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Ecuador

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

QuitoFrom Bogota, I took a bus to Cali (not -fornia). I arrived late at night and didn’t have an address for the hostel. I had a taxi driver take me to another hotel and I used their Internet to locate the hostel. It was like saying, “I’m not going to stay here, but can I use your Internet to locate another hotel?” I spent two and a half days in Cali. It was okay, I hung out at the hostel mostly, laying low and trying to save money, especially because I can’t get any more until I get my bank cards. The hostel was kind of empty anyways but there was one guy who rode his bike from the US to Costa Rica until he hurt his leg.

I left Cali at 9pm to go to Ipiales, the border town before Ecuador. I managed to sleep most of the ride except when I was woken by a police officer in Popayan who wanted to search my bag and check my passport. He did and I went back to sleep. We arrived at Ipiales early morning where Felipe, an Argentine I met on the bus, and I took a cab to the border. We checked out of Colombia and into Ecuador. Then took another cab to Tulcan, where we hopped on another bus to Quito. This leg took 5 hours and we passed the equator without much notice. My first time in the Southern Hemisphere.

In Quito, I’m staying at the Lonely Planet’s author’s choice, the Secret Garden. It’s pretty cool. Comfortable beds, a nice view of the city, Internet. They serve dinner and on Fridays and Saturdays there’s an all-you-can-drink happy hour from 6 to 8. In fact, that’s about to start any moment now :).

Last night I went out with Felipe in Mariscal Sucre, the bar district. Today I walked around the same place and the old town. I climbed up the Cathedral tower where I managed to locate the terrace from our hostel and take a photo of it. Tonight I’m going to go out again to Mariscal with more people from the hostel.

Ecuador uses US money so it I don’t have to worry about changing my money or doing conversions in my head. Changing money in Colombia was a big ordeal. Even when I changed just $60 they copied my passport, made me fill out a form with my address, and took my right index finger print. I guess it’s a method to track all those cash businesses that Colombia is so famous for.

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