ECUADOR - Saturday, November 22, 2008

I got up to pouring drizzle, and Javier was the only other one up. I sat in the cook tent with him (warm) and we talked a bit. We figure the rain made the snow just that much worse, since it would melt the crystals under the slab while making the slab that much heavier. Much more dangerous. We decided it would be best just to go to Quito and try checking into the Reina Isabel early if possible and do a day of shopping. As everyone finally got out of bed, we talked and all agreed (especially when I mentioned that the Isabel had heat and we could dry out our crap).

We ate some great eggs and then packed up our stuff in the rain and took off down the road. As we took off we ran into a school group that had walked up and it was fun with Pepe and the kids running along beside, behind, and ahead yelling directions and advice.

At one point Javier asked some kids to stand on the bumper for balast, we when we offered, he refused. I explained "if we fall off the back and get dead, our wives will be very rich, if they fall off the back and get dead, their parents will be very sad". We thought about the sad truth of that for a few seconds.

When we got down to the pavement the van that had brought the kids was waiting for them. We took off down the pavement and saw some more condors.

Beautiful. At the final checkpoint the police were there for some obvious permit dispute, and no one looked happy. They moved to let us through, and we headed down to town.

We drove into Quito and stopped at a mall, all decorated for Christmas (according to Javier since September) and ate at a Crepe place. We sortof pooled our resources and ate a bit of this and that and split the bill (since it was off the itinerary).

Javier called and got us all single rooms at the Isabel, and we drove in to check in around 3PM. Chuck talked them into allowing us to keep the rooms til Monday by paying a single supplement. Overall pretty reasonable for what we got. We all went to our rooms and spread our stuff out to dry. I rinsed out some stuff and hung it to dry so I would have some clothes for the party Sunday night.

I went out then about 4PM to check out the neighborhood and found the market, and a spiral mall (totally cool).

I bought a few things and then went back to the hotel, ate some of my stash, and got ready for bed. Just as I was about to fall asleep Chuck called. He and Daniel were going out on the town and asked if I wanted to go. I said sorry I'd rather sleep, then crashed.