We had a slow start to the morning and, having decided that breakfast in the hotel was not worth paying for, we first went in search of a cafe serving ‘desayuno’. I was starving, having eaten very little the day before. Luckily, we found a most satisfactory place that had coffee, juice and croissants for the grand sum of $2.95. Some Americans that Carolyn had been talking to on the bus back from Quilotoa were also there and they had been suffering with altitude sickness quite badly as well. It certainly seems to affect many people.
After breakfast, I went in search of a money machine that worked and, in the process, we realised there was a parade about to start. Carolyn had seen one yesterday whilst I was in bed and this was obviously a continuation of the festivities.
There were several floats with accompanying beauty queen as well as dancing, music and clowns. Everybody, but everybody, seemed to have a can of spray foam in their hands and took great delight in squirting one and all! There was foam everywhere! The atmosphere was wonderful as we observed from the comparative safety of the hotel porch where we could, at least, attempt to avoid the foam.
Once the procession had passed, we picked up our bags and walked to the bus station where we were immediately guided to a bus that was just leaving. We arrived back at Quitumbe, an extremely modern bus station, at about 2pm and caught a taxi to the hostel that we had booked for this evening.
We were both starving once again, but, just as we were about to leave, the heavens opened and torrential rain poured down for the next hour or so. Our rooms adjoin the roof terrace and one of the staff members had to come and plunge the drains as the floor had flooded!
However, it stopped eventually and we strolled into the historic centre and ended up at La Rondo, where we selected, after much deliberation, a small cafe that had a limited menu but local dishes and no other tourists in sight. The chicken soup was excellent and was followed by a cup of very tasty hot chocolate, made with real chocolate. Altogether, most satisfactory!
Sunday dawned after a very fraught night caused by some extremely inconsiderate men (one of whom was a Cuban, who had been keen to practise his English on us earlier), sitting on the terrace, talking and drinking all night. Neither of us could sleep and I, for one, was quite grumpy.
I was moving to a room in an Airbnb apartment today, so checked out of the hostel and left my bag in Carolyn’s room whilst we went in search of breakfast. (Yes, we do a lot of eating!) Yet another excellent meal was had, this time in a small bakery, filled with Ecuadorians, where we had juice, coffee, croissants and eggs, all for $2.95. (It seems to be the magical amount.)
As we were finishing, another parade was passing the door, so we followed that up to the Plaza where the Palace is located.
It was a very small procession, which stopped for a long time every 100 metres, so took quite a while to reach its destination. The band played the same tune over and over again, there were women dressed in local costumes, men wearing huge caricature heads and, of course, dancers. It was most entertaining and there was even more foam than in Latacunga!
Afterwards, I collected my bag and took a taxi to my new abode, in the New Town, where many of the hostels are located and which is filled with modern cafes and restaurants. My room is in an apartment in an old house that has been completely renovated. It is the best place I have stayed in since leaving Vermont and I might not leave! The bathroom is modern and just for me, (I am over the shared hostel bathrooms!) the room is light and spacious and the bed comfortable. It even has fast wifi that works. It also looks over a plaza with lots of trees and birds are perched on my window ledge. The houses around have been painted with murals, done by my host and his friend. They apparently started with his house and moved on to the next. The Government is so impressed, it is paying them to do all the houses in the square.
After spending some time luxuriating, I went for a walk, partially in search of a supermarket but also to explore a little. As it was Sunday, most of the shops were closed, but a large park nearby was thronging with people involved in an assortment of activities, as well as stalls displaying various arts and crafts.
Not being able to find a supermarket of any shape or size, I returned to the house to Google it and realised there was a large one in the opposite direction to which I had walked (naturally). I arrived as they were preparing to close so made my purchases and retired, with pleasure, to my room for the evening.