0.2333° S, 78.5167° W
Quito was a really cool city. Although there's not heaps to do there, it's surrounding areas are packed with activities. We got there pretty late so jumped in a taxi to a hostel we found using the Lonely Planet South America guide book. As soon as I stepped foot in Vibes hostel I had a good feeling about it. We checked in to our room which had no one else in. Score ! Then as we were about to head out for some food and then we bumped in to an English lad called Greg. He had been in Quito for a few days so he decided to join us in finding a bite to eat. Turns out food in Ecuador is crazy cheap ! Like $2/3 per meal.
The next day we got up and headed in to the old town of Quito to be top tourists. This was a 15 minute walk from our hostel. Now, I hold my hands up when I say, I can't for the life of me navigate using street maps. Mountaineering maps no problem, Orienteering at school, I rocked that shit. A simple street map following lines. Useless. This doesn't mean I don't try and fail every time though. So with that we followed my sense of no direction and ended up taking around an hour to finally find the old town. Normally Jordan gets mad at me doing this but we happened to stumble across KFC so I was let off the hook.
Our first stop was the cathedral. It was ma-huuu-sive! And very pretty. It was only $1 entrance and you can walk around the inside then head outside and climb to the highest steeple which looks out over Quito. After this we wondered round aimlessly still trying to find the old town. If you start walking up steep roads behind the cathedral then turn around because that is not the way. The old town is pretty big and there are loads of museums to check out. We wandered around 'Museo Alberto Mena Caamaño' which is a free art museum that backs on to the library. You can also access the roof through the library and see the old town from high up.
That night we planned on leaving Quito to go to Otovalo for the market, but we decided it was easier to just get up early and then go as a day trip. we went out to buy some food to cook in the hostel and also accompanied it with some beers and a bottle of wine, and you know what that means. We're getting drunk and going out. Infact, we're going out out ! We spent a few hours drinking in the hostel with our new friends Greg, lee and Michelle and then headed out to the Irish bar at the end of the road. Here we ended up making some more friends (as you do when your drunk and start talking to people) and then all went to boogie on down in bungalow night club. Being on a budget, it really upset me when I realised it was a $5 entrance fee, but this was totally bypassed when we got given a free drink ticket, especially when the drink was pretty much pure vodka !
6.00AM. 'I need water'. This was the only thing my croaky voice could conjure up as Jordan tried to get me out of bed for the 5th time. You no the point where you realise your defiantly going to have a hangover tomorrow. Well, I went way past that and as I stood up I figured I was almost as drunk as when I left the club. Nevertheless we chucked some stuff in our day packs and jumped on a bus from the terminal to Otovalo ($3 p/p) I literally slept the whole way and woke up feeling Sober and a hell of a lot better. Now, not everywhere in South America has signs to let you no where you are, so when I asked a local behind me how long until Otovalo, I assumed he knew what he was on about when he said 30 minutes. No. The little fucker either had no idea where we were or was taking the piss, because it turns out we had already gone way past our stop and ended up having to catch a bus back in the opposite direction.
Regardless of this, waking up at the wonderful hour of 6.00AM meant that we still arrived at the market at a decent time. I fucking love markets. Wether it's the local market in Birmingham or a million miles away, I can literally spend hours in them. So this was a perfect opportunity to stock up on some presents and other stuff. The first thing we saw was a man selling puppies for a dollar. 1 dollar! And they were the cheapest thing being sold in the whole market. Although I couldn't buy the puppies I bought a hat and so did Jord. Most of the merchants were dressed in traditional clothing, the men with fishtail plaited ponytails and the woman in white shirts and long skirts decorated with colourful bands and hair ties. We spent around 5 hours checking out stalls selling hammocks, spices, jewellery, clothing and bought a few bits and bobs then headed back to Quito.
We got back to the hostel and Jordan took off his hat. 'Oh, where's my hat... Ahh ya bastard I left it on the bloody bus!' At this split second of realisation I could of literally thrown all my things on the floor and had a 4 year old tantrum. I fucking hate it when things like this happen. A lovely brand spanking new hat now sat under the chair of some shitty little bus. I liked that hat, I liked it a lot. I liked it to the point where I sat admiring it thinking yes, you will serve me well on this trip. And now it's going to sit there until some jammy dodger realises it's without a head to hug and pinch it for their own Barnet. But it's gone and with Baños around the corner I'm sure I won't be upset for too long.