We had Leo’s niece and nephew, Thais and Felipe, come to visit from Venezuela. They flew into Quito, so we took an 8 hour bus ride to Quito to meet them at the airport. We did not get the bus until 11:30 from Portoviejo.
Before the trip we went to a get together at La Loma until 9:30.
Then we got a taxi to take us to the bus terminal. During the bus ride I took off my flip flops and put on socks to sleep. In the morning I could only find one shoe. The other shoe had slipped off into the bowels of bus. We looked under the seats and the bus driver finally made us get off. I went into the terminal with one shoe on and one sock on. (Lovely). I sat down on a bench inside and Leo went off to find me a new pair of flip flops, which he did find. We took a bus to the airport. At the airport we had breakfast and then waited for their plane which arrived at 11:30 AM.
After they arrived we waited a bit until Chino, a friend who dated one of Leo’s volleyball players came to pick us up. He moved back to Quito recently. He showed us around. We drove through Old Town and came to our hotel there located on Chile Street, called Quito Cultural. The hotel was nice, not as nice as the one we stayed in before, but it was in that same colonial style that I love. We checked in and Chino came back and picked us up and we went to lunch. Then we went back to the hotel and Chino said he’d pick everyone up late to go to a boxing match. I stayed home and the rest went.
One interesting thing was that I did not know if I could still stand the noise of the city after living in such a quiet place for the last 9 months. To my surprise, when I started hearing the noise, I was feeling nostalgic. I loved it. City noises are cool. (I may be one of the few North Americans that think that). I heard vendors hawking something, people laughing, music, sirens, roosters among other things.
After checking out, we got a local bus to a terminal that would take us to Otavalo. We did not get a seat. We had everyone’s luggage with us too. We were all crammed in together. The bus was packed. We were laughing at the fact that we were getting thrown everywhere. It is hard to figure out how to stand, because the bus turns corners and throws you around.
Then we got to the terminal to catch the bus to Otavalo. I was kind of dreading this trip because it is 2 hours in the mountains and if you follow me, you know that I do not do well with mountains. It turned out that I took a lot of pictures out of the window and seemed to ignore the fact that there was a steep drop a few feet from our tires. Needless to say the view was beautiful.
When we got off the bus we got a cab to our hotel, Hostal Otavalos Inn. It was a cute hotel and clean. Then I
realized I had forgotten my jacket on the bus. ( I know I am not good at keeping up with my things). When I was teaching I stopped carrying a purse, because I would hear on the intercom, Mrs. Uzcategui, your purse is in the office. I carried money in my pocket and left my purse in my car trunk. Luckily, Leo was able to get it for me, because it is cold in Otavalo at times. After checking in, we walked to the big Market. The one where they sell the wares of the Andes People. I loved walking around that place. I bought a two person hammock, a tablecloth, a large square fabric art of birds, a 2 meter by 1/2 meter woven piece of art of fish. Leo bought two shirts. Then we all went to eat a late lunch/dinner. After that, we walked back to the hotel. We hung out in the hotel. I read a book on my tablet and Leo was on his computer. Again we had those great street noises. There was even a parade that went by to celebrate some saint. I did not get video.
At about 3:00 the roosters started. Then the cars and trucks started. I got up at some point and started taking pictures. Then I started taking video of what goes on on the streets. The most fascinating was a man with two goats. A woman and her daughter were on the way to school, so she stopped and bought her daughter a glass of “freshly squeezed” milk, squeezed while you waited. I also say a woman ride up in a cab. She was in the front so it may have been her husband’s cab. She seemed to want to buy something at the butcher shop. She got out of the cab, when to the store, came back and talked to the cab driver, when back to the store, came back again and left without purchasing anything. Many people came to buy freshly sliced meat. There was another store with miscellaneous things in it that was busy and a man came and opened a garage door that had stacks of eggs inside. There was a constant flow of people and cars going down this busy street. I had a ball watching everything. We had breakfast which was part of our package at the hotel.
In the restaurant was a man on his computer. We talked with him.He was from NY, via the Philippines. He has a 28 yr. old Filipina wife back in the Philippines. He was here in Ecuador looking to do business and find a good place to live. He will probably have to live in a big city. After breakfast we went back to the Market and I bought another large woven art piece and paid to have another made. The old man who makes the woven pieces is so interesting. He has been in just about every US state, as well as many different countries, playing in a band and selling his wares. His wife was there, too, so we took pictures of them. (Update, he said our art piece has been mailed).
Thais and Felipe also got something. Thais got a bookbag and Felipe got a shirt.
Afterwards we got a cab to the bus terminal and rode the bus back to Quito. At the terminal, we got a cab to take us to the Equator, Mitad del Mundo (half of the world).
We are still carrying luggage around. Leo got our tickets while we waited with the luggage near a ramp so we could roll them. We rolled them to a restaurant that said we could keep them there while we toured. Now we were leaving the luggage on an open patio with tables, which was fine while we ate, but I was very worried leaving them there out in the open. The lady at the restaurant said they would be safe, so we left them there. We did the rounds of the place. There is not a lot to see, but let’s face it, it is fun to take your picture there and know that you were there. The kids liked it. We had been there, but we knew they’d love it and they did.
We took a cab from the Equator to the bus terminal, because it was much easier with all of our luggage, which was there at the restaurant where we left it by the way. We had to wait at the terminal a while before getting our bus back to Portoviejo. The ride back was awful. I couldn’t sleep, so I read the book on my tablet, I tried to sleep, but it was uncomfortable and hot, until Leo finally asked them to turn up the air conditioning. The ride was 9 hours because we had to go another way because there had been a landslide on the regular route. I was exhausted when we got back home.
After a little sleep, we recuperate and began to enjoy our visit with our niece and nephew again.
Below is a video of the street outside of our window in Otavalo.