Quito is kind of shit. Don’t go to Panecillo, the Virgen Mary statue is not worth the visit. Neither is a lot of the city in my opinion. Everything just feels dodgy, which I’m usually OK with, but for some reason this place is bit different and might take some time for me.
Deux / Highlight
Seeing Ryo, friend from Tokyo. Ryo got a job as a web designer in Quito working for a Galapagos tour company catering for Japanese tourists. I’m really happy to see Ryo to be excited and passionate about his job – so he should be, he gets to go to Galapagos for free!! Also always good to know someone in a place like Ecuador, and also have the opportunity to eat Japanse curry in such a country!! If I come back to Quito, I think it would be for the Galapagos and not Quito city.
Trois / Highlight
Hotsprings in Banos. A really nice experience, to be in a hot pool situated in a spot nestled by big mountains with ~15m waterfall in sight. Maybe not as charming as Japan, but still definitely an experience. After having visited enough hotsprings, I think I should start recording my experiences and have some sort of rating system perhaps. We also found a cute cafe here that serves really great sandwiches and fresh salads which is a rarity.
Quatre / Highlight
Izhcayluma, German founded and managed ‘backpacker’s resort’. Awesome place equipped with pool, dining area with the most spectacular view of mountains and the valley of Vilcabamba. This place serves decent meals (I had a delicious Bavarian stroganoff spetzle last night), cheap massages, hammocks everywhere, pool table, ping pong, such luxuries of first world comforts that I think few Ecuadorian hosterias can offer. It’s also built amongst some pretty flora and fauna - birds, butterflies, bugs, frogs, flowers and plants. (Had a shower with a little frog the other night, it was camouflaged well, but his eyes gave it away). To top it off, we’ve met some really cool people, some of which we have shared some great stories and conversations with. Also it’s really nice to meet people from Melbourne. It’s been about three months and that homesickness is seeping in, but, as a conversation had about ‘missing Melbourne’, there’s also always that thought you get when you arrive back and discover you want to leave again. huh! But I think its a few certain somebodies as well as the food/coffee hankerings that really get to me. Oh well, I’m here now, and I’ll get home sometime later.
I’m big on food, and part of travelling and learning about the culture of course has a lot to do with the food. Unfortunately, Ecuadorian cuisine isn’t anything to harp on about really. In fact, I’ve just recovered from a small case of food poisoning, from some half fried chips I suspect, in a place in Banos which consequently then prevented me from seeing much of Cuenca. During the bus ride to Loja the 2 days after I was actively daydreaming myself out of Ecuador, thinking about Korean BBQ and Japan :S Which is kind of sad, but there’s still time, and much more to learn about this culture. This trip is merely a first impression.
In a couple of days, we will be heading up to Sacred Suenos. A two hour hike to a farm from Vilcabamba for a few weeks. Living the farmer’s life of some sort, I have a couple of ideas of what to expect but really, we’ll see when we get there hey.
OK, I should finish on a minor highlight, my favourite thing here is mora juice, blackberry blendy slushy super fresh…