Thursday, September 07, 2006

Heading to Latacunga.

Again everything didn’t turn out as planned. We took the trolley to the old part of Quito early in the morning. The old part which supposedly should be a beautiful concentration of colonial-style houses. We write supposedly because we never actually made it into the buildings. The whole area was closed with tall fences and loads of cops because of a big political demonstration according to a nice helpful Ecuadorian woman, Glòria. (The presidential palace is located in the middle of the old part of Quito). What a disappointment – but not really a surprise since there is going to be president election a month from now. We shot a few pictures of some of the famous buildings through the fences…not really the same. After a short walk in the area to get a sense of the city anyway – which actually is quite beautiful with the colonial style, we rushed to our flight agency to change our flight ticket home… Now we have a reservation from Santiago to Madrid departing the 21st of December.

Not wanting to spend another day in Quito, we thought it was time to move on and found a bus to Latacunga.
Buses in Ecuador are really easy to deal with. When you arrive at a bus terminal, you are quickly approached by personnel from the bus companies and within seconds you have bought a ticket, thrown you backpack in the luggage compartment and found a seat. Best of all: you only pay a dollar per hour on the bus. Very cheap!
The funny thing about the Ecuadorian bus companies is the pro-policy for street vendors… or should we call them bus-vendors.
Every time the bus makes a stop - could be to collect passengers but also just waiting for a green light - the vendors jump on the bus to sell the passengers everything. The bus ride to Latacunga takes 2,5 hour and in that time we got a very nice demonstration of 2 colored pens, fake watches and several chances to buy seco (a Ecuadorian meat stew), barbeque spears, drinks, fruits, dried bananas and loads of candy.

Latacunga is a small town with a center full of tour agencies selling trips to the three main attractions in the area: A giant crater lake (Quilotoa), an active volcano (Cotopaxi) and the Thursday market in Saquisili. This is why we are here – so within in a couple of hours we had booked a guided trip for the next day.


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