The Old Town, and Guapulo in Quito.
Quito Travel Blog› entry 9 of 26 › view all entries
Today is my first full day in Quito, and that means it time to check things out. I am staying in the New Town area, which is great for the tourists but could pretty much be set down in any Latin American city. I've been told that the Old Town has character, and is what makes Quito special. I spent about three hours walking through the Old Town. I did the whole tourist thing, snapping pics at every cool looking thing I saw and drinking in the atmosphere. Quito is surrounded by volcanos, and this makes for some great backgrounds of some great buildings. Very photogenic.
I got back to the hotel at about 4:30pm, and figured that I could get in one more big thing today.
I still am not doing so well at putting sentences together, but I have been much better at getting my point across. I also am starting to pick up what other people are saying more often, which is very helpful. We went up a few winding roads, and got to TeleferiQo's entrance.
I didn't have my tour book with me, but I recalled another tourist attraction on the other side of the New Town. We thought about it for a while, and came up with it... Guapulo. We agreed on a price on made our way east. Guapulo is a section of town that rest on a hillside facing east towards the Oriente, Ecuador's Amazon province. We wove our way down for about 15 minutes until reaching the Sanctuary of El Guapulo. There I found a beautiful little church and museum that were open for another 30 minutes.
After this I took a few more pics, and then started looking for a taxi. There were none. Now faced with a huge climb up to the city, I put one foot in front of the other. Maybe a taxi will drive by. I didn't even see a taxi on the 25 minute climb to the top. I was really sucking wind by the time I got to the top, and that casino looked very inviting. After passing through the metal detector, I entered the casino. I found a $2 blackjack table and sat down. I was next to a Dutch gentleman there on business, and the rest of the table was full of locals. The was a good vibe at the table, and I was winning. I stayed for about 90 minutes and won $27 (not bad for a $2 table).
I grabbed a taxi and went back to the hotel. At about 10pm I was hungry so I took a walk. The neighborhood was still fairly busy, so I felt relatively safe. Even so, I only had $8 in my pocket, $20 in my sock, and didn't bring my wallet. I found myself drawn to something I had seen earlier in the day, and I was walking through some deserted neighborhoods with my senses on full alert. I reached my destination intact, and satisfied my hunger. I'm sorry folks, it was a McDonalds.
I took a different route back to the hotel that was a bit better. Right before reaching the hotel I was offered some drugs, and I did pass a prostitute on the way... But it's a big city, what do you expect? I crashed in the room at about 1am. Tomorrow is the re-do for TeleferiQo, and one more trip. Stay tuned.