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Discovering Mariscal

Written on: Wednesday September 5th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Author: Kevin and Julie


From a sound sleep after a long flight, we awakened to the early morning sounds of the Mariscal neighborhood. We could here "Annica, Annica" coming from the main hallway. It was the hostal attendant calling the name of the cute golden labrador puppy who lives at the hostel. We glanced at our watch to see that it was 9 AM.

Our hostel (Crossroads Hostel) is located in an old colonial home with a restaurant/bar area, a living room with 200 free movies to choose from, a self-serve kitchen to make your own food, outdoor fireplace, and best of all free wireless internet. Our room has a double bed with a private bathroom for 26$ night. There are cheaper options including staying in a shared room, but we wanted our first few nights of our trip to be in a private room to allow us to adapt to the travelling life.

The order of the day: head to the airport to retrieve our bags. We tried to call the airport number a few times but the line was busy each time. We hailed a cab, negotiated a price of 4$ to the airport and off we went to see if our bags had arrived from their extended visit in Bogota.

At the airport we ran the gauntlet of trying to ask in our limited spanish for directions to the Avianca offices. We passed the little doorway twice before a kind security guard guided us to the door. We were directed to head back to the international arrival gate to get our bags. At the sliding doors, we made the acquaintance of 2 girls from Montreal who had been on the plane with us the night before. They too were here to see if their missing bag had arrived. They had followed us to the arrival gate after having recognized us, hoping we knew were we supposed to go for the bags. Through the sliding doors went Kevin and Marie-France and out they came with our bags. What a relief to be reunited with our luggage and to know that soon we would be able to change outfits.

We bid our new friends adieu and took another taxi back to our hostel to finally get settled in to our new travelling life. After unpacking and taking a nap, we headed out to discover the hip neighborhood of Mariscal. We walked the quiet streets, looking into the windows of the little shops selling trendy clothes, local artwork and clothing, jewelry, and the mini markets selling wine. Reading menus posted in front of the restaurant, we were surprised at the choice in food there was: Mexican, Thai, Vegetarian, Steakhouse, etc. During our walk, we ran into Stephanie and Marie-France who had just returned from gathering information to the local sites of the Teleferiqo, the Mitad del Mundo, and the markets of Otavalo. We discussed our planned itineraries for the next few days discovered they were quite similar, so we took them up on their offer to meet the next morning to go to the Mitad del Mundo.

After leaving the girls and close to supper time, we began to get hungry and settled on a little restaurant across from our hostel named The Magic Bean. Sitting outside on their covered patio, we ordered plates of chicken with rice and lentil salad while we listened to Cheryl Crow, Tom Petty, Jewel and the Beatles and watched the US Open on the tv.

Back in our room, we booted up our travel laptop and watched a movie (Baraka) while chatting with family to let them know we were safe and sound in Quito with our bags accounted for, if not feeling a little ill from the altitude. A slight headache and a bit of nausea had been with us most of the day, but this is common for Quito and should pass within 2-3 days.