Aug 8, 2009

The final days in Quito

It feels like it was only five and a half weeks ago that I boarded the clipper and began my Ecuadorian journey. And yet here I am, five and a half weeks later, preparing to say goodbye to the fairer America continent and head on home. Where did the time go?

I have to admit that my last three days were a little anti-climactic, though I have no one to blame for that but myself. Day one I took a free walking tour of the old town, which took me to most of the places I'd visited on my own. It was a fun tour never the less. It's free because it's run by a student of tourism, a young Spanish girl that can technically speak English but is too shy to do so. She was accompanied by a German women who was to translate for her. But the German woman wanted the Spanish guide to practice her English, so every time we arrived at a new location the touristy information was preceded by a little spat between the two of them. High fun.

They also pointed out several traditional colonial floors, something that I had never looked down to notice. The mortar between the bricks or stone are filled with animal bones, mostly vertebrae. It was to help good spirits enter the house, or keep bad ones out, or something like that. I wonder if something like that would fly in Victoria. Say at the entrance of a vegan restaurant?

On day 2 I sat around for most of the day on the hostel couch reading an excellent book. The Yiddish Policeman's Union, by Michael Chabon. Excellent, but physically massive and not something I wanted to pack. In the evening I met a fellow hostalian, a dashing and incredibly charming Londoner who not only is flying with the same airline as me, but has a stupidly long layover in Houston as well (granted on a different day, heading to a different country, but's kind of like fate. Right?). Aurell, if you're reading this, I'm not sure I got your email address right as you left a character up to artistic interpretation...

Today I rose at the unsightly hour of 6:30am to join a tour of Otavalo and surrounding area. There were four of us from the hostel, and we had an absolutely lovely guide named Andres. He packed us into a truck and drove us around for 11 hours, showing us lakes and volcanoes and a nice place for a buttery, salty biscuit. Then he took us to Otavalo, known for it's market of crafts from all over Ecuador. After some mad shopping there we headed to another small town (whose name escapes) me for their leather market. I proudly bartered my way into several questionable purchases at both markets.

Back at the hostal there was some kicking, swearing, and a few tears, but I finally managed to fit all the above purchased crap into my backpack. Now all that's left is to figure out a way to be reliably waken for 4:30am tomorrow so I don't miss my flight.

So here, Quito, a final picture to remember me by. Or for me to remember you by. Or for others to remember the moon by. Or...whatever.

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