Arriving in the promised land, delivered to/fro evil?

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Foresight you may call it, the plan was like this: a hostel had been booked over the phone and an airport pick up added to the order. Why not make things easy? But the dream plan was shattered: the pick-up remained absent. Well, whatever, we took a taxi and cruised through the valley of Quito, where the capital of the same name sprawls at the foot of the Pichincha Volcano, home to slightly less than a tenth of Ecuador’s estimated 13.2 million people. Arriving at the not so Secret Garden (not commendable given the way they “treated” us) in Quito’s Centro Historico (in guide books this is the “Old Town”) where the hostel is nestled in impressive colonial architecture (a walk around the Old Town is imagination candy – about which more later, perhaps), we learn that the promised room has the same status as the airport pick-up: it is not available. There is another double room possible without bath, but we’d have to vacate in the morning (we have around 100 kilos luggage of books, papers, computers, cameras and this and that), move into a dorm bed, up and down floors, then wait until Saturday for the room we had booked over the phone – it is Wednesday and we feel cheated, but also glad to leave the little backpacker haven where well-geared globetrotters mingle in a predominantly U.S. American blissful ignorance: it is not the place for us to be. An old friend, so to speak, come to our rescue, the Hotel Huasi Continental, which is a lovely old fashioned hotel, with roomier and cheaper rooms than the poxy Secret Garden, and an astounding pressure on the hot water shower. Delivered from evil we have arrived in the promised land. Bags dropped, and a bit of pottering about, no faffing!, and we stroll for dinner. Back in the room between nine and ten o’clock, jet-lagged and suffering from lack of breath at 2850 meter’s height we fall asleep to Ecuadorian TV.


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