This is the first time I have not flown directly into Quito. My favorite part has always been flying down into Quito and seeing all the lights and completely stressing if the plane was going to crash into the side of the city! Since I can remember I always felt like the landing was dangerous after my cousins told me, “YES PLANES CRASH INTO QUITO!” So this year I was glad there was a new airport and it would be a major change from landing in a prison looking airport – even though it would be out of the city. Think how DFW airport is in Irving when you have a party to get to in Dallas minus the insane constant construction.
THIS NEW AIRPORT IS BEAUTIFUL! When we landed in the morning it was so beautiful to be in the mountains. AeroMexico was such a wonderful flight of luxury that I was able to sleep until around 5 AM and saw this
Waking up in the South American sky
Excitement! I would rather travel at night so I can sleep and wake up to be there, however, my excitement wouldn’t let me. I pulled up a guide for Ecuador and read up on the current political environment and what things there were to. I was so determined to do everything. I have two months here. I have a lot of energy! I. CAN. DO. EVERYTHING!
Landing at Mariscal Sucre International Airport
Beautiful country side and getting to see over Quito made this one the best landing I have ever had.
Perfect day to wake up in Quito, Ecaudor
The airport itself was easier to navigate and there was a bathroom right at International customs so much easier. Now there is a mall area for those who have long lay over. Just cross over the taxies and busses. It has several major brand stores but of course the cost is high in there. The parking garage is on the other side of the mall. Having Wifi at the airport made for a great time to check messages and get new podcast downloads before I left with my friend to the Galapagos Islands.
Found these awesome pictures Instagram. Loved these shots.
Although I was born in Ecuador, I typically come to only visit family. I never have gone to do tourist things or go on tours of any area. This past summer I went to the most beautiful islands on Earth and did activities I never planned to manifest. I had moments where I was surrounded by love and then moments where I was about to make a phone call to just buy a ticket home. It was strange having that feeling that I had to get back to the United States even though Ecuador is my original home. I got a bad case of the gringos. Learned some rough lessons and here they are!
1. You don’t need internet to live but you it really helps.
Ecuador has had spotty wifi even at the most expensive hotels I’ve stayed at. When I spent a week in Atacames I would go to a wonderful internet Cafe, Michelle Cafe at the plaza square, and spend 1 to 2 hours to update my social media, this blog and try to Skype friends in the states to help out with issues back in the states. There would also be several days I just did not have internet at all. I ended up not minding at all after a while. So many folks say they would DIE without the internet but I ended up living so much more. I would have wonderful meals with my mom, family and new friends I met. I still had my phone camera so we would take pictures & even play with the PhotoBooth on my Macbook Air. There would be no one else in the world except us, right there. Or myself.
2. Be open to anything and ANYTHING will happen.
There were many times when I simply did not want to do anything other than be alone just because I was so exhausted from traveling or not feeling well yet I was like, “Okay, let me see what happens,” and I would say yes and engage. I know in Banos, I did not even WANT to do any type of anything except all the spa treatments and hang out at the heated pools. I was just standing in a tour guide with my friend being all excited and I was like, “Okay, sure.” I know that even know I was permanently traumatized after my first waterfall (with FOUR MORE TO GO) that I was going to be okay. After a busy day in Esmeraldas, I called off going to a concert but when I got there, it was AMAZING! I have never heard such awesome music and the beer was a DOLLAR! Being open to anything and a bunch of awesome happens.
3. You can speak enough Spanish so just say it.
I have always been insecure about how much Spanish I could speak bc I have never read a novel or wrote a blog or do not have a degree in Spanish. However, I have been able to get anything I need, go anywhere and get my message across with my broken Spanish. When I took a cab after a bus ride alone I was forced to explain where I was going and instead of saying “El Bandenero,” I said, “El Bananos.” This cab driver looked at me like I was lost & then I described what I was talking about and where and he was looked at me in the rear view mirror and said, “Where are you from?” It was funny to explain I was visited family in town and I lived in the USA and no I was not deported. I’ve met other travelers who did NOT speak ANYTHING Spanish at all & they were able to communicate. People in Ecuador are always looking to helps other, do not believe this place is dangerous all over. Of course the non-tourist cities are dangerous but over all people will tell you NOT to go some places after dark and check before heading out to keep yourself safe. My family made sure I did not walk around with my jewelry and to hide my smartphone because it would get stolen right out of the car window.
4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
The bathroom situation in some places, on the road bus stops for the over 4 hour bus rides were standing situations. I went to a fair for Esmeraldas Independence day (well it was a week celebration) and realized, “OMG, I have to take this water from there to here to make my poo go away!” I have never been so connected to my own bowel movements. I would spend nights at a hostel just wishing for A/C so I could literally chill. Some bus rides I would repeatedly have to pull the person next to me so their elbow would get out of my rib cage. Times I would have to share a bed, which was just a mattress on a floor and there were no windows and it was a high traffic area. Couch surfing is not a luxurious option but I was staying as budget friendly as possible so in the end I’m happy for the way things rolled out. I became completely fine with funny smells, loud noises and generally being inconvenienced in every way possible. In the end, I am thankful that I did not spend my summer in a cubical then in traffic.
5. Time spent with family is well spent. My first trip was to Alausi and I visited my grandmother’s grave. I never my maternal grandmother as she passed away before I was born, but this was the family grave. I visited my Uncle’s grave and my grandfather’s grave. I was overwhelmed with feelings when my mom expressed she did not want to be buried here. I did spent this summer with my mom because her health has been so bad the past years and I had no idea when I would be able to spend so much time with her. This trip has helped our relationship a great deal. I have also been able to bond with my second cousins more than ever. Now that my Spanish is better than ever, I have had some great conversations with these people I usually just see on Skype. I am normally just a silly person that I act goofy all the time but there were great moments to bond with my family.
Una foto publicada por AllyFiesta (@allyfiesta) el
Finally rested one full day after going to the Galapagos Islands and Banos, Ecaudor while being sick. I had spent a week on the northern coast of Ecuador before taking a 6 hour bus ride to Quito, Ecuador on the first day of having swimmer´s ear. I was lucky to have a pain killer on Sunday but it clearly changed my personality. I was no longer energetic, excited and bubbly person. Even my friend said, “I wish I could film how turnt down you are.” Being sick while in the most beautiful place on Earth was rough but I was extremely fortunately to be with a close friend who knows how to take lemons and make a really good adult beverage out of the sitatuion. Here is how I made it through a week of being sick.
1. Pain medication. Had it, used it and felt when I needed more.
2. Slept. I usually play all day AND GO HARD at local entertainment bars/clubs/pool halls but I just wanted to go to bed after spending time at the beach each day. Sleeping was so important to my recovery.
3. Did not drink at vacation quanities. Thinking about this more and I have not drank more than I typically do at home. In the past, I always drink regularly when I come to Ecuador but this time I just have not felt like it even when I was not sick.
4. Review evaluate my attitude. So many times this past week that I just straight up wanted to not do anything. It was horrible timing. Just thinking of the saying: if you want to make God laugh then make plans. I have been planning this trip for months and was in a foul mood because I was feeling horrible. However, I would take moments to just be thankful to be there and then move on.
5. Had a wonderful friend that was compassionate during that time. Even though my friend is compassionate she did not for a single day not allow me to stay in and do nothing. Traveling with someone who has a strong sense of self and has a straight up magical ability to flip the mood is a real gift. I am just lucky in that alone.
I have posted several photos on my instagram of the islands and 5 days was not enough. As for getting over swimmer´s ear, it just takes time and leaving the ear alone – much harder than it sounds. I am so thankful to have spent the time I did there and the over all experience was real treat. Although Athena got me to go rafting, canyoning AND hike to The Virgin in Banos, we are still friends. Just a wonderful person to travel with. Everyone needs a travel buddy like her.
Una foto publicada por AllyFiesta (@allyfiesta) el
The scariest stores I ever heard when I was little were all set around La Nariz Del Diablo. I just was told that the Devil lives there and ghosts are all around the area. I was told this so many times that even NOW as an adult I do not like any kind of ghost stories AT ALL. Turns out that building the stretch of tracks did end up with thousands of workers dying. Even people believed that the Devil did not want these tracks to be built so everyone working there would die. It was such a beautiful day that I did not even think about any possible hauntings in the area. The $30 ticket is very much worth it. There is also a stop at the base of mountains to take pictures. Locals come with a llama and the $1.00 photo op is very much worth it.
$30.00 takes a visitor on a 2.4 ride and visit to La Nariz del Diablo. My mom used to tell me scary stories about this place – turns out they are true.
Lovely train with reversable seats
Ride out of Alausi
Ride out of Alausi
View of lower train station
Watch out that switch back track
I only looked at this window to take this picture.
Where the valley meets
La Nariz del Diablo
A worker has to manually change the tracks
Guide telling about this train route being built, Spanish speaking.
Reward for climbing? Food & drinks!
Awesome garden on the right.
Rare to see a switch back train track.
Choo choo! Really, breezy ride.
Perfect day to be outdoors.
Found a Spanish documentary about this area. It is so utterly beautiful here and I could not take an excellent phone since there was so much fog right when we arrived at the lower valley. Some of the photos in this documentary are also in the museum. However, I do not remember anyone serving me at the cafe, lol, maybe that used to happen but not when I went. Love the footage of Alasui as well! I am happy that I got to spend 4 days here, Alasui is such a sleepy town but during the time I was able to spend there I was very much alive.
Remember going on bus ride for school field trips? This is how it feels to ride a bus from Quito to Quitumbe Terminal, about a 30 minute ride. I am excited and know I am going to learn something and yes I forgot snacks but vendors will come on the bus with drinks and food! The buses remind me of tour buses with how much room there is under the bus to store luggage and the seats are extra plus also you have moments when fall alseep next to someone you do not know well as their elbow digs into your rib cage. I have only had that happen once!
Here is the view from a window seat leaving Quito headed to Alasui.
I love what a perfect day it. Clouds are working this camera!
Quito is INSIDE an exsinct volcano so it just digs deep and it takes a good drive to get in and out of the city.
All the bus drivers drive like we are racing. So many times I wish I had a seat belt. Someone just strap me to this seat!
The sparkle is from my camera case. I know, glitter lover problems.
I rode around on 4 buses one day and eventually all the buses would end up at a terminal. So you can never STAY lost because evenutally you will end up at a terminal. This is important because in Dallas the bus line will end some where random with no station or rail AT MIDNIGHT – when the lines all are done. I do not ride alone after dark.
Quitumbe Terminal. Very clean, still have to pay 15 cents to buy paper to use the bathroom. Food galore and wonderful wifi. This place just looks like a mall and was so happy to place to get water and use the ladies room.
Now the dusk settles in as I leave the outskirts of town. We drove right AROUND the city. Riding bus through Quito is a completely different experience.