August 09, 2003

My last week in Quito

By now I've finished my spanish studies and tomorrow I'm flying off to the Galapagos Islands for what I expect to be eight amazing days. This past week has been all play and no sleep. I'm averaging four hours a night of sleep.. it really feels like I'm back at uni.. all this madness!

This past Wednesday we went to see Liga play Deportivo Quito in a hot derby. It was great fun, and the atmosphere was amazing. Shame on the result though.. 2-1 to Quito, which meant that Liga lost its position at the top of the table. Oh well. After the game I headed out with a few friends from school. After a few hours in drinking we decided to steer our way to No Bar which is one of the most famous bars in Quito.. bad idea! I would imagine it's very similar to Hippodrome in London, although I've never been to Hippodrome in my four years in London. It was the first, only and last time in No Bar for most of us. Still not keen on giving up for the night we decided to work on the Salsa skills, and so we headed to a sophisticated bar called Bogarin on the outskirts of Gringolandia. The night was rounded off with a drunken philosophical debate around the Iraq war over a couple of surprisingly tasty $1 Shwarmas, and so I was in bed by 4.30am.

The following day I was quite tired during the day, but it passed for some reason as soon as the evening had arrived. A couple of friends from school who live in London were back in town, so the night started at with a couple of beers. I'd arranged to meet up with Silvia again that night, so we soon moved on to a salsa bar called Varadero - a very classy but pricey place (by Quito standards, still less expensive than your average London pub). One of the guys from school was wearing shorts, which was no hit with the door man, and so the others decided to have a drink in another bar first whilst I went dancing with Silvia and her friends. Danielle (the Irish girl) and her friend from Hong Kong (whose name I can't remember) came to the bar a little later, and Danielle and I decided to meet for lunch the following day. Another night of sleep deprivation followed as I got to bed around 3am.

Yesterday was my last day at the school (*sigh*). We had a very relaxing day with my teacher Manuel. First we watched football, Real Madrid vs Hong Kong, in spanish and I managed to learn the football vocabulary. For our coffee break I went out and bought a load of donuts for all the students and teachers, and that was very much appreciated it seemed. For lunch I met up with Danielle and we chatted away two hours one of the more local cafés around the Amazonas (the street which my school is on).

In the afternoon we finished the last bits of grammar that we were supposed to go through, and then we took a relaxing last two hours at a handicraft market two blocks away from the school. I wanted to buy it all.. they had such cool stuff! The only problem was the small question of how to get the stuff home..

Having said goodbye to all the teachers at the school we went to play a few games of a pool with a good swiss friend of mine called Reto. Five hours of pool and four 0.6 litre beers each later we realised that we'd missed our appointment with our other friends by two hours. Luckily they were still at when we got there. Another couple of beers went down well before the feet started itching for some action. This time we went to yet another salsa bar together with a couple of local girls that Morten (a norwegian friend) had found at At four o'clock I was in bed knowing that for the first time in a week I'd actually get a good nights sleep.. what a wonderful feeling!

One thing that I will definitely miss when I get back to London is the use of taxis. Here you can, and have to (for security), take taxis all the time. A ten minute ride from Gringolandia to my house costs $2 in the middle of the night and considerably less in the daytime. One quite interesting feature is that the taxis turn off the taxometers at night, and so you have to negotiate the fare before you get in.. and prices do vary. Lately as my spanish has improved I've had an easier time getting home for the standard fare. I even got complemented on my spanish by one of the taxi drivers the other night :)

Today's been a stressful day. After having a going for a huge meal at a colombian restaurant for lunch with my family here, I headed out to do the last minute shopping for the Galapagos. Four hours we ended up spending in the mall together with Monica. Highlights included a $6 haircut in a place that could easily have been mistaken for a Tony & Guys or Vidal Sassoon, and buying a couple of plain t-shirts for little over $6 each.. this country is dirt cheap, and still they argue that it's (one of the) most expensive in South America(!)

Having got back from the shopping we sat down for a glass of wine with the family (including around eight of their relatives who are staying here for a few days). I'd brought the family a set of leaning shot glasses with rain deers infrosted on them and a bottle of Finlandia Vodka, and thess were brought out for the occasion. A handful shots of vodka, numours songs and a good few laughs later I'm sitting in front of the computer writing this log knowing that I have to get up in around four hours time.

As Gustavo and Elisabeth will both be in Rio de Janeiro when I get back from the Galapagos I had to say goodbye today. It was quite sad, because I have really enjoyed my time here. I'll definitely be coming back in the near future.

If I'm going to have any chance of waking up tomorrow I should go to bed now. I won't be updating this log until I'm back from Galapagos, but do look out for a major update in a little over a weeks time.. and I'll try and get the pictures up as well.

Until then.. hasta luego!

Posted by markus at August 9, 2003 11:20 PM
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