Thursday, August 29, 2013

Last Days in Quito

"The shortest poem in the world is you..." - my favorite graffiti in Quito
I spent my last two days in Quito basically just wandering around the city and visiting placed that I wanted to see before I flew out Thursday night.  On Wednesday, I wandered around to find a post office where I could buy some Ecuadorian stamps for a friend from my hometown.  Unlike Lima, there are only a couple post offices in Quito and they have regular office hours so I never had time to get to one while I was working.  I managed to buy a couple different stamps then wandered around Quicentro Mall to try to find some wrapping paper for the little torito that I bought as a gift.  I was not able to find anything that would work until I ran into a store by Baca Ortiz on my way to La Mariscal.  I wound up at the mercado artisenal on Juan Leon Mera to look at any last-minute items.  I ended up buying myself a large, bright blue alpaca scarf/shawl for $4.00 USD.  I also met up with one of my best friends from work at Achiote for the best locro in Quito.  Packing that night did not take very long either.
you know you're hungry now
On Thursday, August 29, 2013, I went to the Centro Historico and walked from Plaza Grande over to Basilica Voto Nacional.  I thought I was taking a decent route when I had looked on a map beforehand, but between the plaza and the church was kind of empty (not a good thing for a street to be in the centro historico), so I walked really fast (all uphill) to get to the basilica.  After about seven or eight blocks, I arrived.  There is a plaza on the southwest side of the church and the towers were open.
Main Towers, Basilica Voto Nacional (Basilica of the National Vow)
I went up the first tower but to go to a second tower, you have to cross a small wooden bridge suspended over part of the church below and then climb up some spiral stairs.  I put one foot on the bridge and the wooden board beneath me creaked loudly so I jumped back and decided that it was not worth it and I didn't really need to go to the other side (I probably would not have chickened out so badly if I had a friend with me, but I went alone so...).  The clocktower though was pretty nifty.  The views from the towers were amazing.  I think I was even able to see the peak of Cotopaxi.  From the windows on the way down from the clocktower, you could see the duck and pelican gargoyles on the church, which made me laugh.
aw hell no...
My taxi driver friend picked me up from the airport and when I gave him the wrapped bull, he gave me a gift too.  It was a hand-carved wooden Galapagos tortoise with a sticker on the bottom shell that had his name on it, so that I would not forget who gave it to me.  It was so kind of him.  Along the way to the airport, he told me about all of the places I will have to be sure to visit next time I come to Ecuador.  As much as I did not like my experience in La Mariscal, it is important to remember that there are wonderful people everywhere and that it is important to be kind to everyone because otherwise you will miss out on making friends with some wonderful people.  
El Panecillo, as viewed from the Basilica's tower
By this time tomorrow, I'll be back in Michigan with my family and getting ready for the next adventure - my third and final year of law school!!!!

"I will always return." ~ Oswaldo Guayasamin


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