Luck be with You
The morning of my adventure, I woke up and had plans to take the red line metro about 80 stops over the course of an hour with my heavy, giant duffle bag and stuffed backpack. Those plans changed when I saw how cheap a Lyft across the city would be (about $8 – which included the tip I gave the guy because he was so awesome).
From there I took the green line four stops to the end and then waited about half and hour for the BWI metro bus.
All in all, it took me about three hours from waking up until I arrived at the airport – and still cost me less than $9 (because AU students ride the metro for free). 10/10 recommend this method to anyone living over in NW D.C. and trying to get to BWI.
My flights were pretty boring and uneventful… other than the planes were packed and on both flights I managed to score an open row or an open seat next to me. I also managed to score a free bottle of red wine on my second flight, even those American Airlines charges for wine (plus one point for United – also, their dinner is way better so plus like ten… but their tickets were way more expensive so American ultimately was the winner of this trip).
I’m crazy lucky.
Sneakers on the ground, I breezed through immigration, baggage, and customs and promptly found my driver waiting for me in the arrivals hall with a sign with my name on it. (There is no better feeling than arriving in a foreign country after dark, tired, and having a driver waiting for you with directions to a hostel you didn’t even bother to look up on Google maps).
Patricio and I spent an hour driving from the airport to the city center through rain and thick fog so I didn’t get a lot of first impressions of Quito. But Patricio was great, driving through difficult conditions and helping me check into my hostel – Hostel Guayunga.
After some back and forth with the lady running the front desk, I choose to stay in an eight bed mixed dorm rather than the much more expensive private room. My roommates are great, all zero of them. The private en suit bathroom is also quite nice.
Have I mentioned I’m lucky?
Travelers tip: ask how many people are staying in the dorms, or check online when booking your stay, because you can score a private room without paying for that luxury. Also, don’t be scared to stay in mixed dorms! I’ve done it all across Europe and now in South America.
First Day in Quito
I was scheduled to meeting the people at the Yanapuma Foundation at 9 a.m., so I set an alarm the night before. Only the sun decided it was enough of an alarm and I woke promptly at dawn. It was worth it, it gave me a chance to settle in and unpack, get dressed and ready, and check out the hostel including breakfast with fresh avocado and bananas with strawberry sauce.
After breakfast, I headed to the Yanapuma Foundation to meet with my contact, Andy. We spoke about the two communities I’ll be staying with and I began to form some ideas for the articles and videos I’m hoping to work on.
I feel really good about what I’m going to accomplish in Ecuador.
Since I had work out of the way, and only one for sure day in Quito (although I’m hoping to be back for a day or two before I fly home,) I went on a walking tour around the Old City of Quito.
I love starting out in a new city with a walking tour of the best places to visit and learning the local perspective.
The walking tour I went on was led by a native of Quito, so he had the inside dish on a lot of things. Most importantly, he told us the story of why Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency. (Yes, this is a true fact. I didn’t learn this until the night before I left).
I also got a ton of great photos!
After the walking tour I grabbed lunch with my new friend Rachel at a local market. Sometimes I’m skeptical of eating food from places like this, but our tour guide assured us he eats there all the time and takes his groups there after tours when they ask for lunch options.
So we quickly scarfed and ran back to the hostel because we were running late for a second tour!
I took a bus tour to the equator and watched a bunch of fun gimmicks and straddled the red line. It was really fun and really cool, despite the rain.
My favorite activity was trying to walk the red line with your hands out and your eyes closed. I really thought I’d be able to mind-over-matter do it. Not the case. Instead, I barely made it two steps and stumbled to the side.
We then went to a historical monument to the equator. Basically, there’s a difference between the historical location of the equator and the actual (scientifically located) equator.
Our final stop on that tour was an overlook over Quito; it was a spectacular view of the city with misty mountains in the background.
All in all, I’d say my first couple of days in Quito was a success!
Next post: I travel to the first indigenous village!
My name is Hunter and this the blog of my worldwide adventures. The purpose of this blog is to show that you can be a traveler, not just a tourist.