I left Cusco, Peru March 17th and arrived into Quito, Ecuador mid morning on the 18th. Even though I was half asleep as a result of sleeping in the airport, the beauty of the city did not escape me. Mountains and valleys surround the highest capital city in the world and I felt right at home with the grayness and rain the two days I was there.
The hostel I stayed at was absolutely beautiful as well. It was perched up on a hill with an endless view of the valley below. It had big open windows and art every where. I crashed the first day and woke up the second ready to explore the city. I left the hostel at 9 intending to catch the metro downtown and meet up with a walking tour held by another hostel. However once I got downtown and starting walking I was captivated.
The city thrived. People ran about their days from one stall to another as old women sat on the sidewalk and gossiped. I wanted to discover this city on my own.
And for the next five hours I got lost in the city of Quito. I wandered to a cathedral, listened to school yard cheers, watched a pimp and a prostitute get arrested (may have taken a wrong turn or two), and stumbled upon a first annual arts fair.
I was walking through the streets when all of a sudden I noticed an influx in cops. By influx I mean, tens and then twenties of cops started to appear as I began to hear what sounded like a large crowd. When I turned the corner I saw a large crowd gathered in a park. There was a stage set up and rows of booths. As I stood in the middle of the street I also stood in between 20 swat police officers and a large, chanting crowd holding a green sign. I got the heck out of that situation.
Of course I wanted to explore the stalks and that exactly what I did for the following hours. I wandered the tightly packed corridors buying a bracelet here and a scarf there. I stopped to eat and after some major confusion learned my back pack was open from a concerned group of locals. I was lucky, nothing was stolen.
After BBQ chicken, lentils, and fried plantain. I grabbed some chocolate covered strawberries and got a massage and my nails done for a total of 4 dollars. As I turned to leave I practically ran into a group of people listening to someone talk; I found out later it was the president.
Something really struck home to me upon learning the president was there when only three blocks away a prostitute was getting arrested.
I left shortly after that experience winding my way through what felt like enough police to start a war- or protect the president I guess