Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ben in Ecuador - First Days

Ben Gordon traveled to Cuenca, Ecuador via Quito, Ecuador this summer and here in his own words and photos he documented the first few days of his travels. Continue to follow along with Ben and others. 
Quito Church
The journey from the Los Angeles airport to Quito, Ecuador was a long one to say the least. I began my trek at 1:11AM and ended up in a different hemisphere at 5:30PM the same day. I flew from Los Angeles to Houston to Panama and met up with my friends Joe and Peyton. Then we all three took the same flight to Quito where we went through customs and immigration (which is always sort of a hassle). Once in Quito we all hopped in a cab that was waiting for us and endured the 1 ½ hour ride downtown. We attempted asking the driver questions about the city and I was glad to learn that I remembered most of my Spanish from class. We arrived at the hotel and I was glad to learn that it was relatively upscale. We were greeted at the door and were well taken care of the entire stay. It was around dinner time so the three amigos decided to be adventurous and go out for dinner downtown. We hailed a cab and used our intermediate Spanish to tell the driver to take us to Plaza Foche. It was very crowded when we got there seeing as it was a Saturday night. We were thrown many funny looks in the plaza and were also propositioned to enter multiple restaurants. It often seemed that the stereotype of Americans there was that we were all rich, hence the incessant badgering. The next day the whole group went on a tour of downtown Quito. We saw many churches and other beautiful sights, but the constant theme was still the locals asking us for money; more often asking us to buy their goods. We next stopped by the Quito mall next (the Mall Quicentro) which was strikingly similar to any American mall. Later that day the group headed out for the city where we would be spending most of our time: Cuenca. It was a fairly uneventful flight, but my Ecuador roommate, Joe, and I were very excited when we met our host parents, Fernando and Susana. They were very nice to us, but we could definitely tell that they had been through this before. They were glad to learn that we could speak at least elementary Spanish seeing as often times their host children don’t speak at all. The next day the group took a tour of Cuenca and observed the important landmarks of where we would be spending our next month. We saw places like the banco central and las escalinatas which is right next to the school: Estudio Sampere.
Estudio Sampere
Joe and Ben in Quito
Summerall Guards in Cuenca
View of Cuenca

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