View from the hill!

View from the hill!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome to Quito, can I have your purse?

Today did not start out on the most positive note. After doing some online flight research it looked as though there are no flights to Bolivia for less than $600. Pablo and I walked to his travel agent who confirmed, that is seems impossible to fly to La Paz for a reasonable price. It looks like I will need to take an overnight 11 hr bus from Quito to Tumbes, Peru. Then I will cross the boarder and take a taxi to the airport in hopes that they will have a cheap domestic flight to Cuzco, Peru where I would then take another bus to meet Nikki and Anna in Copacabana, Bolivia. I have bought the bus ticket so now just need to do some research on how to cross the boarder, making sure this will be a safe undertaking.

After all of this I decided to take a bus to Old Town, here in Quito. The public buses in Ecuador are much different then any other buses I have been on. Just the bus stops and ticket system was a challenge to figure out. Once on the bus they are so full that I could see how easy it would be to get pick-pocketed. After getting off in Old Town I started to wander. I had a map but did not have any sort of destination, just wanted to see the sites of this old city built centuries ago by indigenous artisans and laborers. The town is bustling, it appears as though no one in Quito works because the streets were packed. Street vendors were present at every turn yelling about the very random items they were selling (toothbrushes, homemade pop siclkles, batteries and q-tips to name a few) and I was impressed by the number of police officers that were stationed at every corner blowing their whistles. Another impressive site is the number of shoe-shinners. It was unbelievable. Small kids wander the streets trying to convince you your shoes need a polish while shoe-shine stations line every street.

As I wandered around taking pictures and people watching I suddenly saw the guardian angle of Quito appear in the skyline. This huge statue of an angle overlooking the city seemed like a perfect photo opp so I wandered down the street to get a better view. I had my eyes set on the guardian angle and did not notice that I was getting further from the bustling streets and further from those whistling police officers. Next thing I know I turn around and a teenage boy had grabbed my arm and was yanking my camera out of my hand. I shoved him off of me and gave him a good whack as I yelled and made a run for it. It was a close call but I made it out with my camera and my purse. After that little run in I was more careful than ever with my purse and was ready to get the heck out of Old Town.

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