I love taxi drivers that talk to you. In the States, I ask them a billion questions about what country they are from and what its like. In South America, I like to practice my Spanish with those that are willing. Marcelo gave us a ride one day and he passed the test. He was the perfect candidate for our tour of Quito. We made an appointment and he picked us up right on time. He took us around to different churches and important buildings in Old Town including the beautiful Basilica. During the holiday last weekend, we saw it lit up with different colors from a rooftop bar. I knew it would be beautiful and it was. The detail is ridiculous.
Next, we moved on to a hilltop for yet another great panoramic view of Quito. It’s tough to tell from the photo, but we could even see El Panecillo, the location of our first panoramic view. She’s in that patch of green just to the right of center.
Finally, we had to get some shopping done. We stopped at a mercado and bought a bunch of fruit. We chose some stuff we’ve never seen before as well as some oldies but goodies like bananas. They were 5 cents each. We then stopped at an outdoor market where we each purchased alpaca sweaters. It’s cool here at night…even on the equator!
We saw some great stuff all while Marcelo explained it to us in Spanish. Not only was this tour about sight seeing, it was a great Spanish lesson. He didn’t mind at all when we asked him how to say something or to explain the difference between pollo (chicken injected with chemicals) and gallina (farm raised). I think he enjoyed showing us his city and helping us with his language. The two hour taxi tour cost us $15.
I’m making a mental note to do some sort of tour whenever we arrive in a new city. It’s a great way to get your bearings and learn about it from a local rather than a guidebook.