čtvrtek 26. listopadu 2009

Quito - Ecuador impressions

I have decided to write in English for now, so that my international friends also can follow my experiences during travels...

So yesterday in the afternoon I went walking down from Mariscakl Sucre to Old Quito. Have tio say that Old Quito has interesting atmosphere with a poetic of its own. Especially because the old center is situated on quite a hilly terrain.

Quito has basically two seasons, summer and winter. Now there is winter, with temperatures dropping as low as 10 degrees. Its quite similar to central -european autumn, so once again it brings memories of Prague, Ostrava or Budapest.

Yes, these three cities fit the most as for my experience, because some of the early 20th century buildings in between old center and Marisco fall a bit in disrepair, even though the economic activity goes on strong, so that qives it ther slightly "worn and schmutzig" feel.

There are a lot of parks - some quite nicely maintained, and lots of public transportation, including trolley-bus line through the cnter which I find quite romantic.

I should not forget two weird olfactoric experiences, where I found a houseware shop, which emited smell quite equal to Grandmother Zachova's flat (is it a common olfactoric fenomen for all houseware retailers???:) and there was in turn a shop with sanitary ceramics emitting smell quite similar to that of my other grandmother's flat. Weird indeed.

I shall now recall two notable experiences with local people... somehow I think in both cases it has to do with toxicity, but who cares, right?:)

So the first one - as there are obviously quite a few "children of the street" - while I was waiting for the downtown bus at the terminal asnd eatying some already worn waffles a cca 10 yrs old boy came, looked me down and then addressed me with the jovial "vale" (comrade) and pointed at my waffles. He was dirty and had a bowl with some noodles in his hand. So I gave him a waffle, he thanked, and then I gave him a rest, too. He was black and had this reallyt laidback Will-Smith like attitude.

Then a funny thing happened: once receiving the waffles (which was not a lot of food after all) he again with such a contented and superior look threw his bowl of noodles into garbage right in front of me, accompanying this act with a jovial "eso no sirve" (this doesn't work) then he lifted the waffles, smiled and said "eso sì sirve" (this does work) and walked away in his very laid back, slow manner, then leaning against the front of a nearby bus (which was about to take of which in turn contributed to my impression that the kid is high on something - which wouldn't be surprising when it comes to these "Huckleberry Finn's of the streets".)

The second experience occured later in the afternoon and really made my day. As I stroolled down the Old Center, occasionally taking picture with my quick-fixed cammera, which since needs attention comparable to that provided to manual cameras, I got to visit the most famous squares and churches. Unsuspectingly I also entered plaza San Francisco, where from I intended to turn to St. Domingo and take a trolley home from there.

Well, at the square was a stage and some kind of party going on, with traditional music a bit simillar to vallenato, and a lots of locals dancing. I went closer to the stage to take picture of the band and to see whether the femal singer is pretty or not (not so much). Then I noticed that almost everyone is drinking from the boxes of some kind of vine, nearby couple readily provided me with a sample - which together with my eternal affinity to cheap fruit vines (isn't it, Patatyn?) and these kinds of festivities led to investigation and purchase of a 1 liter box for 1 USD (a bargain, right? :). Well with the box in my hand my popularity sharply raised (and perhaps attractivity for pickpockets, but I am seasoned adventurer haha) so in a moment I found myself dancing with a group of locals- well first offcourse I was a bit suspicious, but later I decided that they are hrmaless, there was a pair dedicated to restauration of old paintings and some local shopkeepers, one of which - a middle aged lady - was quite hitting on me, but was too drunk to be dangerous:). In the end we shared few more boxes and then went for a beer, and I've learned that on that day begun fiestas de Quito which will so continue till December with a lot of program. We had quite a nice chat and then they dropped me off to the trolley home. So, I found myself sucked straight into turmoil of local social life few hours after my arrival... beautiful, isn't it?

This morning I found about cheaper and faster way to get to the border from the hostel keeper, so she grew in my eyes. I went to speak with the agency and to use net, which was inhibited by (here normal) dropout of electricity between 8 and 10 AM.

So now finally I can write, and I am going to check one more agency that advertises direct line to Lima, and I have received a free paper model of the bus, which just had tomake me happy, right?:) then pack, checkout, leave my stuff at the hostel and go to "mitad del mundo" - the park with equatorial line.

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