Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welcome to Ecuador

It's my own fault for not doing more (i.e. any) reading of the Farmer's Almanac to see average temperatures in various South American locales.

On the way into Quito last night from the airport all I can see are people wearing pants, long sleeve shirts, jackets, sweaters, and yes, even the occasional toque. And I am in my shorts and teva's. Ugh. Time to break out the Peru clothes.

Quito is interesting. Much more connected to what we saw in Peru than I would have thought. When we got to the hostel we were greeted by the fantastic host, Antoine, who shared with us a bunch of information, including warnings about safety risks and the various scams that local "bad people" may try to pull. As a result of his briefing and some other stuff we have read I find myself much more paranoid when we are out and about. I think I expected to feel this way in Columbia, then was pleasantly surprised when I was able to relax a bit.

Aside from a cool climbing visit to the local signature church (which culminated in us being mistakenly locked inside the church for a little while), the highlight of the day was undoubtably the cab ride back from dinner.

Since Heather has taken on the unofficial role of family linguist, she handles the taxi negotiations. Tonight we got a bit adventurous and took a cab to the "New Town"area of Quito to check out a recommended restaurant, After recovering from the discovery that the restaurant was very definitely no longer operational, we had a lovely dinner at an Italian place.

Once we were done we grabbed a cab home. It wasn't long before the cabbie started asking us for directions to the hostel. Now, usually this is where I would step in, but given my spanish is not quite conversational and I wasn't really paying attention to exactly how we got to the hostel the first time, Heather jumped in to save the day. Which for those of you familiar with her not-quite-100% natural sense of direction made this somewhat amusing.

She did a fantastic job, Got the cabbie to the bottom of the street our hostel was on. All he had to do was follow her direction and head on up. About a 1/2 block up the hill he says something to Heather and starts turning the car around. She thinks he thinks that this is a one way street and we are incorrect in our vehicular positioning.

My initial thought is he is turning the car around and we'll just end our relationship there, brave the local muggers and walk the last 2 blocks up the very steep hill. Nope. He proceeds to throw the taxi in reverse and start driving up the hill backwards. Through an intersection too. Definitely a memorable end to the evening!

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