My first impression of Quito was quite promising, the weather good, the people friendly, and the taxi driving a lot less like and extreme sport. When I arrived at my hostel (The Secret Garden) it only got better, 5 stories and almost maze-like the staff are incredibly friendly, the hostel owned by and Australian/Ecuadorian couple. I spent my first day catching up on some much needed sleep after not sleeping the night before and then met an array of people at dinner that night. In particular a lovely American couple who are into mountain climbing and a range of other outdoor adventure sports, we immediately discovered we have quite a bit in common and before they left invited my over to the states (Colorado) to do some bike riding and other outdoor sports with them, which I think will probably happen over the next couple of years, and in return I invited them to Australia to eat ice cream (long story). The following morning I went out on a walking tour of the "old city" which is heritage listed and after seeing the beautiful buildings and streets I can understand why. The neighborhoods feel very European and during the day very
safe, with a strong Spanish influence, there are also beautiful churches what feels like every few meters. During the tour I got talking to a couple of Americans who are in Ecuador to volunteer and luckily for me, fluent in Spanish. Also there was Seth, the English zoologist with his rainbow hair that captured the attention of many of the locals. We made plans to head to the equator for the afternoon which is only 40 minutes north of the city. On the way there we caught their public buses which set us back a whole 40 cents, and gave a pretty good insight to the local life. The equator was an experience, we went to a cultural museum, where they gave us the recipe on how to shrink heads (a now banned Amazonian tradition). We then stood on the equator where they showed us thatthen draining water it doesn't get the "tornado" effect that we see and then on either side of the equator showing theclockwise and anti-clockwise tornado effects. We then got to try and balance an egg on a nail, again while standing on the equator with 3 out of the 4 of us being successful. After
a big day wewhen went back to the hostel not long before dinner to relax after a big day. Again at dinner I met some more people, Australians, Americans, English, exchanging stories of home and experiences. Yesterday I went up in a cable car to getman amazing view over the city and at a bit over 3000 meters the lack of oxygen was a little more obvious, a couple of the girls getting headaches, but it was definitely worth it for the view. I would definitely recommend to anyone who comes to Ecuador to spend a couple of days in Quito. Tomorrow I am heading out towards the jungle to go white water rafting,followed by a few days of hiking volcanoes as well as some down hill mountain biking to get back down to the bottom of them. Can't wait!!!
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