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December 5th 2010
Published: December 20th 2010
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Buenos Aires to Santiago (2hr), Santiago to Guayaquil (5hr), Guayaquil to Quito (1/2hr) this doesn't include stopovers or refuelling stops etc. We were not impressed but less so the entire Wailers entourage we travelled with (they were finishing up a south american tour in Quito on the 6th).
After going through a slow customs and confused baggage claim we grabbed a voucher ($10 from a booth to the right as you exit) for a taxi from the airport. Arriving at the Magic Bean just before they closed we pretty much grabbed a hot chocolate (actually Nic decided on some ice cream extravaganza) and went to bed.
The masses of police and military lining the streets would have been cause for concern at any other time but today was a public holiday and the street down from our hostel was where the parade was to pass.
The huge and delicious breakfast provided had us ready to set out to Mitad Del Mundo (middle of the world) by local bus (25c). Clearly a tourist trap but an interesting ethnographic museum, a ridiculous 'train', nice shops, the opportunity for the photo straddling hemispheres and (as it was a major celebration day) lots of bands and people dancing so we enjoyed it.
Jumping on any random bus that said it was going to Quito may have been a mistake but fortunately for us gave us a great tour of the city culminating in kicking us out of the bus yelling "no more buses" at a massive monument (the virgin of Quito - Mujer del Apocalipsis) where yet more celebrations looked to be getting underway.
We strolled down the hill hoping to spot a taxi only to hail another random bus that we jumped off when we thought we might be in the vicinity of the teleferico (cable car up to mountain looking down over Quito).
Most of Quito is built on the side of a mountain and walking the steep streets following vague signs is about as much fun as it sounds so we were glad to hail a taxi especially when we realised how far it was.
The views from the teleferico and from the peak were fantastic.
Back to the Magic Bean just in time to finalise our jungle tour then to enjoy the parade. Beautiful costumes, lots of dancing and music, stilt walkers, military bands, floats....awesome!

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