This-caught-my-attention-in-my-first-three-days-in-Quito top 5
1. It's so seriously cold here at night, that I've got five blankets and one sheet on my bed, and I use them all. We're at 2800 meters here and my fingers are frozen in the morning when I didn't put my hands underneath the sheets. Even my Dutch thermostat has to be adjusted to these temperatures! During the day it's nice though, between 17 (sun gone) and 25 (sun out) degrees. The only thing is that you're getting pretty busy putting on and taking off your jumper all the time... The height is not so much of a problem otherwise, although it really feels like I´ve run a marathon when I arrive at my house about twohundred meters uphill :)
and this is my room ...
2. You can have breakfast with a sandwich and coffee for one dollar here. For one dollar more you get scrumbled egg and a fresh fruit juice of half a liter with it. For two dollars you can have lunch with soup, meat, rice and (very little) salad, enough to fill you up so there's no need to have more than a sanwich for dinner. The bus is 25 cents and you can stay on it as long as you want. By the way, I got seriously swindeled on my first busride: after counting my change it turned out I payed 43 cents! Nelly has been warned...
3. Ecuador is green-eco-protected natural area for 75%, but obviously Quito is part of the other 25%. I'm pretty sure there's no Ecuadorian word for a particle filter, at least the bus named "Ecovia" doesn't blow less thick black clouds of sooth into the air than the normal busses do. And there's as many busses here as there are taxi's. It doesn't really help much either that vehicles on the roads stand still most of the time. In three months I expect to have gathered two smoking years this way! Uche uche... It is practical that traffic stands still in a way though, because you can get in any bus in citycentre wherever you are. And you can get out of it anywhere too, once you´ve noticed that it´s faster to walk because the bus stands still all the time.
4. Participating in traffic here is an art. I think everyone here has an off the road license to get around all the holes and bumps in the road, although the module "other users of the road" was obviously not included. You shouldn't even think about cycling unless you really don't feel like living anymore, and pedestrians can decide for themselves where and when they will cross. Practically that means: when the cars have green light, you better not walk. For a few dollars you can catch a cab, but you should only get in an official one: if not, you'll never know where you'll end up. The busses have a special man for that, who hangs out of the front door (even when the bus is driving) while shouting out loud where the bus will go. For those who can follow him. I can't yet.
5. You've got to pay attention. Where you walk: bumps, holes and dissapearence of the sidewalk, traffic rushing by, who starts talking to you, in which area you are, what you have with you and what time it is (on the equator it gets dark at about six...) And among many other things, you should pay attention to what you eat. The best resumen for that is the tip my new neighbour gave me: "Over there they have nice food and normally you won't get sick." peeling fruits, checking cooked meat and no ice in your drink... But even when you think you've thought of everything, there are still surprises waiting for you. I stood in front of the chips shelf in the supermarket and I chose the local brand instead of the Lays bag of three dollars. It looked a little bit like prawn crackers. When I arrived at home it turned out not to taste as well as it looked: some kind of smokey flavour and a very unpleasent aftertaste. After three crisps I gave up and I checked the bag. "Fried pork skin". Nice.
Welcome to Ecuador!
P.S. My house is close to two big parks and one smaller one, where you can always kill time by ... pedalling. Naturally. (But not that natural)
P.P.S. I bought a guitar :D and my favorite spot to play is the roof terrace ...