKES! Anyways, I wanted to say BE SAFE girl! And I love you!
26th July 2011

Adventures Ho
Delana, I am so glad that your encounter with the robbers left you safe. How exciting that you are in Equador - can't wait to hear about the Galapagos. I am looking for any travel tips for our Polaris group this spring. You are braver than me when it comes to food - I am not sure I need to try out all the local cuisine :-)
30th July 2011

At least you weren't TAKEN...
Wow! We're all glad to hear that you're safe, and I'm hoping you'll get that knife nice and sharp and practice some ninja skills. Have fun with the turtles! :)

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