Saturday, February 23, 2013

The new Airport in Quito -Quiport

My father in law and I decided to take a trip to the new airport today just to see what it was all about.  I have heard a lot of rumors that the roads were horrible and that it would be a nightmare to get from the city to the airport so we decided to find out the truth.

We left the house in Mariscal at about 10:15 and found there was not much traffic leaving the city.  I do believe this is partially due to the fact that it is a Saturday so we didn't have to worry about the rush hour traffic we normally encounter. 

We were out of the city and through the tunnel Guayasamin in about 15 minutes which is amazing in itself.  We travelled through the normal weekend traffic you run into through Cumbaya and Tumbaco.  There was a slight bottle neck (5 minutes or so) over the bridge that crosses the river.  I can't remember the name of the river or the bridge but it is one lane each way so a bottleneck is understandable.  From my understanding they will be building a wider bridge soon.  Once we crossed the river it seemed like the roads were all brand new!

From here on out the HORRENDOUS traffic looked something like this all the way to the airport. 

As you can see the massive gridlock was very tough to navigate.  There was constant honking of horns and there must have been 12,000 cars trying to fight their way to the airport on this "unfinished" road.  If you can't sense the sarcasm in my keystrokes then I don't know what to tell you.

The road was smoother than a baby's bottom and traffic was NO WHERE in site.  Once again I will state this is a Saturday so normal rush hour does not apply, but I can't help to think of how horrible the traffic was in LA during the daytime on the weekend to get to LAX. 

It looks to me like the roads were freshly paved and ready to be heavily traveled by tourists and business people alike.  I will state for the 3rd time however, this was a Saturday morning.  We arrived at the the airport right around 11:00 give or take a few minutes.

Once we got there we decided to camp out with all the other curious bystanders and watch the planes land and take off at the new airport.  The boy got a kick out of that along with my father in law.

Looks like all is well at the new airport.  See you all soon!



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Planking in the Middle of the World. HAHA! #Planking

Last Sunday I went to the Middle of the World Monument (the fake one so I hear).  I went to the museum and checked out all the stores selling souvenirs.  It was good times.  If you go to Ecuador this is a must see destination.  Being in the Middle of the World is an amazing experience and a definite on your to do list if you come here.

the Museum inside the monument features historical break downs of all of the various indigenous cultures that live here within Ecuador's borders.  It is well worth the entrance fee of $3.00.  I was with my wife's cousins Patricio and Janette (I hope I spelled her name correctly if not please tell me) and we were acting quite foolish so I decided to "Plank" The Middle of the World!

I think I was the first person to ever go Planking in the Middle of the World (vigorous Google search to determine this) so I hereby release the photos (credits to Patricio Garzon for taking).

There it is!  The first Planking of the Middle of the World!  I had to do another where my body was lined up with the Equator so here that is (also compliments of Patricio Garzon).

Patricio also planked the Middle of the World but I don't know if his plank officially counts because he was not face down.  If it doesn't count please leave a comment so I know he needs to get his ass back down here and do it right!

Good times I tell you.

By the way, there is a proposal to build the WORLDS TALLEST Building here in the Middle of the World.  When I was inside the current monument museum they had this model of the project on display:

It is supposed to be twice as tall at the world's current tallest in Dubai and cost $200,000,000 to build.  We will see if this actually happens.  I have my doubts but apparently it is a private investor looking to have this built.  I re posted an article about this on my blog so dig deeper if your interested.  

We also visited the Panecillo with them and got to enjoy a panoramic view of Quito from the top of this monument dedicated to the Virgin Panecillo.

Guess what, you can go inside this one also!  at the top you can see all of the Quito and this one is also worth the $1.00 it takes to get in.

I took a panoramic shot myself to share with you all but it is mega miniature because I don't want to make my whole blog 8 feet long on your screen. 

 Now that there is going to be no airport in the middle of the city and the height restrictions are lifted, I can imagine this skyline shot will be full of skyscrapers in 20 years. 

This was a great day full of amazing sites sounds and food!  I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant we went to because it was delicious.  But most importantly it was a day where I got to spend time with two people who made a big impact on my life here in Ecuador.  Patricio and Janette.  Thanks for all the fun times!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello all who are spying.

I promised Juan Carlos and Andreas from the Quito get together that I would write again.  Apparently my blog is catching on.  Whoop Whoop!  Please don't scalp me if I misspelled your names.  Blame it on the Whiskey and Pisco Sours.  The Internations event was amazing and I met a lot of other expats and "extranjeros" who are walking in my shoes.

Last time I told you all that Centro Historico and the Mariscal District are night and day, and I was asked, "Why?".

Since you already know what Centro Historico is, (If you were paying attention to my last entry), I will focus today on Mariscal.  If you are from Los Angeles, or have been to Hollywood then Mariscal in my opinion is Ecuador's version of Hollywood minus the stars on the street,....Oh..  and that silver dude.

Mariscal is like grand central station for tourists who are traveling throughout Ecuador.  

There are more bars per square meter here than a prison yard, and I am not just talking about places to get a drink.  Every establishment has barred windows, barred doors, and barred ceilings.  Even the third floor of a building is barred up.  You can also get some of the most delicious Chocolate bars here that come from Mindo but that is another story.  I even saw barbwire wrapped around a tree.  Who is going to steal a tree?  Maybe they just don't want people to piss on it.   

Back to the other bars where we get belligerent, the choices are infinite in this gritty but festive district.  Every bar is packed from 2:00 PM till 2:00 AM on Wednesday Through Saturday.  Sunday is a day of rest and church here in Ecuador so you can not buy booze after 4:00 PM unless it is with a meal.  I would have snapped pictures of the Plaza Foch, but it is hard to hold a camera while you are two fisted and there is no way I am giving up one of my Ecuador's finest cervezas, Club Roja.

This beer is delicious and reminds of the many Newcastles I drank with my friend Isaac in the states. 

Some of my favorite places to go to here in Plaza Foch (Reina Victoria Y Mariscal Foch) are:

Q - Nice vibe and awesome happy hour
Finn McCool's - Authentic Irish Pub
Mulligan's -  To play Billiards and Foosball
Cafe Espanol - Ecuador's version of Starbuck's also located on every block
Restaurante Olympico - best Chinese "Chifa" EVER.
Playa Azuca - Good place to eat

There are also plenty of nightclubs but I am not the nightclub type so I will let you explore those on your own.

Mariscal is much more modern than Centro Historico and sometimes you forget you are in another country.  I guess you could say it is more "Westernized", or "Gringonized" or whatever you want to call it.  I snapped this Mariscal Skyline picture from the 11th floor of the Hotel Mercure.

Beautiful isn't it.  I love living here.  But be careful walking around here especially solo and at night.  As with any major city crime does exist so don't walk around like your in love.  Watch your surroundings and please don't wear your backpack on the front because that looks corny and doesn't protect you from someone who wants your stuff.  Besides, the backpack slashers and pickpocketing types tend to hang out in Centro Historico, so if you get robbed in Mariscal it will probably be with a knife or gun anyways.  Wearing your backpack on the front makes you look like a mark.  Your pretty much saying "Hey! I am a gringo tourist!  I probably have an Ipad in my backpack which is why I am so scared to wear it regularly!".  I see thousands of people with backpacks on and they get to their destination just fine.  Be aware, not paranoid, or you won't enjoy your time in Mariscal.  It is probably best to only bring what you need anyway.
They have beefed up security significantly in this area in the past few months.  Like I said before, don't walk around drunk and stupid by yourself especially at night and you will probably be fine.  Take a taxi instead of walking if it more than a few blocks.

the bottom line is, Orlando Florida is more dangerous than Quito, and I don't see American's thinking twice about visiting Disneyworld.  So... Tranquilo.  But do yourself a favor and leave the flower print Hawaii 5-0 ass button up shirt in your closet at home. 

I only write this because I read some other blog from some other Extranjero which basically said "don't come here you will definitely get robbed".  With that type of attitude you are probably right.  I suggest people like should read "The Secret", or at least watch the video. 

Anyhow, if you plan to come to Mariscal hit me up and I will show you around.  Speaking of which it is 11:00 and I still haven't had a beer yet, so I must go.