We landed in Quito last night right on time and are just starting to get our feet on the ground. All of the worries about immigration and customs were unfounded - a line that would have taken days to get through in the US was through in a matter of 30 minutes or less. It appeared that everyone that ¨applied¨ for a visa was shuttled through in a minute or tow. The only word that was said to us before she stamped our passport was, ¨Done.¨ Easy enough! Customs was the same deal. Any questions about something seen in the scanner? They ask you...assess your answer and send you on your way! No shuttling to a side interrogation room. No asking for your first born.
By far the most difficult of the entire travelling process was something that one would consider a given...using the pay phone. Apparently not though. We thought that we would be smart and call the hostel just to confirm our reso. So we sat at the pay phone trying to figure out how to pay the 12 cents they were charging to use the phone. Seeing that it appeared to only take cards, we put our credit card in ...over...and over...and over...about ten minutes later we thought we´d try to dial the number and see what would happen. Or not...so many numbers, so little clue! Finally, a local that saw our patheticness decided to come over to see it he could bail us out. Problem was we needed some phone card to use a public phone. So needless to say, we decided not to call ahead and let the gods take charge.
We did make it to the hostel safely with little event and we even remembered the directions in Spanish. The place is a perfect starting point for us - quiet, clean, and little out of town. Perfect for us to get our heads around this crazy new reality we are in.
Today we are exploring a bit of New Town Quito...on foot. We are not quite ready for the bus system. The basic idea seems to be...a guy hangs out the side of the bus, shouting out all of the destinations. He then looks for any sign that you might be interested, upon which they swerve the bus to the side of the road, barely long enough to slow down to let you on. Then departing...so far we have seen drop offs in the middle of traffic lines (on a green) and a guy dropped off while the bus was still moving...hmmm....For right now, we are unprepared for that adventure, as just walking down the street is sensory overload right now! So a map and our own two feet are where we are...
It´s Quito Old town tomorrow and then maybe heading north Friday...we´ll see...any way the wind blows at this point!
Many thanks to our family and friends that helped to get us here - we could not have made it without your support (and spare beds!) the last couple of weeks!