Gringo Tax, Quito and Cats

Quito Travel Blog

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The Plaza Grande, Quito.
There are many ways to get ripped off in South America. Marie and I seem to have found a knack of stumbling upon them. So far, we´ve been ripped off by taxi drivers, a travel agent and a "helpful" airport official working in tandem (conniving buggers did us for about $40 on top of our flight tickets as we were in a rush to leave), and by the Peruvian government (they charge foreigners an airport departure tax of $30).

It´s beginning to feel that travellers fresh to the conitnent are taxed in any way possible by the locals. For all I know, when we leave Quito tomorrow I may be subject to both Stupid Gringo tax and Sunburnt Losers tax to cap it all off. Perhaps I´m being a little unfair, after all we clearly touched down here as green as the jolly green giant taking a bath in a vat of mushy peas.
Shot from the Teleferiquo cable car, Quito.
The locals simply see you coming a mile off and rub their hands together with glee. 

In fact, wait a second, I´d actually like to thank all those responsible for fleecing us in the first three days because they´ve done me a big favour. I´m now going to watch out for similar scams in the same way an eagle with really good contact lenses looks for its prey. Once bitten (or sunburned) twice shy.

Anyway, enough carping, Quito is fully worth the hassle of getting here. When I was thinking about travelling again, this is the kind of city that fired my imagination. It has views to burn, set in an Andean valley just under 3,000 metres above sea level and, in my opinion, ranks alongside the likes of Sydney for its beauty. Around every other corner in the wonderful Old Town, there seems to be yet another splendid view.
Quito from the top of a very big hill.
Add to this a sense of history and pride in the people and the architecture, and you get a place well worth spending some time in. 

Oh and it´s also got a cool go kart track 4,100 metres up. You have to get the TeleferiQo (a spanking new cable car system from which the views are astounding), up there. I can heartily recommend both the trip up and down ($4) and the karts ($10 for 15 mins - sounds like a short time but at that altitude - it´s knackering!).

Tomorrow we leave for Otavalo, a market town a few hours north. Beyond that, we´re heading for the rainforest and a wild cat reservation in the middle of nowhere in the North West of the country. I may be out of internet range for a while so, for now... 
oldschoolbill says:
At least you were not hoodwinked by the complicated swindle & tariff reserved for screen challenged travelers from Sheffield, I hear it can be quite dicey!
Posted on: Nov 16, 2008
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The Plaza Grande, Quito.
The Plaza Grande, Quito.
Shot from the Teleferiquo cable ca…
Shot from the Teleferiquo cable c…
Quito from the top of a very big h…
Quito from the top of a very big …
Go Karting, he´s about to hit me …
Go Karting, he´s about to hit me…
photo by: Bluetraveler