Chapter 3: The Wolfpack Indulges in the Capital

Day trips from Quito are wonderful, but I wanted to make sure we had time to see the city itself. It’s smaller than Bogotá (about two million people compared to eight) and as I mentioned, the historical center is incredible. We spent a day exploring the various plazas and climbing up my Favorite Church Ever: the Basilica. The pictures speak for themselves, and yes, the ladders spanning towers several hundred feet in the air were as terrifying as ever.

We also ventured up to the Panecillo, the hill where a huge statue of the Virgen Mary with wings is poised over southern Quito. I had never been up there before and the views are spectacular on a clear day. We could see Cotopaxi, the Ilinizas and a few other volcanoes to the south.

Later that night we indulged in some delicious food and martinis at a Vietnamese place I’d never been to then met up with a friend of mine who was in WorldTeach Ecuador while I was studying abroad there – and still lives and works in Quito. After, Natalie and I tried to scope out the crowd at Bungalow 6, a club crawling with gringa-hunters that used to be a great source of entertainment, but apparently Bungalow thinks it’s actually a sophisticated place. Not only was there a long line of people waiting to get in (including girls in heels and dresses – seriously??), they were charging a five dollar cover. Five dollars at Bungalow? For girls? On Ladies’ Night? Not happening, ever.

The Mariscal might be nicknamed “Gringolandia” but I miss its spread of bars and restaurants, drink deals, lack of dress code and simultaneously cozy/dangerous feel at night. Plaza Foch even has a taste of Colombia – a new Juan Valdez coffee franchise.