Arrived in Quito today at 6:30 local time. Didn't sleep before my flight last night, but caught a couple hours on the floor at Miami international, before the second leg of my flight. 25 minute delay for hurricane Earl, but no big deal. Accidentally rented a bus instead of a taxi, and overpayed as a result, that being said, 12 bucks to go all the way across the city isn't half bad, especially when you consider the driver let me use his cell phone to call Sisima.
Got to the Duchicela's house around 7:30, where I met Sisi and her boyfriend Miguel, both are really awesome people and speak good English (partially because they are taking the GREs in English very soon, I told them I would probably resign myself to a career at McDonalds if I had to take the GREs in Spanish). Sisi is working on her doctoral thesis in biology, on a special kind of tree which grows at high altitudes (more on that later), however several of her friends had just graduated, so we basically went out right after I arrived to see some friends.
Took the public bus down to a hopping area, the bus costs 25c, including transfers. We started off with some food and a cup of Pepsi (which was crucial for my night). There is a famous hot-dog stand/restaurant in Quito called Zona (The Zone), which I learned is in reference to the Amazon, although apparently only about ten people know that and the rest are just in happy oblivion. For two double foot long hot dogs, loaded up, 3 soda's, and what was basically a double quarter pounder, the total came to under 8$.
Next we went to meet the graduates and various friends at a bar nearby, a kind of grungy, very down to earth place, but really pleasant in its lack of pretentiousness. Our group kept growing and sucking up tables like an Amoeba, and after a beer (Club Verde, quite good) we went to a dance club nearby called Lark. It took a minute for people to start moving, but the dancing was alot of fun. The DJs were terrible, but they did manage to play a few goodies, Stevie Wonder's superstition was the highlight, followed by Daft Punk and a lil bit of James Brown. The use of Blind Melon, Franz Ferdinand, and Sublime caught me a little off guard, but the crowd seemed ok with it, although the dancing waxed and waned depending on the music. Very open, a lot of fun, the dancing started in a circle (another Amoeba) which soon broke up into various smaller Protozoa. Miguel winced when we heard that Tequila shots were 5 dollars, so of course I bought a round, half to spite Adams Morgan and their 20 dollar drinks, and half because I wanted Tequila! Didn't have any other drinks in order to make sure I can acclimatize myself to the altitude, although so far I haven't even noticed it.
Tomorrow I will sleep late. After that I will probably have Lunch with Sisi (trying to eat very traditional, I'll try to take pictures), and then hopefully buy a cell phone and internet key. After that I hop on the bus from Ofelia station (which is conveniently very close) and am off to Las Tolas, where I hope my family will be waiting for me.
As far as gifts go, got Remy Martin VSOP for the Duchicela's, and a boxed bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label for the father in Las Tolas. I'll keep you posted on reactions.