Now where did i leave off? It's been an adventurous week! I arrived in Quito on the 25th of June. landed at the Secret Garden hostal, more of a 4 floor concrete jungle, but cool vibe and GREAT food. spent more on the food than the accomodations.
Quito is a city built into the side of a mountain. gorgeous setting, and perfect weather. But man, Quito sprawl gives Los Angeles a serious run for it's money!!! Except for a few plazas, not one tree or any grass in the entire city. And the many buses that traverse the city conk out a huge puff of black soot as they go by. I wouldn't be suprised to find it one of the most polluted cities in the world. After 2 days, I decided to get the heck out, and re-think a month of Spanish lessons here.
So i hopped on a bus to the Saquisilli (Saka-silly) market last thursday- a weekly indigeonous market. It was quite the scene. (i´ll let the pictures explain). more geared towards the locals than the gringos (tourists) tho, as i soon found out. so i decided to move onward to Chugchilan and the Black Sheep
Inn, an eco-friendly lodge that served veggie food in the mountains. But i had missed the main bus and ended up booking a passage with the locals who were returning home to the mountains after selling their wares at the market. i bought a ticket and came back to the bus to find locals piled on with chickens, heaping bags of rice stacked 3 high in the aisles, pig's ears dangling from the ceiling, vegetables, and varous vendors hopping on the bus to sell stuff to passengers. i'm sure a lady had a kitten in a burlap sack because i heard a distinct 'mew' ! wow. so everyone took a seat, and then at least 10 more people than could fit on the bus stuffed in. and so thus began the several hour journey up the mountain via dirt road, stopping every 500 ft to let off the locals. when i finally reached the black sheep inn, i was let off with 2 other tourists at a fork in a dirt road. A half an hour hike later, i was there.
whew! what a day!!!!
The Black Sheep inn was quite a splurge at $20 a night for a
bunkhouse, but soooo nice. had composting toilets, bathrooms with spectacular views of the mountains, a friendly cat named Shakira, and veggie food every night. The owner was a gorgeous guy I wanted to get to know further, until i was introduced to his wife. (sigh). you never want to hear those words from a cute guy. oh well. the next day i went on what turned out to be a 6 hour hike from LAke Quilatoa back to our hostal. BRUTAL!!! the lake was breathtaking!!!! and windy. HAD to be hurricane force winds up there. i would've been content to see it and catch a ride back, but we hiked around the lake at 10,000 plus feet, down an entire mountain side (3000 ft) and then back up another 1000 ft through steep passages with dirt sliding beneath your feet and such. i swore off hiking for eternity!!!!
the next day i sat by the woodburning stove and drank tea and ate oatmeal cookies! yummm.
Back in quito sunday, i walked old town with another traveler and found some really lovely areas. a nice plaza, old architecture and some nice look outs. the weather was so lovely that quito
Me sitting on the Equator
i got a stamp on my passport
was a bit redeemed.
Monday was a miserable day. i took a bus to the papallactas hotsprings, only to find it a mile walk to the entrance with my 30 lb pack, and raining, cold and miserable. after an hour, i hopped on a bus, not quite going where i needed. Bus driver dropped me off at a rather scary police check-point, and 5 mintues later i was picked up by the right bus and shuffled off to my next hostel, the magic roundabout, a GORGEOUS place in the cloud forest, complete with dogs, a bunkroom to myself, great food, and a siamese kitten named Mia, which i ended up playing with all night. i seem to be gravitating towards English speaking, eco-vegetarian places. spoiled, i say!
i'm off to my volunteer experience in the Ecuadorian Rainforest
I'll check in later. i LOVE all your comments. keep them up. internet helps me feel connected. Rob, have a great trip, thanks for keeping up. Kate, keep up with your drinking, Art2, don't let the looney bin get you down. Everyone else, thinkin of you. and now to pictures!!!
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