Arrived in Quito at around 1230 pm after an overnight flight originating from SFO via LAX and Bogota. Getting out of the airport was unpleasant. The combination of exhaustion, hunger and the extreme altitude made me so sick that I almost passed out in the cab [Quito is the second highest capital city in the world, second only to neighboring La Paz, Bolivia. It’s 9350ft above sea level]. A fellow traveler who I met in the plane was nice enough to share her cab with me and they dropped me off in my hostel (Chicago Pub) in Quito (Old City). I checked in and slept until around 6pm. When I awoke, I braved the streets of the Old City to check out the famous UNESCO World Heritage City Center, which was flanked with cathedrals and colonial buildings every where you turn. The hike up along Quito streets was not a walk in the park though. I haven’t completely acclimatized with the Andes surroundings so I was panting, and resting the whole way through. (If you wish to do this, make sure you only bring $20 with you, and keep your valuables in your hotel. Bring only a copy of your passport. Quito is not the safest city). I followed a travel book’s suggestion of going to the “La Opisina de Turismo” (tourism office) at the Plaza de Independencia in the heart of the Old Colonial City. There, they offer a walking tour led by the Quito Metropolitan Police. I had a night walking tour around the city for $12.00 with a very hospitable Quito police (Javier!). I essentially had a private tour since there was no one else there who was interested in the tour. He took me to a bunch of churches, and I even got to witness an Ecuadorian wedding happen before my very eyes. It made me miss the Philippines. The wedding ceremony and festivities afterwards were pretty similar to where I came from. [Tip: I suggest taking the morning walking tours because almost all of the churches and museums are close at night. You get to check them out for free too since you will be accompanied by the police.] Unfortunately, I had to cut the tour short because it was already 10pm, and I didn’t want to walk too late along Quito streets. I sprinted back to my hostel, and was out of breath when I got there, primarily because of the altitude. I will blog more about Quito when I visit it again after my Galapagos trip. I’m looking forward to my Galapagos trip tomorrow!