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The start of an adventure: arriving in Quito

This blogpost starts on Saturday, the day I left The Netherlands and arrived in Quito, Ecuador. I thought of including these two days in the next travel diary – travel diary week 1 – but decided against it. These two days have already been adventurous, so much so that I can fill a blogpost with just them.

Enjoy.

(Also please keep in mind I write these at night, after a long day. My grammar might be off. If so, please let me know so I can fix it).

Saturday: Amsterdam to Ecuador

On Saturday, I had to wake up really early to catch my flight. I woke up at 4.30 am, was at the airport by 7 am, and the plane took off around 10.30 am. By that time, I had been awake for five hours, and I still had a twelve hour flight ahead of me.

Saying goodbye at the airport wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The trip still didn’t feel like a six month trip, but more like a two week vacation. I think it’s gonna take a while before I actually realise that I will be gone for a long time.

On the flight to Quito

The flight, although delayed slightly, was twelve hours, but it didn’t feel like a long flight. I watched four movies, slept a little, and listened to a podcast. During the flight, I saw mostly clouds (I had a window seat, yay!), but in the last couple of hours I could enjoy the view of South America from above. I saw Bonaire, the coast of Venezuela (see picture), and Lago de Maracaibo.

We arrived at the airport a little after 4 p.m. I was a bit nervous for the customs, but I knew I had all the necessary papers. There were no problems at all, and I could collect my luggage after showing my passport, vaccination certificate, and PCR certificate.

Then, I walked outside, into the exit hall, scanning the names on the papers that people were holding. Mine wasn’t on any of them. I decided to just wait on the side, keeping an eye on the different people who came here to pick up a passenger.

In the waiting area, I saw another girl with a backpack, coming from my flight. I figured she was Dutch as well and wondered if I should talk to her. However, I decided against it since I was tired from my flight. However, a couple of minutes later, it turned out that we had the same driver. I will call the girl A, because I don’t want to use everyones name without permission.

We waited a little while longer for a third girl, I will call her R, also Dutch, who was also driving with us. The three of us all participate in the same traveling classroom, all of us never really traveled on our own, and none of us speaks Spanish very well.

The driver brought us to our guest family in Quito. The women I am staying with is the mother of the man R is staying with. We live in the same house: she lives upstairs, I live downstairs. This made me feel at ease, because at least someone who speaks my language is close.

When we arrived at our guest homes, we discovered that our families do not speak a word of English. We tried to communicate by using the few Spanish words we know, and throwing some English, Dutch and French in it. It kinda worked.

My host showed me my room and bathroom, and then I took a shower to clean up from the trip. At eight o’clock (local time, so 2 a.m. Dutch time), she invited me to the kitchen for a meal. I could barely keep my eyes open, but ate anyway because 1) I didn’t know how to tell her that I just wanted to sleep, and 2) I thought it would be a little rude to decline a first meal.

We talked a little bit, but I couldn’t really think straight because I was too tired. My limited knowledge of Spanish was hard to find at that moment. At 9.30 pm, I finally went to sleep.

Sunday: first day in Quito

You’d think I was really tired from the trip – and I was – but this didn’t prevent me from waking up at 2 a.m. It was 8 a.m. in the Netherlands at that moment, a normal time to wake up. Luckily, I was able to fall asleep again.

I woke up again at 5 a.m. and I tried to sleep a little more. Breakfast was served at 9, so I still had a few hours to rest. I slept lightly for the rest of those hours, but I still felt a little groggy. Breakfast was nice, and since I wasn’t too tired anymore, I managed to speak a few words in Spanish to the woman.

After that, R and her host came to pick me up, and the man showed us how to walk to the school. The walk is only a couple of minutes and not too difficult, so we can do it ourselves tomorrow. Then, we went back to the house to get ready for a walk in the park (literally).

We went to Parque Itchimbía, which had a beautiful view over the city of Quito. This was around noon and I still felt a little tired. I also had a slight head ache, which I thought was from the jetlag. However, I later discovered that the altitude of the park is 2900 meters, so it might have been a mild case of altitude sickness. I also felt a little out of breath.

View over the city of Quito

Even though my phone said it was only 18°C, it felt like 25. The view was beautiful, and it overlooked a great part of the city. However, we still haven’t seen all of it: Quito is much bigger than I thought.

We saw the Old Town part of Quito, pointed out by our host families. It has a cathedral, which we will probably visit next week.

We walked around for a little bit, and ate some ice cream while we sat down on a bench. In the shade, because the sun was burning!

At home, we had some lunch – potatoes, cheese, broad beens and corn – and then we were picked up by Andrea. She is a local who speaks English, and she is the host of A. She took us to the mall to buy a SIM card, so we can get on the internet if we need to.

Having drinks in Quito

Afterwards, we went to a restaurant to get drinks. The four of us ordered cocktails and some snacks. We talked a lot, and this was actually my favourite part of the day. I got to know A and R, and also Andrea.

Andrea told us a lot about Quito, and also about other parts of Ecuador. Supposedly, in Montañita (a city I will visit later), there are bars who offer free drinks for the whole night for only $6.

Being used to Dutch prices, everything in Quito is quite affordable. In other parts of the country that aren’t the capital, it should be even more cheap.

After our drinks, we took a walk around the neighbourhood, while Andrea pointed out some good places to eat.

When R and I got home, our host family was playing cards. We also met the newest addition to our host family: M, a guy from the United States. He is actually from New York! Our host family explained the card game to us in Spanish, and luckily M understood the game AND speaks a little bit of Spanish. He could ask questions to our hosts and then explain it to us properly.

R and I mostly just watched the rest of the game. After that, the family made us something to eat. At that point, R and I felt pretty tired because in the Netherlands, it was around 2 a.m. Jetlag has been a little difficult. We talked for a bit, and the Spanish is already getting easier.

Then, at 10.30 p.m, Ml, R and I all felt tired, so we decided to go to bed. I went downstairs to my bedroom, and R and M stayed on the top floor for theirs.

And that is the end of my first weekend in Ecuador! Tomorrow, the Spanish lessons start, and we will be exploring the city a little more. I’m looking forward to it, and I feel lucky to have met some amazing people already. Until next week!

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