Still in Quito
Quito Travel Blog› entry 5 of 26 › view all entries
Well I´ve been here a week and it feels like much longer, I´ve done loads of stuff, I don´t know where to begin!
Spanish school is over, I´m not sure I learned a great deal in a week even though my teacher gave me a test everyday. It was more like a refresher. I would have liked to do another week but need to start moving south this week. It served its purpose though, I got to settle in and meet other people. I went to school in the morning 8.30 until 12pm and then had the rest of the day to explore.
On Tuesday, I went into the old town with Susannah (my roommate) for a look around at the colonial buildings and plazas etc. We also went into La Companion de Jesus, a jesuit church covered ceiling to floor in gold, although churches arent really my thing it was amazing.
On Wednesday, I had had my first bus journey to Mitad del Mundo. It took about 2 hours to get there, the bus goes round the city several times until its full. We went to the Ciudad del Mundo, which is the government monument which claims to be the real equatorial line. It was sadly like Lands End, a collection of shops and gawdy buildings, a real disappointment. You can go to the top of the monument to see the view which was good and then visit an ethnographic museum on the way down which was interesting.
The real equatorial line, established by the American Army´s GPS is a short walk away. That was far more interesting as we got to do the experiments that you can only do on the equator line, like whirpools going clockwise on one side of the line, anti clockwise on the other and straight down on the line, all to do with gravity.
On Thursday we had classes for an hour and then went to the Banco Del Central de Ecuador, the main museum. Our teachers came with us and mine insisted that we had the guide speak in Spanish. It was a long tour and we all lost the will to live towards the end because although we got the gist of what he was saying it was hard work. I felt sorry for the guide. In the afternoon, I went round the market with Susannah checking out the tacky souvenirs and trying stupid hats on. I then met Rachel, the girl I got chatting to over the internet and we went with Susannah to the Telefrica, which is a cable car that takes you to the top of the mountain for a view of Quito, 4000 metres up.
I finished school on Friday and met Rachel and her friend from school and we caught the bus to Otavalo, for the famous saturday market.
The market covered almost every street in Otavalo and it was great for people watching, I bought a hat and the biggest most ridiculous woollen socks you´ve ever seen. We bumped into our local friends from the night before who thought it was hilarious that we had hangovers. They tried to persuade us to go to a local party that night. After a while, we decided we´d had enough of the market and got a taxi out of town to a waterfall, I only dipped my toe in but now have about 18 bites on my ankle and lower leg. The others got bit too.
I stayed on saturday and the others went home. On sunday morning I went on a tour to about 3 indigenous communities to see ponchos, baskets, hats, tapestries etc being made. The tour was really good, the guide was informative. I understood what he was saying about the people, education, everyday life etc, even though he spoke in Spanish. I got to have a go at combing the wool before it is spun, not as easy as the little old woman made it look and I had a go on a loom making a tapestry.
I headed back to Quito on my own in the afternoon and had 2 gentlemen try to have a conversation with me, they all want to know where you are from and what you think of their country, I need to learn something other than I thinks its nice! I picked up my rucksack which I left at Lorena´s and moved into the centre of Gringo land to the same hostel as Tara, the Irish girl who came with us to Otavalo. Last night I shared a room with one girl and 4 blokes! Tara has a couple of weeks to spare so we are going to travel south tomorrow to do the Quilatoa circuit, more rural villages. She has met people who highly recommend the area and will be there when we arrive. I can´t believe how well things are turning out, meeting people and doing all the things I had planned. Its a bit overwhelming when I stop and think about it.
Quito is good, there is plenty to do here but I feel I am ready to move on now. It was good to go to Otavalo and get away from the pollution. The weather is strange here too, you never know what its going to do. It is warm all the time but cools in the evening, it was 30 degrees on friday though. Is it spitting at home?!
Well, I think those are the weeks highlights. I´ve taken loads of pictures and will get around to uploading them hopefully at some point. Off to pick up my washing now (I stink!) and have a last look around the market.