One week in Quito
There is no denying Quito is a very beautiful city, particularly from above. The city is built on rolling hills, which makes for a gorgeous setting.
However, the horror stories I had been listening to all week from locals as well as fellow travelers on the roof of our hostel is enough to terrify any solo female traveler from grabbing the bull by the horns and taking on Quito. I try to take what people say with a grain of salt, but when every other person is giving you a laundry list of warnings, it’s hard not to start nurturing an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. You start calculating the odds of safety and think twice before stepping foot outside the hostel doors.
Muggings, theft, crafty techniques the locals use to distract you, taxi cab kidnappings.. the list goes on, but it mostly all revolves around targeting the gringo(a).
I found myself taking a deep breath of encouragement before leaving, and crossing my fingers when entering a taxi at night, hoping he would take me to my destination rather than on an infamous “taxi cab kidnapping”. I was getting completely caught up in the warnings, and found myself tensing up as I walked down the street.
Part of it could have been exxagerated. Because that’s how it goes.. People never tell you about the time they walked down the street and didn’t get mugged, they only tell you those instances where something did go wrong. You only hear the bad stuff. So as it went, I never ran into any problems, nor did I have any close calls… As far I could tell anyway.
All warnings aside, I had a good time. I attempted to eat bbq guinea pig, an expensive Ecuadorian delicacy here, went to the centro del mundo (the equator line), climbed a church and a couple questionable ladders in order to get a 360 view of quito, had multiple cervezas on the roof of my hostel, played endless card games and even learned a couple new tricks, met so many friendly people from all over the world, took spanish lessons at La Pinchinca school (I highly recommend this place.. they are incredibly helpful and patient, and my teacher Rosarito was just a gem), had tons of laughs with Rosarito over things completely lost in translation, made the mistake of bringing up football in a local bar, took a “party bus” solely because it was cheaper, and then got lucky enough to get the dreaded stomach bug from eating some mystery meat. Again. But this time only one day of lying in bed puking. I consider that lucky.
Quito was a good starting point for me, and although I enjoyed parts of it, I was more than happy to pack my bag and book it out of town after a week.
A couple days ago I took a bus to Mindo Cloud Forest, and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to breathe in fresh air and wake up to the sound of the roaring river, as opposed to waking up in a coughing fit from the pollution.
As it goes right now, I am sitting on the edge of my lodge on a wooden bench next to the river and a swarm of humming birds. Crazy to think this is only two hours from Quito. But, I like countries of contrast.. It’s nice to experience the diversity.. And for now, I’m appreciating this one.
Some from Quito…