countin' the days

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Here I Go Again... On My Own

That´s right... I´m back out in the world for another adventure. This time it´s all on my own, and I couldn´t be happier about it. Of course, just like my previous solo adventures have proven, being "alone" never really means being alone, because of the loads of fantastic people you meet as a solo traveler. Ecuador, even on my first day, has been no exception.

I actually made my first friend on the plane, before I even landed. I was stoked to discover several other solo female travelers waiting for the plane bound for Quito, and it didn´t take me long to strike up a conversation with one of them. Then on my way to my hostal, I made friends with my cab driver -- an endlessly charming and adorable older quiteño man who assured me that Ecuador is the best country in the world, and Quito is his favorite part in the whole country, one that he wouldn´t trade for anything. This was also my first long conversation in Spanish in a while, and it went perfectly well. I guess all those days and nights of practicing Spanish in Spain are still buried down there somewhere, looking to come out of hibernation.

Once I arrived at this charming little hostal and made it up the labyrinth of skinny steps, well, I had half a dozen new friends in minutes. In fact, I already have plans to take off this weekend for an Afro-Ecuadorian beach town with two other girls to celebrate the 4 raucous days of Carnaval! ¡Olé! In the meantime, I´ll be taking it easy here in Quito, a lovely city set in a strikingly beautiful Andean valley at the cool altitude of 10,000 feet. There are plenty of Spanish-style churches to explore, not to mention plenty of craft and food markets to be discovered. My hostel has also this fantastic 4th floor rooftop terrace with a view that speaks for itself... que bueno es.

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