Am Coping With Quito
January 23, 2009 by rtwsenior
Today is Friday. I flew easily into Quito, Ecuador, on Wednesday night and have been trying hard to love the place ever since. It´s a big city and modern, as large cities go. The currency in Ecuador is the U.S. dollar and frequently, on some streets, I could think I was still in America.
Of course, it has it´s own distinctive stamp as well, the most individual of which are the Andean people in their native clothing topped by a bowler hat who are the street vendors here. I spent yesterday walking about in the Historic District. It´s not a fortified Old Town or Medieval City which one expects in Eastern Europe and also, which Cartagena was. This is an inland city and didn´t get those fortifications. But, it has many historic buildings and many churches and cathedrals which date back to the 1500s.
We had a brief and wild thunderstorm yesterday and the weather switched to Northern Ireland status, but seems to be warming now. All night, I was regretting that I didn´t even price that bright blue cashmere men´s sweater I saw in a store window. Maybe cashmere is a bargain here and when it gets cold, I put on all of my heavy clothes – even to sleep, as there is no central heating here.
The first two nights were spent in a poor, little ól wanna-be hostel that doesn´t quite make the grade. Some of it wasn´t their fault, though, as they are hosting a group of young women who are trying for the partying championship of the planet, who tilt their noisy way in at 5:00 a.m., make a ruckus getting to bed and then sleep half the day.
This morning I have switched to the very predictable Hostelling International Hostel here, which is the Holiday Inn of hostels, worldwide, but I´m still paying only $15 for a private room with bath. It was only a block away from the first one. I plan to spend the weekend resting, trying harder to love Quito, and researching all the great possibilities that Ecuador offers. I can stick to the colder regions here in the more mountainous sector, or I can head either left or right, down to the jungles or the beaches and again put away my warmer clothes.
Meantime, I´m finding some good restaurants, internets, and all the necessities of life. In my effort to learn about ethnic foods, I foolishly ordered a half GUINEA PIG. ($8.95) It didn´t kill me but once was enough, especially when I realized that the oblong-shaped thing was the head and all the teeth of the top jaw. Tastes like greasy dark-meat chicken with a layer of fat on top.
Otherwise, the food here can be predictably the same all the time. A slab of fish or chicken, rice and salad. No beans and rice in sight yet. I´d almost welcome them. So long for now.