Yesterday was great. Getting to Lan airlines, checking in, making myself a little window-aisle-seat-bed on the mostly empty plane. Lemme tell you kids, Lan is one heckuva airline. So spacious. Meals are normal, free tv, movies in each seat, blankets that are like...woven by the stewardess´grandma. I mean...a pleasure flight. We´re getting the crap end of the deal flying Continental and American. I´m telling you. Then, arriving into a country where the landscape took my breath away looking out the window, so much that I was tempted to take a photo but know they don´t come out because I´ve been retarded enough to do that in the past moments of being moved in the air. I got to my hotel, which looks like a Spanish villa in the middle of a dirty city called the Hostal de Fuerte Piedra 1 (NOT to be confused with Fuente 2, mind you...). It is quaint and the staff so friendly. The best part? I'm totally Spanish-speaking Marie. And they understand me!!! LOL. I slept most of the day. Finally being here is allowing all the stress of getting here to wear off. It felt WONDERFUL to sleep. I woke and needed food. Of course, I chose wisely. The guard from the hotel walked me to the restaurant b/c it's so shady @ night here. I told him I wanted typical ecuadorian cuisine, a glass of wine, not too $$ (in spanish), etc... He brought me to another villa-ish place that, on the interior, looked almost regal with high backed wooden chairs and portraits of kings everywhere. All fish-fresh that tasted like it was caught an hour before, tops. A lovely British woman (50ish) who just got back from Galapagos invited me to dine w/her. Such a nice evening. She said I seemed American by the way I "plopped" into my chair. Ha!! Josephine. I mean...such is my life now.
Today, I got up, spent about 2 hours in a travel agency re: Galapagos, Lima and Cusco/Macchu Piccu tix (did all flights thru 11-15ish...) and then, went to a place called El Panecillo, which is a statue of the Virgin Mary that sits atop Quito where you can look down on the whole city. Pretty wild to see the interface between the loud, colorful, busy city and the lush, serene, green mountains as backdrop. I took too many pictures of it, I think. And I´m HATING the stand alone photos. The Chinese tourist kind. You know ´em.... Kill myself. I´m keeping them to a minimum. They´re stupid. Then, onto the ¨Mitad del Mundo¨ or more understandably, The Center of the World. The Equator. Very cool - totally stood with one foot in one hemisphere and one in the other. Took pictures (made my tour guide I hired for the day take some with me...a little çecuadorian fellow that had too much sunburn on only his forehead that made it glow a 80´s flourescent pink...very odd and I think I stared a lot at it), got a certificate for balancing an egg on a nail ON the actual equatorial line. Tourist trap, but ce la vie, I´m a tourist. Then, into Quito´s old city for some looking around. Kinda reminded me of San Jose in Costa Rica: dirty, unimpressive. Care? Not so much. Then, back to nap-shower-email. Now, will figure out dinner. I have 3 restaurants chosen. Everyone here has said great things about all of them. Yes, I´ve inquired. Which one will be the question..obv... Shoot me, I´m still Zagat-y. For now.
Tomorrow, leaving for the Galapagos at 6 AM. Not sure I´ll be able to write too much from there. It´s totally undeveloped, internet is a bit far-off for Galapagosians (What do they call themselves? I´ll find out tomorrow.) But, you never know. I´m there until 11-6. Then, will be back in civilization. Meanwhile, the volcano on the island of Isabella (not inhabited by human life - only 2 of the islands are) is active right now and someone I met today told me that it´s a surreal thing, watching a volcano explode in front of your very eyes. I´m imagining it like a bigger version of my 7th grade science volvano project in Mr. Loring´s class (which was excellent thanks to my mom´s help). I hope it keeps erupting so I can experience it. FROM AFAR.... ;)
Talk to yáll soon. xoxoxoxo