After being denied twice from our activities of choice, we decided to head back up to Quito to book our Galapagos tour. We came in hopes of a stellar last minute deal. You can buy tours anywhere in Ecuador, but word on the street is the best (and safest) deals are found in Quito, so to Quito we went. We arrived Friday night, and booked into Hotel Chicago, which came highly recommended from a random guy that started talking to us in Baños over breakfast the day before.
A word on Hotel Chicago. It´s a very nice little hotel in Old Town, run by a lovley family that speaks varing levels of English. The rooms are small, but clean and with private bathrooms. Breakfast is included. I got my own room for $10. What could be wrong?
Something that none of the guide books bothered to mention. The hotel is small and old, with narrow hallways and staircases that all seem to angle directly to my little room at the top of the stairs on the third floor. The accoustics were phenomenal. I could hear everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, my neighbours were doing in their private bathrooms. And I can now say with confidence that 90% of foreign travelers in Ecuador are having irritable bowel issues. Seriously. My lack of sleep for the last three nights was due to events that should be kept private. Very, very private.
Our attempts to book a Galapagos trip on Saturday were not fruitful. Most tour companies were closed. So we went on a hunt for Ananke Pizza, as recommended by my friend Patrick. He claimed it had the best pizza ever, with a pomegranate hot sauce to die for. What he failed to mention was that it was in the middle of nowhere, halfway down a steep and narrow switchback road, and only open between 6pm-8pm. Do I need to say that it wasn´t open when we got there? Curse you, Patrick!
We also visited the basillica again (the place I mentioned before with the crazy gargoles). What I hadn´t noticed, but Nathan pointed out, was a stainglass window with a pretty funny mistake. Can you see it?
Sunday was spent at Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World), a very touristy monument on the equator (she pictures above). We took lots of pictures with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the south, and saw some scary-ass beetles in the Insectatarium. Fortunately (for me, not for them) they were dead and mounted. But still. I didn´t need to know those things were out there, waiting to stab me in the eye with their long sharp head spikes*.
Monday (today) we rose bright and early, and after hours in the tour office and the bank, we managed to book our Galapagos tour! We´ll be flying over on the 19th and spending a week sailing around, admiring funny-looking animals. Good times! We had to take the cash out of the bank and deposit it into the tour operators bank account. For about 10 minutes I had as much money has I´ve ever held in my little greedy hands. $1665. It was kind of hot.
* not the official name