Quito, Ecuador

As I’m sitting in the Quito airport looking back at the past three days of adventure, I can say that Quito is a truly colorful and vibrant city with tons of people who had the patience to listen to my rusty Spanish skills! It’s really been an adventure in this city even if I haven’t been able to experience what a weekend would look like for people here. Before I head to Guayaquil on the second leg of my journey through Ecuador, I’d like to share a few details and stories.

First, they drink instant coffee here! I’m personally not into instant coffee much (and admittedly I didn’t know that Ecuador doesn’t produce nearly as much coffee as its neighbors to the north and south) but I enjoyed the act of stirring the powder into a steaming cup of milk. Actually, I was looking it up and this cafe posted a little about why instant coffee is so popular in Ecuador. Pretty cool!

Next, one of my best friends told me that Cotopaxi was his favorite part of Quito, so I was really excited to see it. However, I wanted to use the buses to get there because adventure. After a while I was afraid we were getting too close to Latacunga on the bus and I might have passed the national park entrance. Luckily there was an Instituto Cotopaxi that a few people were stopping at. I figured it’s probably a museum and entrance. After walking around for a while, I realized it was in fact a high school. Whoops! Embarrassed, I took the next bus into Latacunga (only 18 kilometers away, definitely passed the national park…), got some ceviche and a walk in, and got back on the exact same bus that took me south. Altogether, I’m pretty impressed with the buses of the Quito city and metropolitan areas— I never waited more than five minutes between getting to a bus station and being on the road (maybe a coincidence but after five or six buses I’m convinced).

Lastly, I stayed in a hostel in the historical center of the city, only three blocks away from the presidential palace, Carondelet. I’m not sure where I would have read about this, but I’m putting it out there: every Tuesday at noon there’s a ceremonial changing of the guards at the palace, where the grand plaza is filled with police and military of what felt like ten different uniforms. During the ceremony, the vice president came out with a top general (an officer told me that he thinks that the president was in Ecuador that day) so I got to see all of that! Also there was a national police mass around the corner where two police officers carried puppets. You can see what I mean in the picture in this post, but when I looked up what it could be about, all I saw was this true tale of when Ecuadorian police used puppets to calm down a crowd ahead of a World Cup qualifier. If it works, it works!

Now I’m heading south to the main port of the country, Guayaquil. I look forward to telling you more about that!

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