Thursday, September 6, 2012 – Quito, Ecuador
When we awoke this morning the house was a chilly 61.5 degrees. Apparently all the weatherstripping Bruce did yesterday sealed in the cold air.
After breakfast we headed out on a shopping tour to Quito arranged by Jenny Harrington of CJ Excursions. The tour bus picked us up right on time and we headed out towards Quito. Our goal this trip was to get a better idea of what items we can find here in Ecuador, and what items we may need to bring back from the states.
The first stop, Federer Delicatessen, was brief. They did not have a large selection of meats and cheeses and with it being the first stop of the day, I was uncomfortable with leaving perishable items in a hot tour bus for the remainder of the day. A few fellow tourists brought insulated bags, and various types of sausage seemed to be the big purchase.
The next stop in Quito was Quicentro Mall, a huge 4 level, high-end, shopping venue with such stores as Rolex, Swarovski, and Tiffany. There is a wonderful store for foodies there called El Espanol. They carry meats, cheeses, wines, chocolates, and so much more.
We found great prices on televisions at Comandato, like a Panasonic LED 32″ flat-screen television for $507 and a similar Riviera model for just over $400. Although this was an info seeking trip for us, not necessarily a buying one.
We stopped at San Nicolas, a cafeteria style restaurant for a quick bite. We took our tray out to the patio. It was a pleasant lunch. Then we headed across the hall to Mi Comisariato, a supermarket. We purchased a few small items.
A lot more shopping could have been done, but with only 2-hours allotted to this huge mall we ran out of time quickly. So we took our bags and headed back to the bus.
Next stop was Mega Kywi. A huge home improvement store. We were allotted 1.5-hours at this stop. We looked to see what was available for upcoming projects we have planned. That same shopping center also housed Todo Hogar (a housewares store), Radio Shack, and a few other smaller stores. This is where the most bags were loaded back on the bus.
Now we headed out of Quito. The bus had warmed during the day, and the ride back was a bit uncomfortable. But that didn’t spoil the views. The sun was starting its afternoon decline and the shadows it cast on the mountains were breathtaking. It was a beautiful clear day and at times you could see forever.
We stopped part way back to buy fresh roses ($3/dozen) and a little further ahead, in Cayambe, to buy Bizcochos, then finally back home in Cotacachi.
The tour was a good experience and a great way to get more familiar with Quito. However, because of the time constraints it was not a serious shopping trip and at $25 per person, not a trip we will be repeating. If we want to do some serious shopping in Quito we’ll take the bus down and hire a taxi back, for just a few dollars more. That way we can go at our own speed.
We did, however, meet more people on the bus. Folks I’m sure we’ll see again soon.
LESSON LEARNED: We’re just not the “tour group” type.