yes we arrived safely and without mishap.
Quito (the old town) is beautiful with tons of old colonial architecture, people friendly and food fine.
Second day here we booked ourselves on a trek up an active volcano - Guagua Pichincha (4794M). Met up with our guide/driver for the trek - a local Depardieau-look-a-like. Also climbing a pair of Brits. All aboard the LandRover we crawl through the Quito rush hour. Escape to the countryside and begin climbing up rutted tracks. Ride for a stint atop the wagon, but cut short as we get stuck in mud - 8 attempts later and we continue to the drop-off point. Our guide drives on up to the refuge, but we walk from 4000M to acclimatise. Jeez - the altitude hits you hard and the lungs are soon straining n the heart pounding. Keep attempting to yawn as (apparently) this aids acclimatisation as does drinking gallons of water = numerous toilet stops! We manage to avoid any altitude-sickness symptoms, although both the other Brits have developed headaches. An hour n a half later and we arrive amidst the clouds at the refuge where we gather ourselves for the final onslaught. Our driver joins us and we proceed at a snails pace.. Another hour and we're at the crater - too much cloud around to see much within the sulphurous chasm, but we're assured there's an 800M drop if we lose our footing on the ridge.. Cheers. Climb round to the highest point which is just a shade under Mt Blancs peak and really rather chilly. Anyways, amazingly my dodgy knee holds up and afore you know it we're back in the old LandRover n heading back to Quito. Rebecca is feeling well rough and now has nausea as well as a pounding head. Once again crawling along in traffic and Emily is desperate for a pee. It's no use, we're in a traffic jam and she's gotta go.. What's a girl to do? Before you can blink she's dropped her kecks, i'm holding a plastic bag and the car behind has a great view of her rump - class act!
Back at Secret garden (for that is where we're staying) and we're feeling pretty euphoric, tingly sun-kissed faces and tired limbs. Decide to hit the beers which then turns to cokes laced with our stash of vodka. The open roof terrace is full with everyone chatting over an Equadorian meal as a local pan-pipe band play in the candle light. The workers discover that its Emily's birthday so there's free shots for all and the evening descends into drunken debauchery. Eleven arrives (time to vacate terrace) and we intend to go to bed. However, lose room/front door keys somewhere between the room and the bathroom and we're locked out. Realize everyone is heading off to 'New town' for more booze and dancing so's I dash out to ask for a master key. Afore you know it we've been persuaded to join them and off we all taxi. Plastered we dance and predictably in my state a leap leads to disaster as my knee gives way on landing and I'm done.....
Wake up in pain: head throbbing but that's nothing compared to my knee which has swollen alarmingly.. Plans for departing south were quickly shelved, as was our quest for a new camera. Managed to hobble upstairs for brekkie where we discovered that we were due to start our Spanish immersion lessons - was NOT fun.
Anyways, knee is back in a brace and we're kinda mobile. Well... we're heading off tomorrow to Banos regardless (some volcanoes here are currently spewing out lava and it sounds chilled anyway).
Still waiting to try our first guinea pig, but have high hopes for tomorrow and learning some Spanish.