Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Ecuador: Quito

We arrived in Quito at 9pm yesterday without incident except for waiting on the runway for some time and then waiting for the luggage. That's the way I like to travel - without incident. In Ecuador, they use the US dollar so it's easy to figure out how much things cost without constantly converting.
We bought a taxi voucher from the airport for $12 and while we were on our way to the hotel, Robin asked me what the three coins were that the cashier gave to him. I looked at them but could not recognize what currency they were (taxi was dark) so we asked the driver. He said they were dollar coins of US currency. I don't know or think I've seen any of those in the US. Robin then said that the cashier only gave him $3 in change ( the coins) instead of $8. We were being ripped off again by another taxi so I told the driver that the cashier only gave us $3. He radioed to her and she insisted that she gave us $8. I said that all I had was the three coins. By the way, all of this was being communicated in Spanish - well my version of halting Spanish. She insisted that she gave us $8 and said that she would close her cash register and count her money. In the meantime, here is Robin telling me that it's a big difference between $3 and $8. When I said that we were short changed by $5, he suddenly had this sheepish look on his face and pulled out his wallet where he discovered that when the cashier gave him his change, he put the $5 bill in his wallet and held on to the coins to figure out what they were.
Picture this (borrowing a line from Sophia of the Golden Girls) - Quito 2012. I arrive for the first time in the city feeling that I had done my research and knew where to get a taxi without being ripped off. Now picture that I am in a cab and my Spanish is not so good. Picture again that I am trying to communicate in Spanish to the cab driver that I was cheated of $5 (erroneous information that I received from Robin). Now picture that the driver is telling the cashier on the cab radio that I am positive that I only got $3. Now picture the look of horror on my face as I now have to tell the cab driver that it was all a mistake and my espouso actually had the $5 in his wallet.
Grateful that the cab was dark, I just kept repeating "Lo ciento" (I'm sorry) every time the driver made eye contact with me in the rear view mirror (about 10 times from the airport); and wouldn't you know that there was a traffic jam so it took us a bit longer. We finally arrived at the hotel where I wanted to bolt out of the cab as quickly as I could and hide in the hotel lobby but the main gate of the hotel was locked (you have to be buzzed in at the security gate) so I had to stand there and apologize once again with a sick look on my face. 

Welcome to Quito Sandra...

I hope your stay will be lovely...



  1. Oh Dad! That is pretty funny. Mike and I got some of those $1 coins when we were in NYC and Turks this summer. They look weird, sort of like tokens for a video game.
    We had to look at them twice to make sure that they were in fact money.

  2. A little excitement is wonderful it will be part of your trip memories that will always make you both laugh whenever you remember it, myself and Hashena found it very jovial and make us laugh over breakfast, keep sharing these little things with us, just love it. Do not feel bad about it.

  3. Que chistoso! Is Robin still travelling with you?

  4. oh my goodness. leave it to dad to forget that he misplaced his $5 bill. poor mom for having to explain it to the driver. im glad i wasnt there.


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