We had quite a noisy night. Not caused by other guests, but by a screaming confused drunk right below our window. Terrific .
The view from our balcony: Grey and rainy. But today you can see the Virgin on the bread bun (or as I call the hill: Fat Christmas tree) quite well compared to yesterday. We have a shower and take the stairs down for breakfast before we set off to explore the city. Ena is very pleased that she still remembers where the pharmacy and her favourite supermarket is (she was here 7 years ago).
Santo Domingo Square
At the square of Santo Domingo we stroll a little through the old town and decide to buy a SIM card in order to be able to access the internet. This turns out to be a bit more complicated than we expected, but the shop assistant in the kiosk spends a lot of time helping us. That was extremely nice, we would have required a lot more time to set everything up.
With each a bottle of water in our hands we leave the kiosk to make our way back to the hostel – tomorrow we plan to go rafting in Tena. However, Ena spills most of the water as soon as she opens the bottle. “I completely forgot about this…”
Quito is several meters above sea level… and the water is probably bottled somewhere else . Back at the hostel we pack our things, pay and walk to the trole station of Santo Domingo to take the bus to Quitumbe. Although it is quite narrow in front of the entrance, but “ecuadorian style”-queuing up means simply squeezing in. And old grandmas are particularly good at that – ignoring all casualties. Although we could already watch an old lady walking in front of a taxi today to cross the street (whirling a walking cane), now I have the opportunity to experience Ecuadorian grandmothers up close: “Ouch?“. The walking cane hits me from the side – “Permiso, permiso“ someone croaks from below and I get more blows. Does the old woman want to get through or does she just want to hit me? I walk to the side and the person next to me gets to feel her stick. Ecuadorian grandmas? Very dangerous. Noted . For just 0,25 USD you can get anywhere in the city as long as you don’t leave the bus station you reached. Then you’ll have to pay another 0,25 USD for using the bus again.
The view from the bus window: Graffitis. Graffitis everywhere – and not just carelessly smeared tags, but mural-quality. Quito seems to be an urban art open-air museum – you could take the bus from district to district and look at dozens of murals for a few dollars. Of course, it’s not too comfortable – the bus is packed to the brim and the driver seems to like playing “human bowling”.
Arriving in Quitumbe, we are greeted by several employees bending out of their ticket booths – from every corner you can hear city names being shouted. There are many competing bus companies – in general there is almost always some bus going in the desired direction. For only 6 USD you can depart for Tena. Similar to Panama you have to pay an entrance fee (0,20 USD) at bigger bus stations, but here you have to pay cash instead with card.
The bus ride to Tena is anything but boring. You can already get an idea of Ecuador’s landscape: The country in the Andes has a lot of rivers and the combination of mountains and flowing water creates a lot of waterfalls, some of which can be seen in the direction of travel on the right. After a few hours drive we see the first welcome sign of Tena. Then the second…and the third?!? We seem to drive a curve around the jungle city and these are all the entrance signs. The traffic increases a little and I have to grin at the sight of a flatbed taxi at the side lane with the beer stacked by the crate on the back. A few minutes later we arrive at the bus station and take a cab to the “Hostal Casa Blanca”. It is odd that taxis with switched off taxi light are free here…
The super friendly owner of the hostel is knocking us off our feet: She really thought of everything – we even get a map with the best restaurants. Great, we’re already hungry anyways. We’re heading straight for the city centre. I can’ t optically compare Tena with other cities I have visited. As a jungle city it resembles at most El Valle in Panama… a little bigger however.
It also seems as if modernization works are taking place close to the river… some kind of pedestrian-amusement mile? We walk over the pedestrian bridge to the other side of the river and have dinner at the “Super Pollo”. Not bad . After we get some snacks at the supermarket around the corner for tomorrow, we take a taxi back (1,50 USD) (Note: Short distances 1,25 USD, medium distances 1,50 USD and longer distances 1,75 USD upwards – in the evening you can expect 0,25 USD more).
It rains most of the night. I really hope tomorrows rafting will be alright…