Quito

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Curiosity about the capital of Ecuador is too much and I decide to make a stop in Quito to have a look. Driving around the edge of town to avoid traffic works well until I drive in an un-signed bus-only lane and get stopped by the Police. At first they try hard to bribe me for a few reasons including having only one number plate and the obvious one of driving in the wrong lane. Eventually they ask for my insurance, a touchy subject.

At the border I asked about insurance and the guy kind of, sort of said it was mandatory to drive in Ecuador, but didn’t know where I could get it?! After pushing the issue for a while the guy helpfully suggested I just show my Colombian insurance because the Police wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway.
Under the pump in Quito I really have nothing to lose and give it a shot. The Police frown at it for thirty seconds then tell me in the future to show that first when asked for ‘documentation’. Sweet.

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La Basilica in Old Town

I somehow manage to get all the way into The Secret Garden Hostel in Old Town using only the Lonely Planet maps for direction. It’s a grand old building positively packed with westerners and I immediately strike up friendships with anyone and everyone. There are constant warnings about how dangerous the city is, so I stay in at night and walk around with nothing in my pockets during the day. I wander all over Old Town looking at endless churches and squares before making my way into the much more commercial New Town. Western brand names are extremely prominent and every second sign is in English advertising a tourist trip to destinations like the Galapagos. It’s a very beautiful city with a really cool vibe, if not a little crowded and busy for my taste.

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The city seems to stretch forever down the narrow valley

I’ve struggled to get decent maps since Guatemala and happily to make a visit to The Instituto Geográfico Militar, high on a hill overlooking downtown. The guys in uniform can’t contain their curiosity about my hair and I wind up with an excellent map of the entire country for $4.

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Close up of La Basilica

Ecuador might just be the cheapest country I’ve been to yet. Gas is USD $1.47 per gallon and diesel is $1.07. Just to emphasize, that’s USD$ 0.39 per liter for gas. I’ve been buying a standard meal of soup, chicken or beef, rice, beans, salad and juice in markets for $1.30 and I can barely eat it all.

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Looking North along the valley

I enjoy my three days in the city, and am thoroughly ready to get back into the mountains.

-Dan

11 Responses

  1. Samuel says:

    Hey man, I saw you park your jeep at the hot springs here in Baños this morning. Saw your license plate and had to check it out. Very cool. I hope to do the same general route some day. Good luck to you!

    • Dan says:

      Hey Samuel – are you still around? we should have a beer. I`m in town tornight (Wednesday) and will be around someplace having a beer for sure. Hope to catch you.

  2. Dukaroo says:

    Dan-0 be tearin up el equator! Miss you brotha keeping abreast with your travels is much fun. I can hear your smile in almost every word that you write. Keep it rockin my man. No Fear, Much Love, Blue Skies– DUKE!

    • Dan says:

      Dukaroo!
      Great to hear from you my man. I know you are grinning from ear to ear each and every day!
      When do you move off to the land-of-a-plenty? Any idea how long you’ll be there? which resort?
      Keep it up brother.
      -Dan

  3. Ioana says:

    Can wait to see you in Romania

  4. Dukaroo says:

    Yahhhhh buddy! You know I am. I can see that you still be rockin! What happened to the tent? too small for ya? Just wanted to send my love brotha! Headed to Mt Hotham as soon as i get a ticket sussed. $800 USD round trip kid supa dupa stoked! Much love my man– keepit rockin and say hey to Guererrita.

    • Dan says:

      Hey buddy. I still have your tent in reserve, mine is absolutely dead so yours will be promoted to the front lines very soon. Thanks again man. Hotham is a wicked mountain, you´re going to have a blast, but you know that.
      Take care.

  5. Ioana says:

    I just supposed you’d come.:-s So..thinking of coming here?:d

  6. Dukaroo says:

    hell yahh brother! Thats why i gave it to ya! You’re gonna love it! Can’t wait to hit hotham gonna be a blast! Much love kid- We’ll jam again one day I’m sure of it- Enjoy, be good to yourself- LOve DUKAROO!

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