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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Hell or High Water

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

My first day in Quito...

It started off nice today, but turned to shit SUPER quick.  Torrential rain. Thunder Showers. I took refuge in a small cafe.  I walked in, soaked right through, looked at the waiter and said"vino tinto?"

He nodded... and I knew I'd be ok.

Quick rant...

I TOTALLY understand the the fault lays SOLELY with me for not having enough insight to actually bring a rain jacket with me.  Perhaps I can blame Roland a little smidge bit... because he didn't actually include it in his advice message to me.  In fact, to tell the truth, I didn't bring ANYTHING that would work in the rain... but right now, the other stuff is merely muffins... I need a rain jacket.  Look at the weather forecast!  

Poor me.  Yep... I must have a rain jacket.  And if I have to lie, cheat or steal, I decided that I would have one in my hot little hands by the end of the day. 

Let me tell you how many little shops I've been in today.  If I was seeking out yarn or a plastic purse, this city would be all over me like a fat kid on a smartie.

BUT... for a country that considers HALF of its year the 'rainy' season... you would think that there would be a rain jacket shop on every corner. 

I would also like to point out that in a country primarily made up of women weighing in at below 120lbs, my North American chubby body type would constitute a XXL+ jacket... and those aren't as easy to come by as one would think.  In fact, you could probably just keep rolling with the X's and I'd be comfortable as pie.

Finally, the girl in my hostel directed me on to an area that sold "cheap" clothes... I must look pretty down & out.  But regardless of my current state of poverty, I found one.  And only a size L (G in Spanish) - it's a 'little bit' tight, but nothing a few weeks of starving myself won't cure.

Right now, as I type, I'm eating dinner at a small little pizzeria and the waiter keeps asking me if I like my pizza because I'm trying desperately not to eat the base or the crusts... I want to say "I have a jacket... and some really tight summer clothes that I need to fit in to"   but I don't know how to say it in Spanish, and I'll spare him the visual.

They are all staring at me while I chug my red wine and nibble at the top cheese part of my pizza.  At first I cared... you know the feeling... always trying to explain your weirdo idiosyncrasies & bizarre things that happen to you to strangers.

"Honestly, my ankles aren't always like this. Usually I'm super hot."

My entire life, I have felt this overwhelming necessity to 'explain'... but for once, I decided to leave it... who cares?  It's not like I will ever see them again... unless I decide to dine here again tomorrow night...

 Ok... so, enough about me and my insecurities... and the storms... and teeny weeny rain jackets... and wine and creepy pizza eatings... on to bigger things like my day in Quito.  Photos attached for your viewing pleasure.  Don't ask me much about them... I mostly just aim, shoot and keep walking.

I explored most of the Historical Quito... made my way through the Plaza Grande, took in a couple churches (San Francisco and the Compañia)... super impressed by La Compañia, and all the intricate gold engravings and details... I had to steal this photo off Google images because we weren't permitted to take any photos.  I was going to cheat and take some, but I didn't want to be disrespectful and get arrested.  Put a real 'downer' on the holiday, considering it's only my first day here... and it's already raining.

Speaking of getting arrested... there are Policia everywhere! Except at night, when I'm a single & hot, rich tourist walking the streets alone with my thick ankles lol... but Gawd! They're on every corner during the daytime.

The last time I was in Quito... and this story I'm about to tell is no word of a lie...  I apologize to any official AFS'ers that might be finding out about this for the first time...

There were 6 of us (no names mentioned to protect the innocent) that had (somehow) managed to escape the grips of our familia and the AFS organization, and we found ourselves alone in Quito for the night.  None of us had a lot of money, and what money we did have, was sure to be put towards beer, cigarettes and deep fried food.  Priorities... always.

While 4 of us had a few drinks in a local pub, 2 of the group went off to find us some accommodation for the evening.  And accommodation, they sure did find.  When they finally returned to the pub, they were out of breath, laughing hysterically and spent the entire time convincing us to"come see the place," give it a chance," "it was cheap"... and if we promised to overlook everything else, we were all guaranteed to love it for these 3 reasons. 

It was a whore house.  

Only $2 per night, per room... but still... a whore house.

And yes... we did stay there. One night.

The place was a DIVE.  Torn off siding, broken rickety fence, smashed windows, peeling paint, cracked beams, ripped up carpet, graffiti on the walls... oh yes... a real head turner.

We got three rooms (2 of us in each one) - I remember every single detail.  The room I was in had a double mattress on the floor and a sink in the corner.  Another room had a single mattress, a pot (presumable for peeing?), a smashed mirror and a broken door.

The last room was like a 5 star suite- it had a double bed, bed frame AND a bathroom- but while we weren't there, it was rented out by the hour.  We found that out the hard way... 

I'll spare everyone the rest of the details... but we survived one night.  None of us entered in to a life of prostitution or pimping... or brothel management... that I know of anyway.

So anyway- bringing it back to reality- I am NOT staying in a whore house this time around.  At least I don't think so.  I'm at a lovely little hostel called Friends Hostel and the Wifi password is  "forever friends" which is just about as cute as Hello Kitty.  It's"slightly"more than $2 per night... But, honestly, it's really warm and inviting... and the staff is amazing.

Photos... cute, right?

OH... one more thing... I forgot to mention that I tried a "flat white coffee" today for first time ever and man, is it ever gross.  Off to bed now...

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