When we arrived at Quito we hardly knew it. There were absolutely no taxis in the taxi rank, so we walked to the road. The first taxi quoted us 8 dollars to the Old Town and refused to use the meter. The second quoted 7, agreed to use a meter, and was way cool, so we took him.
We arrived at the Secret Garden hostel, where you have to climb 5 flights of stairs to find out if they even have a bed for you or not. The view of Quito from the bar is however, lovely. Luckily they have only 2 beds left... in different dorms. Alex is sharing with some South African missionaries, and I am sharing with three Irish lads (I also have the highest bunk bed I have ever seen). We spent most of the rest of the day planning our next move after Quito, and actually stayed at the hostel for dinner... veg lasagne and pineapple crumble cooked for us. Alex went to do some drawing in her room and as I went to mine I somehow got persuaded to have a drink in the bar with my roomates. That then turned into a full night out to the New Town.
Day 67 - Once again I had minimal sleep and Alex emerges chipper and fresh. But we have a whole Catholic-filled day ahead of us! We went to the Basilica where you can climb some very dodgy ladders to the top of the towers. On the way I bought a bottle of water from an old lady, in a shop full of very lovely Ecuadorian worker-men. We wandered the Old Town enjoying the beautiful colonial architecture and being redirected at least five times for the casa de cambio. The interior of the Monasterio de San Fransisco we found impressive despite our South American church fatigue. At one point we passed a bank with some really angry-looking security guards stood outside. Just as I commented on it to Alex, the one made a kiss towards us, which was both surprising and hilarious. Alex has been doing it to me ever since.
Took a taxi out of town to the teleferiqo, which took us 2.5 kilometres up volcano Pichincha (4100m) to some quite astounding views of the full city and surrounding mountains.
In the evening we went to a restaurant on the plaza grande. There were a few tense moments getting there as we walked to get a taxi, stood on the side of the road and then once in a taxi got quoted an extortionate $5, thus spurring us to get back out and stand on the side of the road once more... not a place to be in the evening in Quito. We got in the next taxi and accepted any price he quoted... $4... well the dollar we saved will go towards the delicious seabass and wine we were about to have. The restaurant was called ¨Hasta la vuelta Señor¨ (until I return, Lord), in the spirit of a naughty monk called Father Almeida who would sneak out of the monastery every night to ´satisfy his libido´. It was kind of fancy for our standards and had a fantastic musical double act consisting of a young guy with lovely long hair strumming a latino guitar and some old dude rocking the keyboard in a suit.
We planned for an early night but with the Irish in my room that was hardly going to happen. At one point we found a cockroach in our room and Gerard had to flush it down the toilet.