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Monday, February 16, 2015

Quito continued

Several people told me about what a beautiful place Papallacta was with its thermal pools, lovely landscape and proximity to Quito, an easy day trip. Beatriz suggested I take the Ecovia, the other Quito transit bus, to the end of the line on the south end of town and get a bus from there to Papallacta. It was a good half hour- 45min Ecovia ride to the big, new terminal at the south edge of town. Bought a bus ticket for 9:00am and went to the departure spot. I was a half hour early but there was a bus in the correct bay set to go to Papallacta. So I got on and thought, how nice, an early departure. After about an hour I realized that we'd backtracked to where I'd started. Weird. The drivers assistant came around to collect tickets and when I gave him mine, he looked at it and shook his head. This was a different bus company which explained the early departure. So I had to pay again. I should have known better. Buses don't leave a half hour ahead of schedule. As we headed east into the mountains, the movie came on: The Transformers. Oh shit! And loud, and violent. As we started to climb, the beautiful warm sunshine was blotted out by clouds, it began to drizzle and we navigated our way through a big road construction project that went on and on. Nothing to see outside but clouds and fog, nothing inside but the Spanish speaking Transformers. This is one Dante forgot to include in the circles. I was getting very stressed. After about three hours we reached Papallacta. I got off into the cold drizzle, crossed the road and waited for the next Quito-bound bus. Whatever charms Papallacta possessed would have to remain un sampled by me. All I wanted was to be back in my warm, comfy place. It was a long wait but finally a bus came. I found a much more direct way back with the help of some fellow travellers and bus people and was immensely relieved to get back to warm, sunny Quito and Beatriz' house.

My last day in Quito dawned clear and, as I'd done a number of times in my past visits, I took a cab across town to the TelefériQo, the tram that goes up to the base of Volcan Pinchincha, in hopes of getting a view of Cotopaxi.

My analogy for these mountains is that they're like a coquettish woman, revealing just a little, a tantalizing glimpse, then covering up.
 

As in my other such attempts, this one too was unsuccessful in terms of seeing the mountain but was beautiful nonetheless. I've been in Ecuador probably a total of three months and have yet to see one of the mountains totally revealed. They say it's the wrong season.

I hiked up the steep trail much further than I'd intended. The views just kept getting better.

 

Quito driving - representative of Latin America where car is king. Beware lowly pedestrians. Actually, this is pretty tame.

 

 

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