We needed to go to a 30 min orientation in Quito before going to the Jatun Sacha site on San Cristobal, so that meant one day in Quito! I never felt entirely safe there, especially since we were such obvious tourists. I learned later that quite a few of the volunteers were mugged at knifepoint, but it was always when they were walking alone. We explored with two other Jatun Sacha volunteers that would be going to one of the other of the five total volunteer sites (such as the Amazon or San Cristobal). They were very strong, independent women to be traveling alone! Very kind as well. What a great way to start meeting new people.
We visited Itchimbia, which was this cool glass building with a great view. After that, a visit to Old Town, where the Basilica’s native gargoyles like iguanas were fascinating. We hunted down authentic Ecuadorian food and made the discovery that Ecuadorian food is not terribly flavorful. Tasty food with variety was one of the biggest things I missed over this trip. One thing I loved about Quito was the graffiti. Most was generic for sure, but so often I found either ingenious or extremely well-crafted pieces. Some just made me laugh.
Patricio worked with Jatun Sacha and took us to orientation and stores to get rubber boots (ESSENTIAL). He told us all sorts of fun and interesting information and made us comfortable in his city. I was very thankful as a new traveler. He taught us "Chévere" which essentially means "Awesome!" We heard and used it a lot over the trip. Now Adam and I are calling our home "Casa Chévere".
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