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Published: December 12th 2011
Please note that we didn’t actually take any pictures in Quito, and therefore we have again added some of the photos that we rather like, and that didn’t make it into previous blogs…
It was difficult to tear ourselves away from Colombia after the amazing 5 weeks or so that we were there, but it was finally time for new surroundings, and therefore a new country. Hola Ecuador!
We very nearly decided against coming here at all at one point. Not because of anything detrimental to Ecuador itself, but purely because of our time constraints within this huge continent. The main reason it went back on the list though was simple. How could we come this close to Ecuador and not try to go to the Galapagos Islands?
It was a long shot, as although plenty of boats go to the islands and availability would be fine, we knew that this was one trip that didn’t come cheap, and being on a travellers budget, it seemed unlikely that we would get on a boat for anywhere near the sort of money we were willing to spend. However, we took the gamble and hopped on a flight to Quito
(Ecuador’s capital) to see what we could haggle for a last minute deal.
We arrived in Quito late afternoon, and got a cab directly to a hostel in the new town. We had heard various rumours about Quito being dangerous after dark in both the new and the old towns, and therefore took the ‘calculated’ risk of going to the new town. Why? Because our guide book suggested that going out after 10pm in the new town would be dangerous, whereas wandering the old town after 9pm was ill advised….with logic like that, you can’t go wrong!
So after just one night, we awoke in the morning, sought some breakfast, and headed to ‘Happy Gringo’ Travel Company. We had heard this was a good place to start looking for a last minute Galapagos trip, and it was round the corner from the hostel, so seemed perfect. It was.
After around 45 minutes, we were handed three choices of boats in three different categories that all left the next day. Amazingly, all three of the boats (one budget, one standard, and one luxury) all came well under our budget to spend, and therefore we were spoilt for choice.
After another hour or so deliberating, we finally made our choice, and decided on the middle of the pack, standard boat called the Pelikano G1. The decision was made by simple elimination… the budget boats are known for breaking down, and could be a bit cramped, so we left this one out of the equations. The luxury boat was a great deal, and therefore affordable to us as it was last minute, but what about the people that had booked this well in advance, and paid close to full price? Would they be an older, rich crowd that we had nothing in common with, and therefore make this once in a lifetime trip a bit of a drag? The last thing I want to spend my trip talking about is Porsches, country clubs and Golf! No, this was a risk we didn’t want to take, so, it was decided… the Pelikano was the boat for us!
So, after filling out a few forms, waiting for a few phone calls to be made, and handing over some cash, we were all booked up, and ready to go for the morning. Flight time was early (6.30am), and therefore we would have
to be in the airport for 4.30am…no worries, we would get an early night, set the alarm for 3.45am in order to snooze a few times, and would be rearing to go come the morning, a plan with no drawbacks!
Wrong! We didn’t know it at the time, but were soon to find out that this wasn’t going to be the easiest night to get our heads down early, and be fresh as a daisy come 4am. The reason for this was the local football team ‘LDU Quito’ was to play a Copa Sud America semi-final against a club from Argentina (Velez Sarsfield) that night at 7.30pm, and therefore the whole town and their dogs got together down the new town to watch it. There were hundreds of people spilling out of bars, restaurants and hostels in order to get a glimpse of a TV to watch the big game. It was like being in London when England are playing a world cup match, but without the mindless violence! Just our luck! On any other day, we would have been happy to watch the game in a bar with everyone soaking up the atmosphere with a few pints and
shouting at the telly with the locals, but not tonight. Tonight we needed sleep, and therefore we reluctantly climbed in bed, and tried to zone out the shouting and cheering from outside. It seemed it wasn’t going to be our night though, as Quito won the game, and therefore everyone was in party mode whilst we were tucked up in bed trying desperately to fall asleep!
Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, the alarm sounded, and it was clear that as neither of us were awake already, we had both got at least a little sleep. Outside was predictably pitch black, but something that wasn’t natural was the lack of peace and quiet that is normally associated with this ungodly hour. Instead of silence 4am usually brings, we could hear, and feel music. It was the Pacha nightclub two doors down still going strong, celebrating Quito’s victory! How we slept through this is anyone’s guess, but we did, and now it was Galapagos time….a once in a lifetime trip that we never dreamed we would ever get around to doing. So, we turned the second alarm off (the emergency alarm – we couldn’t afford to miss this flight!) dodged the revellers of Pacha, and were off to see some Boobies!
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