ECUADOR - Sunday, November 23, 2008

Got up at 7, had breakfast in the hotel, then packed my stuff up. In the hall I noticed out the window that there was a street behind the hotel with some mountain outfitter type stores, so I decided to give them a looksee. They were closed, so I went out to the market, and it was barely open as well. Sunday morning is lazy day in Quito. I walked a bit further and discovered art being sold along the sidewalk in a city park, and saw green tents lining the sidewalk so checked them out. Another market!

I bought some more gifts, and had tons of fun experimenting and learning with my limited Spanish. Great fun. On the way back I ran into Mike and Chuck and told them about the other market. I ducked back into my room to drop off stuff and went out to eat. I found a sandwich place and had a Sanduach de Cubano (had one in Mexico and loved it) and Jugo de Banana y Pina.

I went back out to the market and ran into Chuck who thanked me for finding the city park market. I went to the outfitters and they were open this time and one of the store managers/owners knew Javier and we talked for a bit. I went back to the hotel to prepare for the evening. We were going to a much fancier place this time, so I "dressed up" a bit.

We met in the lobby at 6:45 to pool tips etc. for the guides and staff, then Javier and Sebastion came in and we talked for a few minutes. I gave Javier the tent stake I found in my stuff, then off we went for the drive to the edge of town in the hills to the hacienda. It was a really nice restaurant owned by a former guide who married a client, quit guiding, sold his business to Javier, and opened the restaurant.

After ordering we got the grand tour (his friend wasn't there that night, but the staff knew Javier) and hung out for a while by a 8' wide fireplace (not lit, but impressive nonetheless). We saw some pictures of the owner's mountaineering days. Dinner was served. I had the potato soup, and shrimp with rice noodles. The sauce was wonderful, sweet and spicy at the same time with a light but thick breading. Really good end to a great trip.

Back at the Isabel we talked for a few minutes more (I was elected to be photo-central and manage that). Eric and I will most likely do something alpine in Washington this coming year.

I did my final packing, then went to bed.