Day 61 & 62: Hongkies in Quito!

La Ronda – restored 17th century houses in Quito’s old town

Day 61
Thanks to no hiccups on the road or border crossing, we’ve successfully made it to Quito in perfect timing with a couple old friends from home who happen to be in the city at the same time. We were particularly looking forward to this day – none of us would’ve imagined our paths crossing in another corner of the world!
Seeing Cindy & Rosanna reminded me what it felt like to connect with old friends again, enjoying the simplicity of good company and convo that is so easily taken for granted in a settled-down life. We were in high spirits, it’s been a while since we last hung out with friends.

Day 62
Quito itself is very much a dirty, gritty, ghetto version of East Europe. The old town is packed with beautiful houses and churches, but unfortunately besieged by a grungy vibe thanks to buses spewing out toxic black exhaust and the perpetually gloomy weather. People look glum, perhaps we are spoilt by the warmth of Colombians?

I feel extremely tired, perhaps the down effect from yesterday’s high. I know the old town could look amazing in stills (before it is encapsulated in dark clouds & road exhaustion) but I really have no energy to go out and shoot. I want to leave, but not sure where to… I felt this frustration once before in Costa Rica when the next thing to look forward to was a good few days of road travel away. We could stop by a couple Ecuadorian towns before crossing Peru, but googling / youtubing such locations barely sparked any excitement. I know Lima (Peru’s capital) is pretty uninspiring too, and it’s hard to swallow the thought of an uninspiring 4-5 day journey to get there. Shit. Maybe we should just get it over with quickly – bypass southern Ecuador and take a straight 40 hour ride into Lima, spend a night to recoup and get the hell out again…

Well, a piece of good news to end the day – I finally met a fellow shoestring backpacker from HK!! Alvin’s been on the road since last Oct, spending good time in Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador. Met him at Secret Garden hostel whilst I tried to solicit ideas on getting to Peru. A rare breed and way more adventurous than us, he’s planning to boat back to the States for his flight home after a year in South Am. I was lifted again, why aren’t there more of us countrymen out there really traveling?

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  1. ace says:

    because they either have no money, savings and they rely on their jobs to support them… but then when you're making the money, u also gotta save it… so thats why.. i want to travel, but i need to save money to travel. or when i do have money, i dont have enough vacation. it sucks.. i am totally in the wrong industry to make money. so i live vicariously through u and kf. missya!

  2. 山 him says:

    @ace: can't disagree more. it's a matter of choice. traveling can be as budget or as luxury as you wish it to be. most ppl we meet on the road are really living on a tight wallet (us included) and are far from wealthy. it's rare to find HK ppl who travel properly (ie. outside of tours & guides) because of the fear of danger, risk, and leaving the comfort zone.

  3. 山 him says:

    One more thing – money is always the excuse. it only limits how long or how far you go, but not the going itself. FYI, the kid I met has spent under CAD$2,000 and has been traveling for 6 months. How? combination of living cheap and working on the side.

  4. Joanna says:

    I think most people think traveling needs a lot of money and that prohibit them from even think about it. Backpacking is a cheap way to travel but most people think backpacking is super crazy and dangerous or something.

    As you said it is a choice people make. Different people have different priorities. What amazed me is most people (younger folks our age) are accustomed to thinking save money to get married, to buy a house, to buy a car, to have kids, and to save money for the kids for school are what they should do because everyone else is doing it. They don't know why they have such a schedule and have to do it. Shouldn't you think about why before doing anything? What century is this?!

    On the flip side, people can travel like you 2 are really lucky. You guys don't have a lot of family obligation that ties you down. There are folks who are the main source of family income. Even if they wanted to travel, they can't.

  5. 山 him says:

    @Joanna: Yes! That's why we really appreciate every moment of this trip.. making the decision to embark on the journey is one thing, actually letting go of all else is another, and to have a lifetime travel companion and the opportunity to let go is a true fortune.

  6. Rosanna says:

    Harlo! We had great fun as well meeting up with the two of you. So nice to meet up half way across the world! Enjoy your trip – we r v jealous!

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